As the first venture investor in OpenAI, I witnessed firsthand how the wrong board can harm a company. The weekend drama at OpenAI served to illustrate my belief that fancy titles such as “Director of Strategy at Georgetown’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology” can lead to a false sense of understanding of the complex process of entrepreneurial innovation.
OpenAI’s board members’ adherence to the religion of “effective altruism” and their misapplication could have set back humanity’s progress towards the tremendous benefits of artificial intelligence. The promise of AI holds the potential for free doctors for everyone and near-free tutors for every child on the planet, which is what we must strive towards.
The best companies are those that are led by founding entrepreneurs who put everything on the line to challenge the status quo, like Sam Altman. These founders face risk head-on and are focused solely on making the world a better place. While things may go wrong, and abuse may occur, the benefits of having good founders far outweigh any risks associated with having bad ones.