Why does this keep happening?

Got the Boot

As more details are revealed about the drama at OpenAI, insiders are coming forward with anonymous anecdotes about all manner of messiness from Sam Altman's past.

In an extraordinary exposé, the Washington Post has revealed for the first time that Altman was not only fired from the tech incubator Y Combinator in 2019, but that the organization's founder Paul Graham was the one who did the sacking.

Though prior reports said only that Altman had "stepped down" from his role as young president of the incubator, three people familiar with the matter told WaPo that Graham, who was something of a mentor to the younger tech guru, flew from the United Kingdom to San Francisco to personally give his protegé the boot.

"It was the school of loose management," one of WaPo's insiders said, "that is all about prioritizing what’s in it for me."

History Repeating

Altman was also, curiously enough, fired by a close colleague at OpenAI on Friday. According to a timeline of events posted over the weekend by the company's former board president Greg Brockman, cofounder Ilya Sutskever sacked Altman in a Google Meet call — far less personal than an international trip for a face-to-face discussion, but that's business in a post-COVID world.

The now-reinstated CEO was, as is now very public, fired by OpenAI's board for allegedly being less than candid when communicating with them, though the exact details remain a topic of intense speculation.

But this latest revelation about his termination at Y Combinator suggests shows that at the very least, the blowout wasn't unprecedented.

More on Altman: OpenAI Employees Say Firm's Chief Scientist Has Been Making Strange Spiritual Claims

Share This Article