Paul Graham claims Sam Altman wasn’t fired from Y Combinator

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In a series of posts on X on Thursday, Paul Graham, the co-founder of startup accelerator Y Combinator, disregarded claims that OpenAI CEO Sam Altman was pressured to resign as president of Y Combinator in 2019 resulting from potential conflicts of curiosity.

“Individuals have been claiming [Y Combinator] fired Sam Altman,” Graham writes. “That’s not true.”

Altman grew to become a companion at Y Combinator in 2011, initially working there on a part-time foundation. In February 2014, Graham named him president of Y Combinator.

Altman — together with Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, Y Combinator founding companion Jessica Livingston and others — co-founded OpenAI as a nonprofit in 2015, elevating $1 billion.

Altman for a number of years break up his time between Y Combinator and OpenAI, successfully operating each. However — in accordance with Graham — when OpenAI introduced in 2019 that it could set up a for-profit subsidiary of which Altman can be CEO, Livingston informed Altman that he had to decide on one or the opposite: OpenAI or Y Combinator.

They informed him “if he was going to work full-time on OpenAI, we must always discover another person to run YC, and he agreed,” Graham writes. “If he’d mentioned that he was going to seek out another person to be CEO of OpenAI in order that he may focus 100% on YC, we’d have been wonderful with that too.”

Graham’s retelling of occasions contradicts reporting that Altman was pressured to resign from Y Combinator after the accelerator’s companions alleged he’d put private initiatives, together with OpenAI, forward of his duties as president. According to a Washington Publish story final November, Graham lower an abroad journey brief to personally give Altman the boot.

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Helen Toner, one in all a number of ex-OpenAI board members who moved to take away Altman as OpenAI’s CEO over allegations of misleading habits earlier than Altman managed to claw the function again, additionally claimed in an look on the Ted AI Present podcast that the true causes for Altman’s departure from Y Combinator had been “hushed up on the time.”

Reportedly, some Y Combinator companions took particular challenge with the oblique stake in OpenAI Altman held whereas Y Combinator’s president. Y Combinator’s late-stage fund invested $10 million in OpenAI’s for-profit subsidiary.

However Graham says that the funding was made earlier than Altman was full-time at OpenAI — and that Graham himself wasn’t conscious of it.

“This was not a really huge funding for these funds,” Graham wrote. “And clearly it wasn’t influencing me, since I came upon about it 5 minutes in the past.”

Graham’s posts appear conspicuously timed with an op-ed in The Economist penned by OpenAI board members Bret Taylor and Larry Summers that pushes again in opposition to assertions made by Toner and Tasha McCauley, one other former OpenAI board member, that Altman can’t be trusted to “reliably face up to the stress of revenue incentives.”

Toner and McCauley may need a degree. The Info studies that Altman is considering turning OpenAI right into a for-profit company as traders, specifically Microsoft, push the agency to prioritize business initiatives.

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