Sam Altman

Latest articles

Researchers and Founders

I spent many years working with founders and now I work with researchers.Although there are always individual exceptions, on average it’s surprising to me how different the best people in these groups are (including in some qualities that I had assumed were present in great people everywhere, like very high levels of self-belief).So I’ve been thinking...

Project Covalence

Almost every company and non-profit working on COVID-19 that I offered to help asked for support with clinical trials—for companies focusing on developing novel drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics, rapidly spinning up trials is one of their biggest bottlenecks. Science remains the only way out of the COVID-19 crisis. Dramatically improving clinical trials,...

Idea Generation

The most common question prospective startup founders ask is how to get ideas for startups. The second most common question is if you have any ideas for their startup.But giving founders an idea almost always doesn’t work. Having ideas is among the most important qualities for a startup founder to have—you will need to generate lots of new ideas in...

Please Fund More Science

Experts on the COVID-19 pandemic seem to think there are three ways out—that is, for life, health, and the economy to return roughly to normal. Either we get a vaccine good enough that R0 for the world goes below 1, a good enough treatment that people no longer need to be afraid, or we develop a great culture of testing, contract tracing, masks, and...

Funding for COVID-19 Projects

I’m trying to fund startups/projects helping with COVID-19, because it’s basically the one thing I know how to do that can help.  I think we will soon have enough testing capacity, so now I’d like to start funding more startups working on:Producing a lot of ventilators or masks/gowns very quickly.  This will require a lot of repurposing and creativity...

The Virus

Although I still hope things will go differently, the experts I’ve spoken to think we are likely to face a global tragedy—hundreds of thousands of deaths from Covid-19.I hope that society views this as a warning for the future.  Covid-19 is bad, but only a warm-up.  I think it’s unlikely that this is the worst new pandemic (human-created or otherwise)...

Hard Startups

The most counterintuitive secret about startups is that it’s often easier to succeed with a hard startup than an easy one.  A hard startup requires a lot more money, time, coordination, or technological development than most startups. A good hard startup is one that will be valuable if it works (not all hard problems are worth solving!).I remember...

How To Invest In Startups

There is a lot of advice about how to be a good startup founder.  But there isn’t very much about how to be a good startup investor.Before going any further, I should point out that this is a particularly hard time to invest in startups—it’s easier right now to be a capital-taker than a capital-giver.  It seems that more people want to be investors...

How To Be Successful

I’ve observed thousands of founders and thought a lot about what it takes to make a huge amount of money or to create something important. Usually, people start off wanting the former and end up wanting the latter. Here are 13 thoughts about how to achieve such outlier success. Everything here is easier to do once you’ve already reached a baseline degree...

Reinforcement Learning Progress

Today, OpenAI released a new result.  We used PPO (Proximal Policy Optimization), a general reinforcement learning algorithm invented by OpenAI, to train a team of 5 agents to play Dota and beat semi-pros. This is the game that to me feels closest to the real world and complex decision making (combining strategy, tactics, coordinating, and real-time...

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