Just in time for the new year offering us all the opportunity to getting your priorities straight, Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, offers a series of insightful principles and advice for success in business with "What I Wish Someone Had Told Me"
Sam’s perspective is so valuable because he is emphasizing a blend of optimism and vision, pragmatism and self-belief, a balance of calmness and urgency, and the importance of human elements and long-term orientation for business success.
From YC Founder to YC President to OpenAI CEO
In his post, Altman emphasizes the importance of long-term orientation in business, suggesting that one should not be overly concerned with short-term perceptions and that this perspective becomes easier to maintain over time. He advocates for audacious ideas, noting that challenging tasks are more motivating for teams than simpler tasks. He also highlights the power of incentives, the need for clear, concise communication, and the importance of fighting against bureaucracy and inefficiency.
Additionally, Altman underscores the significance of recruitment, stressing the importance of taking risks on individuals with high potential and a rapid rate of improvement. He advocates for fast iteration, where quick corrections can compensate for initial errors, and suggests that while plans should be long-term, execution should be swift.
Altman warns against fighting the fundamental laws of business and notes the unpredictable qualities that emerge as a business scales. He also discusses the 'magic' of compounding exponentials, especially in building a business that gains compounded advantages with scale.
Finally, Altman reflects on the value of working with great people, considering it one of the best aspects of life. His post is a result of his experiences and learnings, particularly relevant after a tumultuous year at OpenAI.