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Chaos at OpenAI ensues

Dan DeFrancesco   

Chaos at OpenAI ensues
  • This post originally appeared in the Insider Today newsletter.

Hey there! If you're hitting the road for Thanksgiving this year, here are tips about the worst times to drive over the holiday weekend.

In today's big story, we're looking at the continued fallout from the shocking Sam Altman ouster at OpenAI.

What's on deck:

But first, if you come at the king, you best not miss.

The big story


Ever dreamed of attending your funeral to see what people think of you?

In a way, Sam Altman is living out that fantasy.

Altman is alive and well, but his run as CEO of OpenAI ended abruptly on Friday. But in the days since his firing, he's escaped a messy weekend looking like the ultimate hero, Business Insider's Katie Notopoulos writes.

(For a complete timeline of the chaos, start here. And for a breakdown of why the fiasco is still important to people who aren't in the tech industry, check this out.)

Most notable among Altman's supporters were his former employees. Just about everyone at OpenAI has signed a letter threatening to quit the company if Altman isn't reappointed and board members resign.

Even someone who kicked off the entire mess — OpenAI cofounder and chief scientist Ilya Sutskever — signed the letter and said he deeply regrets participating in Altman's ouster.

A key issue among employees is the lack of an adequate explanation of what got Altman fired. What employees have been told by Sutskever about the reason for the ouster has left them unconvinced and furious, writes Business Insider's Kali Hays. To be fair, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and OpenAI CEO Emmett Shear don't seem to know why either.

Altman also has some fans in the market. In the wake of news that Altman would land at Microsoft, the tech giant saw its shares hit record highs on Monday.

And now Altman is reportedly angling for a return to OpenAI, a fitting culmination to perhaps the wildest coup in Silicon Valley history.

At first glance, the past few days' events had me marveling at the power Altman seemed to hold.

How many executives' dismissals would elicit a full-blown revolt like Altman's removal did at OpenAI?

But as Business Insider's Julie Bort writes, Microsoft's Nadella really holds all the cards. Nadella averted a complete disaster by hiring Altman. Whether he ends up back at the helm of OpenAI or remains at Microsoft, Nadella has kept a vital piece of the company's AI strategy in his back pocket.

Of course, that's not to say there aren't risks for Microsoft. Some of OpenAI's customers are already looking to jump ship, Business Insider's Madeline Renbarger reports. Failing to reinstate Altman at OpenAI could ultimately lead to its demise. That's not an ideal scenario for a startup you've invested billions into.

It's also doubtful Microsoft could retain all the talent from OpenAI, should it dissolve. In fact, OpenAI staffers that pledged to leave the company to join Altman at Microsoft don't actually have official job offers, sources tell Kali and Ashley Stewart.

Meanwhile, Salesforce's Marc Benioff is already actively recruiting OpenAI employees on X.

3 things in markets

3 things in tech

  • Some Uber and Lyft drivers make more money by being picky. Some drivers revealed that canceling certain trips can help drivers avoid situations that aren't profitable. For example, being discerning can help drivers avoid "one-way rides."
  • Nvidia's VP of recruitment revealed how to land a job in AI at the company. The rise of AI has also powered the rise of Nvidia — its CEO Jensen Huang even became the world's 27th-richest person. The company's top recruiter said emphasizing skills and differentiating themselves are some of the top methods to getting hired there.
  • X CEO is reportedly getting texts from ad execs to resign over Elon Musk endorsing an antisemitic post. An executive reportedly told Linda Yaccarino that she needs to "save" her reputation.

3 things in business

  • Texas — weirdly — is leading America's clean energy future. The state has been America's oil capital for more than a century. But now, Texas is also one of the country's top producers of renewable energy.
  • Underwear startup Parade went bust, and employees blame the founder. Is it okay to write about it? Parade's cofounder and former CEO Camila Téllez asked Business Insider's Melkorka Licea how she could write what she saw as another takedown of a female founder — especially a female founder of color. But many of the 26 current and former employees Melkorka spoke to said the way Téllez ran her company was at least partially responsible for its flameout.
  • The experience economy could be a good industry to bet your career on. Millennials and Gen Zers are driving demand for experiences. For example, cooks at restaurants are expected to increase 20% between 2022 and 2032.

In other news

What's happening today

  • It's World Hello Day. The day is celebrated by greeting 10 different people. This highlights "the importance of personal communication for preserving peace.
  • "Happy birthday, Carly Rae Jepsen. Björk, Davido, and Colleen Ballinger were also born on this day.
  • Earnings today: Lowe's, Best Buy, HP, Nvidia, Nordstrom, and other companies.

For your bookmarks

Formal dinner etiquette

International wine and etiquette expert shares seven etiquette tips and mistakes. His warnings include to never force guests to join you in prayer and to not hold the top of your wine glass.

The Insider Today team: Dan DeFrancesco, senior editor and anchor, in New York City. Diamond Naga Siu, senior reporter, in San Diego. Hallam Bullock, editor, in London. Lisa Ryan, executive editor, in New York.

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