The Roots of Progress

Launching a new progress institute, seeking a CEO

[UPDATE: Applications for this position are now closed. Thank you!]

Summary: The Roots of Progress is planning a major expansion of our activities, and we are seeking a Chief Executive Officer to lead the new organization in partnership with me (I will remain Founder & President). We’re taking this step because we see an opportunity to do much more for the progress movement, going well beyond my essays and talks. Our initial focus will be on a “career accelerator” for public intellectuals in progress studies.

Our mission and why it matters

The progress of the last few centuries—in science, technology, industry, and the economy—is one of the greatest achievements of humanity. But progress is not automatic or inevitable. We must understand its causes, so that we can keep it going, and even accelerate it.

But in order to make progress, we must believe that progress is possible and desirable. The 19th century believed in the power of technology and industry to better humanity, but in the 20th century, this belief gave way to skepticism and distrust. We can’t go back to the naive views of the past, but we need a new way forward.

Our mission is to establish a new philosophy of progress for the 21st century and beyond—one based on the ideas of humanism and agency, and one that puts forth a bold, ambitious vision for the technological future.

Our opportunity

Last year, I announced that this blog was becoming a one-man nonprofit research organization (after starting it as an intellectual side project in 2017, and becoming a full-time independent researcher in 2019). Since then, it has become clear that there is too much energy and support for this mission—and too much to do!—for this organization to remain focused solely on my own research and writing.

The new philosophy of progress needs a movement to establish it. The pillars of this movement are:

Our strategy and programs

Of these three pillars, intellectual foundations are fundamental. Our initial focus will be on creating the public intellectuals who will build this foundation.

Our flagship program will be a “career accelerator” for progress intellectuals. This will take the form of a limited-time fellowship for anyone who demonstrates strong writing talent and has an ambitious career goal in progress studies. The fellowship will help them take their careers to the next level by providing money, coaching, marketing and PR support, and connection to a network. Our vision is that in ten years, there are hundreds of progress intellectuals who are alums of our program and part of our network, and who are where they are in their careers thanks to our support.

To support this strategy, we will also pursue a community-building program, including annual conferences, local meetups, intellectual workshops, and the Progress Forum.

It’s going to take a team

To accomplish all these things requires more than just a blog—it deserves a full-fledged institute. When we started fundraising last year, we quickly passed our initial goal, making it clear that there is financial support for such an organization.

A new institute will require a full-time staff, and a leader to run it: to turn our vision and strategy into a roadmap and a plan, and then to bring that plan into reality.

Seeking a CEO

We are searching for a Chief Executive Officer to join me in this next stage of our efforts.

Together, you and I will define the roadmap, the goals and metrics, and the team and budget needed to hit them. Initially, I expect this to be in the ballpark of a $3–6 million budget supporting a full-time staff of 5–10 people who will manage the fellowship program, grow our audience, and build the community. Of course, we’ll have the opportunity to grow much bigger as we demonstrate impact.

With my help, you’ll drive the fundraising effort for the next round of donations to support this new plan, and the team-building effort to bring the right talent on board. Together, we’ll create a new identity and brand for the organization, to reflect our expanded mission (name forthcoming; “Institute for Progress” is already taken!)

You’ll manage the team and lead execution on all our programs. Meanwhile, as Founder & President, I will continue to be the organization’s spokesman and will stay involved in vision, strategy, and talent development, but I will focus as much as possible on my own research, writing, and speaking.

Above all, this role requires strong execution skills, people management skills, and a passion for our mission. You might be coming from the nonprofit world or the business world, but you should have experience with management and with getting things done. You might be a bit earlier or later in your career, but in your next role, you are looking for impact and meaning. (If all of this excites you but you’re not sure if you’re qualified, please reach out anyway—we might have a role for you, even if it’s not this one.)

This is a full-time role. We’re a distributed organization, so you can do it from anywhere, although it’s better if you have strong overlap with US time zones. Compensation will depend on your seniority, but will be competitive with industry salaries (we’re not looking for martyrs). To apply, just email us at [Applications are now closed.]

Ad astra

We’re at an exciting moment in history. Longstanding political and cultural coalitions are coming apart. Lines are being redrawn. There is a lot of energy, from across the political spectrum, for progress studies and the “abundance agenda,” and there is a chance for this to shape the 21st century.

But cultural movements don’t happen spontaneously. They happen due to the conscious efforts of those who seek to understand the world, envision the future, and, through reason and argument, bring others around to their way of thinking.

If, like me, you can’t imagine anything better you could be doing with your life—get in touch.

Comment: Progress Forum, LessWrong, Reddit

Get posts by email:

Become a patron

Get posts by email