Quarterly Links Spring 2022

Not-entirely-random stuff for doers and funders obsessed with impact at scale.

Strategy: Go Big or Go...Oh, Just Go Big

Four steps to a badass strategy for (serious) scale in about half the number of words in an average New Yorker article. This is what we teach our fellows; we hope it's useful for both doers and funders. It's, er, deceptively simple.

Stanford Social Innovation Review (5 minutes)

Podcast: Karen Levy on 80K Hours

Karen Levy — working with IPA, Evidence Action, and others — has had a ringside seat for every brilliant and dumb thing that's happened in development in the past 20 years. In a long, entertaining, and substantive interview, she does a wonderful job of laying out what wrong and right with the development efforts and trends she's seen — and manages both with clarity and kindness.  

80000 Hours (3 hours)

The second and third order effects from the Ukraine invasion will be devastating.

Protest Movements Could Be More Effective Than the Best Charities

"No movement that galvanised over 3.5 percent of the population in active participation failed to achieve its aims." This is the best thing we’ve ever read on social movements. Data-driven, well-written, and crammed full of tips for funders who want to think about how to get involved in effective movement building.

Stanford Social Innovation Review (10 mins)

Better Mental Health In The Time Of COVID

This just happens to be one more (nicely laid-out) illustration of two surprising trends we've noticed ourselves: 1) Telephone and/or text intervention can be powerful, and 2) Brief therapeutic intervention can make a real difference. Time to take this stuff to the rich countries.  

World Bank (3 mins)

Place names come from somewhere and at some point they really meant something. We're torn between the mystifying "Cloak" and the simply elegant "Hippo" as our favorites. Here's the source - there are some good stories in the replies.

First Principles: The Building Blocks of True Knowledge

An astonishingly good blog post for anybody who wants to reverse engineer complicated problems and unleash creative possibilities.

Farnam Street (10 minutes)

Our Debt to Paul Farmer

Mulago owes so much to Paul Farmer, both philosophically and for his deep, deep influence on a whole generation of leaders we’ve had the great good fortune to work with - and learn from. This is a fitting tribute to him by Matt Bonds, co-founder of PIVOT, whose work was so inspired by Farmer's vision.

Science (3 minutes)

It's imperative that we go all-out to protect the only-4%-of-biomass wild animals. Equally imperative that we figure out how to compensate those whose day-to-day actions will save them. Source: Our World in Data

Helping Any of Us Can Help Us All

Mackenzie Scott is on a roll. This is a nice essay on who, what, and why she's funding at this clip.  We're delighted that so many Mulago portfolio orgs are on the list. Congrats to Amani Global,  Blue Ventures, Friendship Bench,  Last Mile Health, Living Goods, myAgro, Noora Health, and VillageReach. And yes they still need your money (see below).

Medium (10 minutes)

Is The Trust-Based Philanthropy Bubble About To Burst?

The author of this piece got hammered by critics, in part because the editors chose an inflammatory title. There's some great food for thought here, though, and it's very much worth a read. Our take is that funder accountability for impact should be paramount, decisions should ultimately be driven by data, and the sharing of high-quality due diligence is a very good thing.

Alliance Magazine (5 minutes)

And Finally