A conversation with Sam Altman about politics, startups and tech

Since the election of 45, the worlds of tech and politics have collided. Between tech leaders at Google, Facebook and other tech companies speaking out against 45’s executive order on immigration and, more recently, those same companies speaking out against the 45 administration rescinding guidance for transgender students in public schools, it’s clear that the tech industry is not going to sit idly on the sidelines during this 45th presidential administration in the United States.

On today’s episode of Bullish, I sat down with Y Combinator president Sam Altman to talk about how and why these worlds are colliding.

“I had this set of things I thought were really important and now there are some new things that seem a lot more important,” Altman told me. “I think one important meta point is to be, you know, this thing happened that we didn’t expect and seems like it could be really bad. Being willing to sort of reallocate focus and time and priorities. The meta point is it’s important to focus and it’s important to be willing to redirect that focus, so not do too many things and being willing to do very different things than I was thinking I was going to do in October of last year.”

We also talked about YC’s partnership with the American Civil Liberties Union, the election of the algorithm and the singularity.

“Everyone talks about the merge, the singularity, when human and computers become the same thing,” Altman said. “I think there’s an important argument that that’s already behind us.”