“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

Maya Angelou

On this page we catalog the most substantive mistakes we’ve made.

Our aim is to be as transparent as we can to save others who are doing similar work from repeating our mistakes, as well as to help prospective clients understand our full track record.


We were too slow in publicly announcing our focus on supporting individuals and organizations tackling existential risks. We worried we might alienate the people we serve who were working on other critical issues outside of existential risks. 


Continuing the same mistake from 2021, we still scaled too slowly given the evidence we had accumulated about our net impact and cost-effectiveness. 


Broadly speaking, we scaled too slowly given the evidence we had accumulated about our net impact and cost-effectiveness. We adopted too high of a bar for an early stage startup. Given we wish to be a model for other startups–and actively teach this speed versus evidence tradeoff to the founders we serve–this was a mistake.


When we first began publicizing our work, we inadvertently made some people feel anxious. We were not careful enough to highlight that UP in its current form was only for a very small subset of the population.


We previously spent thousands of hours building Self Spark, which focused on catalyzing behavior change at a much larger scale. This required a brand-first rather than science-first approach. It “worked”–that is, it started to become superficially successful–but it was ill-equipped to “work” in the deeper sense of helping the people we most wanted to serve substantially change in cost-effective ways.

Feel free to share any mistakes you think we’ve made. We’ll add all relevant ones. Thank you in advance. Feedback is a gift.