Its called radiation hormesis!he has scant interest in the specifics of the apps that many YC companies produce; what intrigues him is their potential effect on the world. To determine that, hell upload all he needs to know about, say, urban planning or nuclear fusion. Patrick Collison, the C.E.O. of the electronic-payments company Stripe, likened Altmans brain to the claw machine on a carnival midway: It roams around but has the ability to plunge very deep when necessary. A blogger recently asked Altman, How has having Aspergers helped and hurt you? Altman told me, I was, like, Fuck you, I dont have Aspergers! But then I thought, I can see why he thinks I do. I sit in weird wayshe folds up like a busted umbrellaI have narrow interests in technology, I have no patience for things Im not interested in: parties, most people. When someone examines a photo and says, Oh, hes feeling this and this and this, all these subtle emotions, I look on with alien intrigue. Altmans great strengths are clarity of thought and an intuitive grasp of complex systems. His great weakness is his utter lack of interest in ineffective people, which unfortunately includes most of us. I found his assiduousness alarming at first, then gradually endearing. When I remarked, after a few long days together, that he never seemed to visit the mens room, he said, I will practice going to the bathroom more often so you humans dont realize that Im the A.I. When he took over YC, he inherited a budding colossus. The venture capitalist Chris Dixon told me, 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 expensesthey 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.