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OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has every start-up founders dream problem: Product market overfit. Due to overwhelming demand following OpenAI DevDay, OpenAI pauses new subscriptions to its ChatGPT Plus payment tier.
OpenAI’s first developer conference surges demand
This temporary pause is currently in place because OpenAI simply wasn’t prepared for the immense surge of ChatGPT Plus sign-ups this month. OpenAI DevDay, the firms first-ever developer conference, was held in San Francisco, California on November 6th, 2023. The one-day in-person event, as the name implies, was targeted at software engineers looking to make the most of ChatGPT. Hundreds of technical professionals flocked to the event, with millions more watching headlines and rewatching the keynote after the fact.
Altman confirmed during that event that there are at least “100 million weekly active users, now, on ChatGPT”. This is an incredible milestone for a tech company, pretty much guaranteeing a multi-billion-dollar valuation. However, keeping the user experience a great one becomes increasingly difficult at this scale. OpenAI DevDay saw some industry-moving announcements. OpenAI’s artificial intelligence tools now include GPTs, custom versions of ChatGPT which you’ll soon be able to buy and sell on the GPT Store. Following the announcements of new features like this coming to the ChatGPT Plus service, demand has outpaced supply, leaving the AI company rushing to catch up.
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Why OpenAI paused subscriptions for ChatGPT Plus
we are pausing new ChatGPT Plus sign-ups for a bit 🙁Sam Altman, CEO, OpenAI
The AI startup chief executive explains that “the surge in usage post devday has exceeded our capacity and we want to make sure everyone has a great experience.” Posting via social media platform X on Wednesday, Altman announced the pause on new sign-ups of ChatGPT Plus subscribers. However, you “can still sign-up to be notified within the app when subs reopen.”
Altman’s company has been plagued by outages and error messages in the (one!) year since the release of ChatGPT. With DDoS attacks and periodic outages an expected challenge of OpenAI’s platform receiving so much attention, some call it “suffering from success”. The high demand on the AI company and it’s large language models (LLM) GPT-3.5 and GPT-4, or the newer upgrades called GPT-4V and GPT-4 Turbo, is ultimately making a fortune for OpenAI, and key investor Microsoft.