Paul Graham Compared 28-Year-Old Sam Altman To Steve Jobs Before Naming Him The New President Of Y Combinator


According to VentureBeat, Y Combinator co-founder and president Paul Graham will be stepping down from his leadership position at the influential tech accelerator. Sam Altman, a 28-year-old Y Combinator partner, will take over the presidency starting in the summer.

In a blog post announcing the move, Graham noted, “YC needs to grow, and I’m not the best person to grow it.  Sam is what YC needs at this stage in its evolution.” He also praised Altman as “fearsomely effective and yet fundamentally benevolent.”

Graham’s passion for Altman’s leadership, it seems, has been long-boiling. In a 2009 blog post about the “5 most interesting startup founders of the last 30 years,” Graham noted that Altman, “is, along with Steve Jobs, the founder I refer to most when I’m advising startups. On questions of design, I ask ‘What would Steve do?’ but on questions of strategy or ambition I ask ‘What would Sam do?'”

The boldest bullet on Sam’s personal entrepreneurial resume would be his sale of Loopt — a location-based social networking mobile service — to Green Dot Corp. for $43 million in 2012. He also is an alumni of Y Combinator’s first batch of startups from 2005.

Graham, in addition to providing YC office hours, will likely use his newfound freedom to step out of the glaring media spotlight that has followed him over the past year, ranging from a New York Times profile where he admitted, “I can be tricked by anyone who looks like Mark Zuckerberg,” to a recent interview with The Information where he made seemingly sexist comments about technological education.