After OpenAI Drama, Sam Altman Shares List Of Learnings He Wishes “Someone Told” Him

Mr Altman said that wherever you are in life, you should get up and keep going.

Recently, ChatGPT maker OpenAI witnessed a harrowing time after it fired CEO Sam Altman. The artificial intelligence community witnessed high drama for five days before OpenAI reached an agreement to bring back Sam Altman as the CEO and appoint new board members after nearly all of its employees threatened to quit over his ouster. Mr Altman later stated that he learnt a lot from the whole incident despite its “painful cost”. Now, in a blog post, he shared a list of things “what i wish someone had told me”.

The blog was shared two days ago and has amassed over two lakh views. “Optimism, obsession, self-belief, raw horsepower and personal connections are how things get started. Cohesive teams, the right combination of calmness and urgency, and unreasonable commitment are how things get finished,” Mr Altman said. He added that there is a dearth of long-term direction; it will become easier with time, so try not to worry about what people think of you now.

Further, he noted that it is “easier for a team to do a hard thing that really matters than to do an easy thing that doesn’t really matter; audacious ideas motivate people”. Mr Altman said that incentives need to be set carefully and called them “superpowers”. 

“Concentrate your resources on a small number of high-conviction bets; this is easy to say but evidently hard to do. You can delete more stuff than you think. Communicate clearly and concisely. Fight bulls*** and bureaucracy every time you see it and get other people to fight it too. Do not let the org chart get in the way of people working productively together,” he wrote in the blog.

The OpenAI Chief suggested that companies should spend time while recruiting and “take risks on high-potential people with a fast rate of improvement”. He added, “Superstars are even more valuable than they seem, but you have to evaluate people on their net impact on the performance of the organization. Fast iteration can make up for a lot; it’s usually ok to be wrong if you iterate quickly. Plans should be measured in decades, execution should be measured in weeks.”

Mr Altman stated that people should not fight the business equivalent “of the laws of physics.”  Life moves fast, and inspiration is short-lived. Inaction is a very subtle kind of danger, according to him.

Concluding his post, he said, “Scale often has surprising emergent properties. Compounding exponentials are magic. In particular, you really want to build a business that gets a compounding advantage with scale.” Mr Altman added that wherever you are in life, you should get up and keep going and working with “great” people is one of the best things in life. 


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