Louie Helm has left MIRI to pursue another opportunity. Louie remains a valued MIRI advisor, and we wish him the best in his new venture.
Louie played a pivotal role in MIRI’s recent transformation. Indeed, I most naturally think of the past 2.5 years as the “Luke & Louie era” in MIRI’s history. So I’d like to share with MIRI’s supporters some of what Louie contributed to MIRI’s recent transformation and growth.
Louie was a visiting fellow with SIAI (before it was called MIRI) in 2010, and then he returned to Asia but continued to serve as SIAI’s unpaid volunteer coordinator. Louie noticed my articles on Less Wrong and asked me in January 2011 to help him finish his Optimal Employment post. He then persuaded me to quit my job in Los Angeles and meet him in Berkeley to improve SIAI’s operations (as an intern).
Upon returning to Berkeley, Louie set up SIAI’s donor database, helped me write SIAI’s first strategic plan, led the effort for that summer’s fundraising drive, and worked with me on a long list of improvements to organizational efficiency. By the end of the year we had both been given executive roles at SIAI.
Later, Louie took the lead in SIAI’s branding transition to MIRI (e.g. domain names, website design, organization name market testing), and in finding and securing for MIRI a new office in downtown Berkeley. He has also networked for MIRI at dozens of events, helped organize and sell tickets for three Singularity Summits, won and managed MIRI’s Adwords grant (with Kevin Fisher), wrote our Recommended Courses page, created several new streams of revenue (affinity card, affiliate links, etc.), secured for MIRI several professional services and needed insurance contracts, and much more.
Louie’s accomplishments at MIRI are too numerous to list here. So, I’d like to conclude by thanking Louie for something perhaps less tangible but still very important: his business experience and advice. I did not have prior management experience when I was offered a leadership role at MIRI, and much of the credit for the last 2.5 years of organizational improvement and growth at MIRI must go to Louie’s business intuitions, and his willingness to help hone my own business intuitions. Fortunately, Louie’s advice will continue to inform MIRI’s trajectory even as he pursues other opportunities.