Sam Altman also opened up about his initial reaction after being sacked by OpenAI’s board: ‘I was confused. It was chaotic’
“My phone was just like unusable because it was just notifications nonstop. iMessage did this thing where it stopped working for a while, then messages got delivered late, then it marked everything as read,” he said, adding that most of the messages were about people who wanted to come and work with him.
“I was confused. It was chaotic,” he said, adding that while he was “obviously upset” by the board’s decision, confusion was his “dominant emotion”.
He compared the experience with when his father died. “The only comparable life experience that I had was when my dad died,” Altman told Noah. “The sense of confusion and loss… there are echoes of the same thing here. I am still in shock and trying to pick up the pieces.”
Although the OpenAI board did not reveal why they fired Altman, a seemingly popular leader, from his role beyond saying that he had been less than “candid” in his communications, the decision triggered a chaotic chain of events that led to the majority of the employees threatening to quit. Altman was eventually reinstated as CEO and most of the board of directors were replaced.
Read more: Sam Altman named Time’s ‘CEO of the Year’ 2023