The Price of Passion: How Sam Altman’s Dedication to His Startup Led to Scurvy


Starting a business is no easy feat. It requires dedication, hard work, and sacrifices. Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, knows this all too well. In fact, he worked so relentlessly on building his first startup with his ex-boyfriend that he suffered from scurvy, a disease caused by vitamin C deficiency.

The Journey to Success

Altman’s entrepreneurial journey began when he met his ex-boyfriend, who shared his passion for technology and innovation. They decided to start a company together and poured all their time and energy into making it a success.

Long hours, sleepless nights, and an unwavering focus became the norm for Altman and his partner. They believed in their vision and were determined to turn it into a reality. However, in their relentless pursuit of success, they neglected their own health and well-being.

The Toll on Health

Scurvy, often associated with sailors from centuries ago, is caused by a severe lack of vitamin C in the diet. It leads to symptoms such as fatigue, swollen gums, joint pain, and even bleeding. Altman’s extreme dedication to his startup meant that he neglected his nutrition, resulting in this ancient disease.

Altman’s experience with scurvy serves as a stark reminder of the sacrifices entrepreneurs often make in their quest for success. It highlights the importance of maintaining a balance between work and personal well-being. While determination and hard work are essential, neglecting one’s health can have severe consequences.

The Lessons Learned

Altman’s battle with scurvy taught him valuable lessons about self-care and the need for a support system. He realized that success should not come at the expense of one’s health and relationships.

It is crucial for entrepreneurs to prioritize their well-being and create a sustainable work-life balance. This means taking breaks, eating a nutritious diet, and seeking support from friends, family, or mentors.


Sam Altman’s story is a powerful reminder that success should not come at the cost of one’s health. While building a startup requires dedication and hard work, it is important to find a balance and prioritize self-care. Neglecting one’s well-being can lead to severe consequences, as Altman experienced with scurvy.

Entrepreneurs should learn from Altman’s experience and strive for a sustainable approach to building their businesses. By taking care of their health and maintaining a support system, they can increase their chances of long-term success and well-being.

Table of Contents