Harry Taussig

Higher commitment groups are more attractive

29 October, 2022


The world's future leaders are looking for intense, collaborative, connected, like-minded teams and projects to join. They are not looking for another awkward and stale reading group.

It's a win-win when you make activities, events, or groups higher commitment. People want to join them more, and they enjoy them more.

The key fears around joining a new group are that it will feel stale and boring and you won't be able to leave, or that no one else will show up. Where there's a high bar for collective commitment, those downsides are nearly impossible.

I love being on teams. It's thrilling to be with a group of like-minded and committed people to attack a goal. Nothing has brought more joy into my life than team sports and focused intellectual discussion.

We think that everyone else wants what's lowest commitment. We know that others busy so we only ask for one hour of their time a week, or just a few minutes.

But people don't want something that takes up the minimum of their time, energy, and effort. Especially great people who have lots of opportunities and choose carefully where to put their energy. They want to be inspired enough so that they can give it their all on a great team that's doing the same.

The physical form of this is team sports, the intellectual version is team-based scientific research, or working at an amazing and intense organization.

People want something where they're forced to bring their best self and their best effort, and be exhausted afterwards. They want to know that they tried their best at something that matters. They want to fight for and believe in something.

So if you can offer people this meaningful package, it's no longer a trade-off for them when you ask for 15 hours a week instead of two. It makes it better and more exciting and meaningful for everyone. You're more of a team, the goal matters more, you get to know each other better, the struggle is more meaningful, and it's all easier to push through by doing it together.

Good examples of taking advantage of this principle: The Polaris Fellowship (which no longer exists, so maybe not :/) and Write of Passage

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