Since the ousting of Sam Altman as OpenAI’s CEO last Friday, the world’s buzziest AI startup has been in turmoil. People in San Francisco, where OpenAI is headquartered, also lost a measurable amount of sleep this past weekend, data shows.
“We checked our data and last night, SF saw a spike in low-quality sleep. There was a 27% increase in people getting under 5 hours of sleep,” said Matteo Franceschetti, CEO of EightSleep, a sleep product company that also sells an app tracking sleep patterns, on Monday (Nov. 20). “We need to fix this.”
Of course, it’s common for employees at San Francisco’s many startups to work in the wee hours of the morning. But OpenAI has raised the stakes for people in the tech industry, given that the company is so influential in shaping the future of generative AI.
It’s also entrepreneurial for Franceschetti to jump in on the conversation. Quartz has reached out to EightSleep for additional data.
Reading into the late-night posts about OpenAI
In the meantime, we can judge how well some of the key players in the OpenAI story are sleeping from their activity on X, formerly known as Twitter. For example, Altman made a series of posts on Nov. 18, at 11:47 pm, 12:05 am, and 12:32 am, professing admiration for his former colleagues. (All time stamps have been converted to Eastern standard time.)
Then on Nov. 20 at 2:53 am, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella posted about Altman and Greg Brockman, former president of OpenAI, joining the tech giant, with Altman responding at 2:58 am. Emmett Shear, former chief executive of Twitch, detailed in a long message about the “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to join OpenAI as interim CEO at 4:01 am that same day.
They aren’t the only people who may be losing sleep over Altman’s departure. Rival companies are watching to see what happens next with OpenAI, or wondering whether to try poaching its employees. And of course, reporters have been working late into the night to uncover what’s going on inside the company as the saga continues.