Sam Altman
Sam Altman shares a list of things he wishes someone had told him. Wikimedia Commons

Following a tumultuous period at OpenAI involving his unexpected removal and shocking return as the company's CEO, Sam Altman has shed light on his own perspective.

The artificial intelligence (AI) community witnessed a dramatic chapter at OpenAI for 5 days before the AI startup agreed to bring back Altman as the CEO and radically overhaul its board.

With several employees threatening to quit, OpenAI had no choice but to bring Altman back as the company's chief executive. Altman, on the other hand, admitted in an interview that he wasn't initially keen on returning to OpenAI.

In a blog post on his official website, Altman has now shared a list of things that he wishes someone had told him. So, let's take a look at the learnings Altman shared on his blog post:

Long-term orientation

Altman points out that "long-term orientation is in short supply". So, worrying about short-term perceptions is a waste of time. Moreover, ignoring what people think in the short term is a perspective that becomes easier over time.

According to the top executive, nothing motivates people like audacious ideas. Altman believes a team will do a hard thing that really matters more effortlessly than carry out a task that's not really important.

Incentives are superpowers

Altman says it is imperative to set incentives carefully. Likewise, it is important to concentrate resources on a few high-conviction bets. However, he admits this is easier said than done. "You can delete more stuff than you think," he added.

Altman also emphasised the importance of communicating clearly and concisely.

The process of recruiting

Altman believes companies should spend more time on recruitment and shouldn't shy away from hiring individuals with high potential and a rapid rate of improvement. Aside from intelligence, he suggests companies should look for evidence of getting stuff done when it comes to recruiting someone.

Altman thinks fast iteration can compensate for initial errors. "Plans should be measured in decades, execution should be measured in weeks," he added.

Understanding how business works

Altman noted that it is a bad idea to fight fundamental laws of business, which he says are similar to the laws of physics. As business scales, he claims some unpredictable qualities are likely to emerge.

Noting that "compounding exponentials are magic," Altman recommends building a business that gets a compounding advantage with scale. Towards the end of the article, Altman advises business owners to keep going when they fall.

Reflecting on being fired from OpenAI in an interview with Trevor Noah, Altman revealed that he was flooded with messages from people who wanted to work with him. Unsurprisingly, he pointed out in his blog post that working with great people is one of the best parts of life.