Much of his advice follows YCs standard imperative to transparency: if youre worried about investors responses to a setback, just tell them; if youre mystified by what a potential customers silence portends, just ask them. Its the knottier questions that elicit his cleaving judgments. Dont worry about a competitor until theyre beating you in the market, Altman told the founders of Elucify at his dining table one afternoon. Competitors are one of the last monsters that haunt your dreams. A few minutes later, he was on speakerphone with Varden Labs, a Canadian self-driving-vehicle company. As the founders poured out concerns about fund-raising, Altman, in stocking feet, cargo shorts, and a gray hoodie, waved around a Bronze Age sword that hed bought as a gift for Paul Graham. To raise fifty million, he saidslash, two-handed swipeyou either need a major technological breakthrough or a large customer ready to go. He parried invisible strokes, advancing inexorably. What about long-term? they asked. Always think about adding one more zero to whatever youre doing, but never think beyond that. Stab to the heart. Four years ago, on a daylong hike with friends north of San Francisco, Altman relinquished the notion that human beings are singular. As the group discussed advances in artificial intelligence, Altman recognized, he told me, that theres absolutely no reason to believe that in about thirteen years we wont have hardware capable of replicating my brain.
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