Hello! To our US readers: happy day before Thanksgiving — or as I like to call it, quasi-Friday.
There’s nothing like a photo of the Milky Way galaxy to put things in perspective before the holidays. Check out this new, stunning image from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope of the heart of the Milky Way.
In today’s big story, we’re looking at Sam Altman returning to the helm of OpenAI. (Yes, you read that right.)
What’s on deck:
But first, guess who’s back.
The big story
OpenAI hits ‘undo’
Less than five days after his shocking ouster, Sam Altman is set to return to OpenAI as its CEO.
To be sure, the news isn’t quite finalized — an important caveat these days. OpenAI posted on X Wednesday that it “reached an agreement in principle” to bring back Altman. But it seems Altman really pulled off one of the quickest CEO boomerangs in corporate history.
It’s a fitting culmination to what has been one of the wildest sagas to hit Silicon Valley since, well, ever.
(If you’re still trying to catch up on everything that went down, start here.)
Some of you might view all this drama as a giant nothing burger: After all that, we’re just back to where we started?!
But that’s not an accurate read on this. For one, OpenAI’s board, which sat at the center of all this drama, has changed.
Silicon Valley veteran Bret Taylor and former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers joined the board, with Taylor set to chair. Adam D’Angelo is the lone holdover from the previous board.
The changes reportedly won’t stop there. The board will eventually expand, and OpenAI’s unique governance structure will be overhauled, according to a report from The Verge, citing people familiar with the matter. There will also be an investigation into how the whole saga went down, The Verge also reported.
Many people will paint the past few days’ events as a weird but minor setback in OpenAI’s ultimate history.
Greg Brockman, OpenAI’s confounder and president who quit in solidarity with Altman, indicated it was back to business as usual. Shortly after the news broke, he posted on X that he would start coding again, followed by a selfie with OpenAI employees celebrating.
OpenAI’s investors would certainly like that to be the case. They’ve spent the past few days nervously watching what is likely the crown jewel of their portfolios teeter dangerously close to a full-on implosion. They’d like it back on track toward another eye-popping valuation.
But can things just go back to normal?
Take Altman, who, ironically, is now arguably one of the most untouchable executives in the world. His firing led nearly everyone at OpenAI to threaten to quit.
That type of loyalty toward an executive is almost unheard of, Business Insider’s Tim Paradis writes. It gives Altman incredible leverage going forward. The next time a dispute arises, how can you argue with the guy who has an entire company willing to walk with him?
Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella, a key figure in the past few days’ drama, comes out a winner. By helping to reinstall Altman at OpenAI, he stabilizes a key piece of Microsoft’s AI strategy. But it didn’t come easy.
In the midst of the turmoil, Microsoft CTO Kevin Scott said the company would hire hundreds of OpenAI employees. That did not sit well with some current Microsoft staffers, who have dealt with layoffs, a salary freeze, and cuts to its bonus budget this year, Business Insider’s Ashley Stewart and Julie Bort write.
3 things in markets
- Binance’s CEO will step down and plead guilty in an anti-money-laundering probe. The justice department said Changpeng Zhao is pleading guilty to breaking anti-money-laundering law. Meanwhile, Binance will pay a $4.3 billion fine at a federal court, per the treasury department.
- Christmas came early for the stock market. But is that a good thing? December is usually a strong month for the markets, leading some to dub it a “Santa Claus Rally.” But with the S&P 500 up 10% since late October, some wonder if that means we’ll have a quiet December. However, another indicator shows the rally could last to year’s end.
- The ETF market is getting the Ozempic treatment. HRTS is a new ETF that tracks companies involved in anti-obesity and cardiovascular-related treatments. And while we’re talking ETFs, ones that track meme stocks are on the rise.
3 things in tech
- Rivian is the real winner in Elon Musk’s latest drama. The Tesla CEO boosted a post that expressed antisemitic sentiments. And now, some Tesla owners are saying that they’ll ditch their vehicles in favor of Rivians.
- Jack Dorsey is getting rid of performance improvement plans. Instead, the Block cofounder and CEO is in favor of “parting ways immediately.” Managers will move away from annual reviews. Instead, they’ll be “constantly evaluating” workers so they can “part ways without delay.”
- Leaked email: Amazon’s six new areas of focus for its artificial general intelligence group. The newly created group is going through major restructuring. Now, it’s focusing on areas like conversational assistant services, foundational models, and data services.
3 things in business
- Side hustles for introverts. These remote online businesses don’t require face-to-face interactions. The top options include UX designing, blogging, and online survey taking.
- Meet the 30 rising stars of Madison Ave who revolutionized advertising this year. The changemakers include people from a variety of roles and backgrounds, including media, creativity, strategy, and production. Meet them here.
- Millennials say they need $525,000 a year to be happy. A Nobel prize winner’s research shows they’re not wrong. Factors like high inflation, interest rates, and student loans have impacted Americans’ financial happiness.
In other news
What’s happening today
- India is hosting the virtual G20 Leaders’ Summit. Expected attendees include Russian President Vladimir Putin.
- Happy birthday, Billie Jean King! Jamie Lee Curtis, Scarlett Johansson, and Hailey Bieber are also celebrating today.
- Earnings today: John Deere and other companies.
For your bookmarks
Advice from the world’s oldest people
Longevity researchers share four life changes they’ve made based on advice from over 1,000 centenarians. Their tips include staying away from “toxic people” and occasionally having treats.
The Insider Today team: Dan DeFrancesco, senior editor and anchor, in New York City. Diamond Naga Siu, senior reporter, in San Diego. Hallam Bullock, editor, in London. Lisa Ryan, executive editor, in New York.
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