Learning about ‘counterfactual analysis’ threw some puts on sunglasses cold water on Lehua’s startup idea.
Lehua Gray’s story is an interesting ‘significant plan change’ because she increased her social impact simply by realising what she was doing was not accomplishing anything when the true counterfactual was taken into account.
Lehua is an entrepreneur in Texas who studied environmental sciences but afterwards taught herself coding. In late 2014, along with two co-founders she had just met at the eBay Hackathon, she founded a company that offered charities an innovative fundraising platform and took a cut of the money raised. Her role in the startup was a combination of coding, UX and sales.
The team’s hope was to make the viral nature of the ‘ice-bucket challenge’ replicable. In their platform, someone would donate money to a charity, but it would only actually be delivered if, say, 3 friends who they nominated matched their donation. They might also be offered the option to do a public challenge on social media that would spread the fundraiser instead of donating the full amount, as in the ‘ice-bucket challenge’.
Over a period of 9 months they had built this platform and were improving it while some charities tested it out.
However, in the first half of 2015 Lehua started following me on Facebook and so started regularly encountering and reading new 80,000 Hours’ blog posts about how to have more social impact.