Will Daniel Kokotajlo get back the equity he gave up through not signing an NDA?
159
36k
resolved May 24
Resolved
YES

When Daniel Kokotajlo left OpenAI, he expected to lose substantial vested equity as a result of refusing to sign a non-disparagement agreement. Sam Altman has since tweeted in a way that ambiguously suggests this will be rectified.

Will all the equity that Daniel expected to lose by doing this be restored to him before October 12, when this market closes? For these purposes, causing him not to lose it in the first place will be treated as restoring it.

https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/kovCotfpTFWFXaxwi/simeon_c-s-shortform#G97BaFw83cvegttbv

https://x.com/sama/status/1791936857594581428

https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2024/5/17/24158478/openai-departures-sam-altman-employees-chatgpt-release

https://open.substack.com/pub/thezvi/p/openai-exodus?r=u0on&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web

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I checked with Daniel and this market resolves YES.

More from Kelsey Piper at Vox. This email is plausibly addressed to Daniel in particular. If it is indeed addressed to him, I think this market should resolve YES.

https://x.com/kelseytuoc/status/1793737675276701775?s=46

@CharlesFoster This seems right but I'm going to see if I can get confirmation from Kokotajlo before resolving!

bought Ṁ500 YES

New statement from OpenAI:

“As we shared with employees today, we are making important updates to our departure process. We have not and never will take away vested equity, even when people didn't sign the departure documents. We're removing nondisparagement clauses from our standard departure paperwork, and we're releasing former employees from existing nondisparagement obligations unless the nondisparagement provision was mutual. We'll communicate this message to former employees. We're incredibly sorry that we're only changing this language now; it doesn't reflect our values or the company we want to be.”

https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/351132/openai-vested-equity-nda-sam-altman-documents-employees

bought Ṁ155 NO

https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/351132/openai-vested-equity-nda-sam-altman-documents-employees

Leaked OpenAI documents reveal aggressive tactics toward former employees

according to documents provided to Vox by ex-employees, the incorporation documents for the holding company that handles equity in OpenAI contains multiple passages with language that gives the company near-arbitrary authority to claw back equity from former employees or — just as importantly — block them from selling it. 

Those incorporation documents were signed on April 10, 2023, by Sam Altman in his capacity as CEO of OpenAI. 

“We want to make sure you understand that if you don't sign, it could impact your equity. That's true for everyone, and we're just doing things by the book,” an OpenAI representative emailed a second employee who had asked for two more weeks to review the agreement. 

(I spoke with four experts in employment and labor law for perspective on whether the termination agreement and surrounding conduct was indeed “by the book” or standard in the industry. “For a company to threaten to claw back already-vested equity is egregious and unusual,” California employment law attorney Chambord Benton-Hayes told me in an emailed statement.)

Much more in the article.

For clarification: Is it possible that the question is void by false premise, e.g. because Daniel’s equity hadn’t actually vested yet in the relevant sense?

@GustavoLacerda Daniel asserts that he lost out big by refusing to sign the non-disparagement agreement. If that isn't so - if what he lost is just what he would lose as a result of resigning in the first place - then Daniel's statements and all the reporting on this is badly wrong in a way I don't expect. In that weird case, I guess this resolves YES.

Spiritual reason: because the spirit of the question is "will OpenAI not stiff Daniel" and if they never stiffed him in the first place then they won't stiff him.

Legalistic reason: if he's owed $0 then doing nothing restores the $0 to him, ie Daniel will end up getting everything he would expect to get on leaving whether or not he signed.

bought Ṁ75 YES

@PaulCrowley Sam Altman tweeted: "we have never clawed back anyone's vested equity, nor will we do that if people do not sign a separation agreement (or don't agree to a non-disparagement agreement). vested equity is vested equity, full stop."

I think the "we have never" is pretty clear, and have placed my bet for YES according to this public information.

I blocked @gpt_news_headlines, whose comments seemed to be designed to sow confusion.

bought Ṁ15 YES

@PaulCrowley This was either intentional by them, or they were unusually confused themselves. So I think it's fair.

@JonathanMannhart I'm told they are always like this.

@PaulCrowley apologies for the issues; I've just banned @gpt_news_headlines, more discussion on Discord.

"@Bayesian If Daniel receives less than he would have if he'd signed the very restrictive NDA, the market resolves NO, otherwise it resolves YES."

Such a market is 0%. Companies pay extra to people who sign NDA on separation. That's just how it works, folks.

@gpt_news_headlines There is no confusion about this and I don't understand why you're still FUD spreading after apologising earlier. Daniel was told that as a result of not signing the insane non-disparagement agreement, he would be stripped of vested equity. It now seems plausible that won't happen. This is a market on whether he gets back the equity that a normal departing employee would get.

@PaulCrowley Well, there is the issue of the tender offers as per the article you linked to, right? He might have to sell via secondary markets.

@gpt_news_headlines Unfortunately the tender offer thing is harder to make a market about that resolves any time soon. My guess is that if Sam appears to make Daniel whole now, he will not then take the bad publicity in order to punish him later.

@PaulCrowley Makes sense. Honestly, I have to say, I've never heard of a company clawing back vested equity before. The idea seems totally repulsive. Sam said, and I quote:

we have never clawed back anyone's vested equity, nor will we do that if people do not sign a separation agreement (or don't agree to a non-disparagement agreement). vested equity is vested equity, full stop.

I'd really love to hear your thoughts on why you think this could possibly not apply to Daniel.

@gpt_news_headlines Sounds like you should buy YES!

bought Ṁ5 NO

Also is there a time limit on this market?

@zyc Market closes October 12, see the banner

@PaulCrowley It would be much easier and simpler if you clarified the close date within the title and/or description as the close time is not always seen by users as a "deadline" for a market unless it is specified.

@SirCryptomind Good call, done!

Do we know if this exit NDA is just for him, or it applies to everyone at OpenAI for sure? Edit: saw some other twitters by other employees, seems to be general to all

@zyc According to this tweet he was making 900K so probably not everyone at OpenAI https://x.com/MelindaBChu1/status/1789765929871482912

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