6 min read

WFW?: My Personal Fit and Motivation

We've identified the need for this work, who's to say I'm the best person for the job? There's a case to say that I qualify simply through desire, that the need is so strong that anyone stepping up is better than nothing. However, given the risks involved in this work, I think it would be irresponsible to pursue this path without a strong personal fit.

80,000 Hours, the nonprofit organisation that conducts research on which careers have the largest positive social impact and provides career advice based on that research, has the definitive perspective on personal fit. Their key guide is called Personal fit: why being good at your job is even more important than people think. I highly recommend taking the time to read it in full, but to summarize in a sentence: being a top performer and compounding that success over time can far exceed the impact of being an average performer in a 'higher-impact' field. This is driven by personal fit.

Here is my appraisal of my personal fit for this work:


Organisation builder

I have built four organisations I am incredibly proud of:

LifeWork - A payment platform to ensure freelancers get paid faster and more securely, enabling the freelance economy and an inclusive future of work
The Small Business School Challenge - The leading business school case competition having delivered over $1m in impact to small business owners
OrgLab - A McKinsey solution for building better organisations and making the change stick
Bristol Spartans Basketball Club - The basketball club for the University of Bristol. American readers - these are student-run organizations in the UK. I did not have a budget of >$10m!

The first two were startups - they didn't exist, I created them, and then they did exist. I know how to make ideas real and create real impact from nothing. In both cases I inspired incredibly smart people to join the team with nothing to compensate them beyond belief in the vision I painted and my mentorship. One of my proudest achievements is the impact these individuals have gone on to have.

The latter two were scale-ups. The organisations existed before me, but I provided the operational rigor and growth path to significantly scale the impact they achieved. With McKinsey this was with significant resources and a large team. The basketball club was on a shoestring budget with a scrappy-yet-talented group of fellow student volunteers. I also take great pride in the continued growth of impact in these organizations.

This all shows my personal fit, and gives me the necessary confidence, for starting the WFW? community and growing it through its full lifecycle.

Writing and storytelling

I identify as a storyteller more than most things. It's on my personal Instagram profile, no less. Communicating our desired vision for the future is vital to the success of this project and I believe storytelling is the most effective form of communication humans have. I have taught storytelling at Berkeley-Haas and as a guest lecturer at NYU-Stern business schools. My debut TEDx talk from 2019 is a good introduction to my style for communicating big ideas.

As for writing, I have no formal training and had no particular enjoyment for the practice in school, but it has since become a passion. I have written a book and a number of articles in my former thought-leadership time, in addition to all of my professional writing. I was one of few management consultants who much prefered a written medium to a powerpoint presentation for the communication of ideas. I am still developing the skill, through formal training and, I hope, ongoing feedback from this community.

Organisational design

I have a deep understanding of how work gets done from my four years as a management consultant, from the highest levels reorging the technical organisation of a leading global apparel company, to seeing hundeds if not thousands of examples of team effectiveness and ineffectiveness. My passion of late in this domain has been globally distributed organizational design that leverages a greater proportion of asynchronous ways of working. LifeWork, the SBSC, and OrgLab were all distributed teams. I believe there's still huge potential in the model, only a fraction of which has been uncovered from the big shift experienced during the COVID pandemic. It was the topic of my book - written in 2019 - after all.

Research agenda setting

During my time at McKinsey, in 2021, I spent time working on the Women in the Workplace report. While a single report, it has a vast scope and my involvement better represents some of the skills I'll be bringing to WFW? than some other experience mentioned. My focus was on setting the research agenda for that iteration of the report and growing participation - I didn't conduct the research itself. This fairly reflects my approach to WFW?. By being closest to the audience, I will know better than anyone what research will advance the community. My content will ask important questions that I hope are picked up by researchers across the many disciplines we will cover. In that way I hope to set a broad research agenda, and organise the findings towards our specific and important goal. Obviously my primary role is to grow participation in this community.



I am deeply passionate about this project. It is the most meaningful work I can imagine doing and by it's very nature is extremely unlikely to change. We will not 'solve' the future. Unless I am persuaded that this project is actively doing harm, or I am urgently needed to focus my time on something I cannot currently foresee (e.g., taking care of a sick family member), I am committed to this project for the next five years.


I have a steady, flexible income as an executive coach and consultant that will allow me to dedicate 70% of my working time to this project while keeping all of the content free. To be clear, this is a subsistence income at a time when I am single. It sadly isn't sustainable forever. But I'm committed to fundraising through other means as I believe content accessibility is an important tenet of the project. 70-80% of blogs go inactive and 90% of podcasts don't get past episode three - I have the right conditions to make this project a success as staying power is seemingly the primary a driver.


In a median 2040 scenario I will be 47, Samotvesky gives an "81% chance of Transformative AI (TAI) by 2100, barring pre-TAI catastrophe". That's effectively an 81% chance TAI will happen within my lifetime. I have very real skin in the game. Frankly, I want kids and I don't want them to inherit a dystopia. In dedicating my career to this I aim and stand to be one of the leading voices pushing for thoughtful AI governance and future design once we get to 'final crunch time'.


In some ways this is my weakest area - I am no expert in any of the relevant fields that we will draw on in WFW? - but I think that might just prove to be a plus. For starters, while I possess only a fraction of the moral philosophy knowledge that the leading thinkers have obtained, I'm still likely in the top 1% in the world. I'd say this is true of each of our relevant disciplines, and at that point my section of the Venn diagram becomes rather small. I would estimate myself to be in the top 0.00001% of people with a comprehensive knowledge across moral philosophy, AI Governance, social change, speculative/science fiction, game theory, political economics, and public policy. My desire to continue to learn across all of these disciplines and more, combined with everything else I bring to the table, give me the requisite confidence in my personal fit.

Career Capital

Very much a 'nice to have', but I bring a reasonable amount of career capital to the project. I'm not starting from scratch. While my credibility with experts in the relevant sub-domains will take time to build, I bring a strong reputation that is hopefully obvious to anyone reading this post. I'm early in my career, but I have proven that I am capable of very high impact in the areas I set my mind to. This will continue to buy me

I also bring a large, diverse, and influential network to this community from its inception. I have communities of current and future business leaders in positions to act on this information, entrepreneurs and investors pushing to make better futures a reality, activists reimaging societal structures often against significant incumbent power, researchers building our knowledge on these challenges, and more. That's not to say that everyone in my network will subscribe on day one and engage with every piece published, but I have strong ties with influencers in a breadth of fields that I hope will prevent this community from ever becoming an echo-chamber.

Let me close with some much-needed humility. I believe that I have very high personal fit in growing, diversifying, and organizing this community. I believe there are many others better placed at almost all aspects of what it will take to succeed in achieving our future vision, which is why making this a community effort is so important to me. As my vision for WFW? lays out, the one-way blog is only the first step. For the foreseeable future I will be building the infrastructure for true community collaboration - enabling everyone to contribute their superpowers. Whatever they have greatest personal fit for. My personal fit is simply in leading the way.

80,000 Hours formula for total impact is:

total impact = (average impact of option) x (personal fit)

WFW?: Opportunity and Theory of Impact outlines my belief that this work has very high average impact. This article outlines my belief in my very high personal fit. Here's to very high impact...we need it!

Please share your thoughts if you have any feedback on my personal fit for WFW?.