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‘Megalomaniac, difficult to work with’: Why Silicon Valley VCs are now avoiding Sam Altman

Once revered as a leading figure in Silicon Valley, Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, faces scrutiny and criticism from some corners of the tech and finance communities, especially venture capitalists in Silicon Valley.

A recent report from Insider highlights discontent among venture capitalists and startup executives regarding Altman’s leadership style and grandiose ambitions.

According to Insider’s report, featuring quotes from numerous anonymous sources, Altman is allegedly spearheading a $100 billion funding round to develop artificial general intelligence (AGI) at OpenAI. However, some industry insiders find Altman’s messianic persona and lofty rhetoric tiresome and self-serving. Some have even called him a megalomaniac.

Anonymous venture capitalists and startup executives quoted in the report express skepticism and unease about Altman’s intentions and behavior. Some criticize his purported altruism as disingenuous, while others liken his aspirations to those of Elon Musk, questioning the genuineness of his motives.

Several interviewees accuse Altman of intellectual dishonesty and egotism, suggesting that his focus may be more on enhancing his reputation than advancing humanity’s interests. One individual characterizes Altman’s endeavors as “the platform of Sam,” implying a self-serving agenda.

Although the sources are critical of Altman, most chose to remain anonymous, indicating a reluctance to challenge his influence in the industry openly. However, Ali Ghodsi, CEO of Databricks, voiced his skepticism publicly, questioning Altman’s portrayal of AGI and its implications.

While Insider acknowledges a potential element of “sour grapes” among Altman’s detractors, the criticism reflects growing disillusionment with his leadership. This isn’t the first time Altman has faced negative feedback; previous allegations of manipulation and poor leadership emerged following last year’s controversy surrounding OpenAI’s leadership changes.

Altman’s response to these criticisms remains undisclosed, as OpenAI has yet to comment. However, this latest scrutiny underscores Altman’s challenges in maintaining his reputation and leadership amid growing skepticism within the tech community.

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