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Kara Swisher's story about Sam Altman is falling apart

๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article discusses the ouster and subsequent return of Sam Altman as CEO of OpenAI, and the role played by journalist Kara Swisher in shaping the narrative around these events. It examines the internal divisions within OpenAI, Altman's conduct and treatment of employees, and the concerns raised by the board about his leadership. The article also explores how Altman has consolidated his power within the company after his reinstatement as CEO.

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] Altman's Ouster and Swisher's Narrative

1. What was Kara Swisher's role in shaping the narrative around Altman's ouster?

  • Swisher helped craft a narrative that Altman was betrayed by a board stacked with his internal rivals, and that his removal was not justified.
  • Swisher personally likes Altman and has a history of defending "flawed" tech leaders as long as they have power.
  • Swisher's narrative cast Altman as the victim and helped set the foundation for his triumphant return, which would increase his power over the company and serve key investors like Microsoft.

2. What were the other factors behind Altman's removal that Swisher's narrative downplayed?

  • Allegations focused on Altman's conduct and treatment of employees, such as being "psychologically abusive" and "pitting employees against each other in unhealthy ways."
  • Altman had also been removed as head of Y Combinator in the past for putting "his own interests ahead of the organization."
  • Altman had a history of "deceptive and chaotic behavior" even going back to his first startup, Loopt.

3. How did Altman respond after being removed as CEO?

  • Altman worked to ensure his narrative of events dominated the discussion about the company, with Swisher serving as a central conduit in this campaign.
  • Altman's swift return as CEO was facilitated by employee pressure and financial incentives, as well as strict non-disclosure and non-disparagement agreements imposed on ex-employees.

[02] Altman's Consolidation of Power

1. What changes did Altman make after returning as CEO?

  • Altman brought in a new board that is less likely to challenge his leadership.
  • Sutskever, the company's chief scientist, and Jan Leike, the safety lead, left the company, and the Superalignment team was dissolved.
  • Altman created a safety and security committee stacked with company executives, including himself.

2. What other developments have occurred at OpenAI under Altman's leadership?

  • The prospect of OpenAI throwing off its non-profit status continues to be discussed.
  • The company has signed a deal with Apple, reducing its dependency on Microsoft.
  • Despite the blowback from the non-disclosure scandal and potential legal action, Altman's power at OpenAI is only growing.

3. How does Swisher's relationship with Altman and other tech leaders influence her coverage?

  • Swisher is desperate to be part of the power circles of Silicon Valley and has chosen to more regularly criticize only a few CEOs who don't give her the access she craves.
  • Altman is in the group of CEOs whose narratives Swisher is willing to help turn into the official record, as long as they have the power to justify it.
Shared by Daniel Chen ยท
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