They created the greatest business model of all time. For basically no money” — YC gives each company just a hundred and twenty thousand dollars, to cover expenses — “they get seven per cent of a lot of the best startups in Silicon Valley!” Collectively, YC companies are worth eighty billion dollars, a valuation that has grown seventeenfold in the past five years.
Altman, who is only thirty-one years old, is clearly an unusual personality, at least as depicted in The New Yorker article:
"I like racing cars,” Altman said. “I have five, including two McLarens and an old Tesla. I like flying rented planes all over California. Oh, and one odd one—I prep for survival.” ... He explained, “My problem is that when my friends get drunk they talk about the ways the world will end. After a Dutch lab modified the H5N1 bird-flu virus, five years ago, making it super contagious, the chance of a lethal synthetic virus being released in the next twenty years became, well, nonzero. The other most popular scenarios would be A.I. that attacks us and nations fighting with nukes over scarce resources.” ... “I try not to think about it too much,” Altman said. “But I have guns, gold, potassium iodide, antibiotics, batteries, water, gas masks from the Israeli Defense Force, and a big patch of land in Big Sur I can fly to.”