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How one man changed the Artificial Intelligence industry

“The process through which you terminated Sam Altman and removed Greg Brockman from the board has jeopardized all of this work and undermined our mission and company,” the letter reads. “Your conduct has made it clear you did not have the competence to oversee OpenAI.”

The above paragraph was part of an open letter signed by more than 738 employees of OpenAI addressed to their board of directors. It is worth noting that this is around 95% threaten to leave unless the board resigns and reinstates Sam Altman as CEO, along with cofounder and former president Greg Brockman.

The question here is what could Sam Altman have done to get this loyalty from over 700 employees not only risking their jobs but also have the confidence in their skills and a clear vision to their mission.

The answer is that he most probably worked on providing a clear vision of the nature of their business, the goals, and the process.

OpenAI is no ordinary business, the competition is fierce, and most importantly setting ethical standards for this technology is challenging.

This is effective leadership, what makes a business successful is a skilled loyal team and strong leadership.

On the other hand, few hours after Sam Altman was fired, he was offered a job in France by the digital minister along with his whole team. Afterwards, Microsoft the biggest investor of OpenAI offered him and his team to join them.

Moral of the story: be the best at what you do and you will be approached by the best. Be an effective leader and you will be surrounded by skilled, loyal team. If this is not the secret to a successful business and an outstanding reputation I don’t know what is.

Sam Altman now is back to OpenAI after only four days of his unexplained departure, with a new initial board of directors with diverse expertise.

Below is the timeline for the event:

Friday, November 17 – Altman stepped down from his role as CEO of OpenAI, the company announced, following a review undertaken by the company’s board of directors.

“Mr. Altman’s departure follows a deliberative review process by the board, which concluded that he was not consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities,” OpenAI said in a statement. “The board no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI.”

Following Altman’s departure, OpenAI president and co-founder Greg Brockman announced that he quit “based on today’s news.”

“Sam and I are shocked and saddened by what the board did today,” Brockman said on X.

Saturday, November 18 – Ousted OpenAI CEO Sam Altman is welcome in France, French Digital Minister Jean-Noël Barrot said on Saturday, a day after the creator of ChatGPT fired Altman.

“Sam Altman, his team and their talents are welcome in France, where we are accelerating efforts to put artificial intelligence at the service of the common good,” Barrot said in a post on X.

Sunday, November 19 – OpenAI hired former Twitch CEO Emmett Shear as its interim CEO, replacing Murati just two days after appointing her to the role. Shear confirmed the move in a post on X early the following morning.

Monday, November 20 – Microsoft is hiring former OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and co-founder Greg Brockman.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced that both Altman and Brockman will be joining to lead Microsoft’s new advanced AI research team. Altman will have the CEO title of this new group.

Nearly all 800 employees at OpenAI signed a letter calling for the resignation of the company’s board and the return of Altman as CEO.

The employees threatened to quit and join the newly announced AI department at Microsoft if their demands were not met.

Tuesday, November 21 – Altman reached an agreement in principle to return as CEO of OpenAI, the company announced in a post on X.

The announcement includes a condition for OpenAI to reconfigure its board of directors. The new board will include former Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, and Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo, the lone holdover from the previous board, OpenAI said.

Altman’s return appeared to involve input from Nadella, whose company made a $10 billion investment in OpenAI earlier this year.

“With the new board and w satya’s support, i’m looking forward to returning to openai, and building on our strong partnership with msft,” Altman posted on X. “i love openai, and everything i’ve done over the past few days has been in service of keeping this team and its mission together,” he added.

OpenAI and Altman are continuing to determine the exact terms of his reinstatement, the company said in their post on X: “We are collaborating to figure out the details.”

Microsoft’s Nadella applauded the agreement, posting: “We are encouraged by the changes to the OpenAI board. We believe this is a first essential step on a path to more stable, well-informed, and effective governance.”

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