"You should be willing to fight back at least a little more."
In yet another deep dive look into some of the unreported details about OpenAI's Thanksgiving massacre, a bunch of new information has been revealed — including that the failed coup mobilized more than a hundred tech bigwigs in a WhatsApp group chat.
According to a new story in the New York Times about the debacle, on the day the firm's board fired OpenAI CEO Sam Altman over vague allegations of dishonesty, the giant group text lit up as such tech giants as Meta's Mark Zuckerberg — Meta, it should be noted, also owns WhatsApp — began trying to figure out what the hell had happened.
It's unclear whether Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky was in that group chat or merely heard about it on the news or through the grapevine, but as the NYT reports, he was one of the first allies to rush to Altman's defense following his expulsion.
Chesky reportedly asked Altman what he could do to help, and the since-reinstated CEO responded that he wanted to talk things through, the paper's sources explained.
During that discussion, the 38-year-old OpenAI cofounder floated the idea of creating a new startup, but the Airbnb chief executive offered a different perspective.
"You should be willing to fight back at least a little more," Chesky told Altman.
Some of that fighting back, the report expounds, took place at Altman's $27 mansion in San Francisco overlooking Alcatraz Island. Whether taking to social media to decry his firing or privately texting fellow tech colleagues, it seems clear that Silicon Valley had Altman's back — and that backing seems to have made all the difference.
This insider look at the chaos surrounding the "Turkey-Shoot Clusterfuck," as Microsoft employees called Altman's surprise firing just before Thanksgiving, drives home not just how blindsided everyone was by the sacking, but also how rapidly power players in the tech world responded.
Though it might not be shocking to anyone who's rubbed shoulders with Palo Altans, it's a pretty big deal nonetheless that these close-knit networks of influence are being exposed.
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