Lincoln Quirk

Who am I? Lincoln, technologist, entrepreneur, aspiring rationalist, effective altruist. I'm currently co-founder and head of product at Wave, trying to help by getting people in the developing world better access to markets using mobile money. If you would like to send me email, address it to my first name at

If you're the type of person who wants to change the world, one of the best investments you can make is self-improvement. But there is a ton of self-help material out there; how should you choose? I recommend studying rationality first, which is sort of a meta-study: you learn what it means to have accurate beliefs about the world, why this is good, how to obtain them and how to effectively act on them. Then you move towards more practical, high-value life skills: planning, optimizing your social skills, habit formation, emotional intelligence, and so on. If this path appeals to you, then check out the Center for Applied Rationality (CFAR). I've experienced most of their material and it's very valuable.

The other thing I would recommend, for entrepreneurs in particular who are trying to improve the world, is to pledge some % of your financial outcome from your company -- I've pledged 10% to effective charities via the Founders Pledge and would recommend it to others. Why? Both because binding yourself now will encourage you to give more later, and because it's a strong (costly) way to signal that you are indeed trying to make the world a better place and are willing to put money behind it.

I'm not looking for a job now, but I have a resume available, if that's your thing.

Question: Why do happy, social, well-off people, when they reach their thirties, mostly move to the suburbs and stop spending time with friends? I claim that this mostly happens for bad reasons: there's some kind of social pressure from family perhaps, or you get tired of cleaning up after bad flatmates. If you're the type of person who doesn't want to let your social life die after all your friends get married, or if you might want to raise children in a group living environment, or if you agree with me that the best friendships are co-living friendships -- you should definitely get in touch with me. Sometime over the next few years I intend to start some kind of coop or co-living environment and I'll be excited to talk to anyone who shares this vision.

Other startups: I made a video chat app in 2013 -- it was like Facetime or Google Hangouts, but worked much better. (I sold that technology to another startup.) I made Brew in 2013, which was an app to help college students with their dating lives. I made Chime in 2012, which was an app to help college students improve their social lives in various ways. I made Newsbrane in 2008-2009, a news site which learned your personal tastes in news. In 2007-2008 I designed a programming language and runtime (tentatively called Nox) for automatically scaling programs across many cores and/or clusters. In 2002, I made, a website which sold items in the Diablo II universe.

Blog: See below for the index of all my posts. I used to occasionally write about entrepreneurship, technology, rationality, programming languages, and software engineering. Posts are few and far between these days, but I'm looking to get back into it. I also used to post on Twitter @lincolnq but not much these days.

I graduated from Brown in 2008. I was an active member of Technology House, a residential program house for anyone interested in technology. My email account is hosted on, Tech House's private server, which I administered while I was living in the house. If you're a Brown student, I highly recommend looking into Tech House. It's a wonderful place to live and meet friends.

Product recommendations. (I make no money off these; I just want the companies to succeed because I love their products so much): For an ergonomic keyboard, get a Kinesis contoured. Beeminder is a great way to hack your motivation. And, of course, Cantillon Brewery in Belgium makes some of the best beer in the world.

Blog post index: (feed)