On Setting the Record Straight

There have been a lot of inaccuracies reported about me and Stability AI, today I set the record straight with our team with the message below.

We are going to start being more assertive about what we do and I have some very interesting stories to share about some of the past elements touched upon here.

We have some very interesting things coming up.

This also is very intriguing with regards to the future of media and trust - something that will be essential in the coming years with generative AI and that we have a lot to contribute to.

To: Stability AI Team

Subject: Recent Forbes Article


When we launched Stability AI, we did so with the goal of using AI to help activate humanity’s potential. We saw a chance to enhance scientific research, education and the arts, and positively impact industries in ways that are transformative. That incredible mission has been guiding our team’s work since day one. 

In a race to achieve this, we have put the bulk of our focus into our core work: creating innovative products and supporting research implementing AI in the fields of medicine, healthcare, language, imaging, music and more. In just over 18 months, we have grown from 20 employees to more than 170, while building a young, dynamic company that is a leader in the AI space, both through our core teams’ innovation and supporting others’. 

It is not surprising to me that as we have grown in prominence and impact, we have also increasingly become the target of several attacks and misrepresentations in the media. This latest article attacking our company by Forbes is no exception. Despite our team spending weeks and weeks going back and forth with Forbes to correct the record, they have clearly chosen to ignore the truth on many of these issues. 

Throughout my career, I have always been quick to praise and attribute the work of collaborators. I have apologized for any errors I make and have always strived to be constantly improving. I have categorically denied the spurious claims and characterizations throughout this story, but I want to set the record straight for you, my valued team, here today. These were all clearly communicated to Forbes ahead of release.

There are countless false accusations and misrepresentations in this Forbes story which I will clarify here, in particular:

●      My degree from Oxford:

  •  I did not attend my graduation ceremony to pick up my degrees and so actually do not technically have a BA or an MA. I have paid the £60 to receive these by post and will do so next month. Hopefully I can attend my graduation ceremony in person.

●      My prior hedge fund work:

  • I came in as Co-Chief Investment Officer at Capricorn Long/Short EM in 2016 after it had a bad year in 2015. In my first full year leading portfolio construction it won the EM Risk Adjusted Hedge Fund of the Year Award for performance in 2017. I then left to focus on other things in 2018 and they shut it down for the previous bad performance.

●      Our work with the United Nations around COVID-19:

  • We were partnered with these organizations in CAIAC, which ended before summer of 2022 as discussed in multiple places as a catalyst for the focus of Stability AI as multiple companies did not share their technology or failed to deliver.
  • This is a relevant experience, not a representation of a current role, as with the other relevant experiences. 
  • I have discussed my experience with the CAIAC project and frustrations around it, leading to the creation of Stability AI in its current state, in numerous investor meetings and interviews.

●      Stable Diffusion:

  • We have made repeated public statements that Stability AI was a collaborator in the development of the first release of Stable Diffusion, alongside the Computer and Vision learning group at LMU and Runway. 
  • The details of this collaboration have been shared publicly on Stable Diffusion’s Github under CompVis and Stability AI's website since its release. 
  • In addition, 3 of the 5 authors of latent diffusion & stable diffusion – work at Stability AI as you all know.
  • The best solution to this is to keep shipping.

●      Our partnership with Amazon:

  • We have a strategic business alliance with Amazon & AWS. As part of this strategic business alliance, AWS built an incredibly rare dedicated compute cluster completed in August 2022 to the requirements of Stability. The 4,000 A100 cluster has dedicated capacity on a single spline which optimizes performance and is one of the only ones there
  • As we scaled there were some payment timing issues (especially given credits etc), all of which were resolved by August.

●      Our payment of wages and payroll taxes:

  • There were some instances of delayed payments, all of which were quickly rectified with me personally covering the employees’ payroll at the time - this included waiting for grants for government schemes and others
  • We also paid impacted employees additional wages to compensate for the inconvenience and covered any related expenses they may have incurred such as overdraft fees. 
  • Since the end of 2021, there have been no missed salary payments in the regular course of operations. 
  • All payroll tax issues were resolved quickly and have been paid in full. We are constantly working to strengthen and improve all of these processes. 

●      Our efforts to strengthen and improve our HR processes:

  • We continuously strive to improve our work environment with low attrition from employees leaving for other employers since last summer, when we upgraded the management team. 
  • We hold weekly town halls, anonymous feedback sessions and other programs instituted by our new, experienced, HR team, so employees can help us understand where we can improve.

●      Our relationship with MidJourney:

  • Written correspondence in an investor memo clarified our relationship with MidJourney as such in exact terms:

“MidJourney is an independent organisation we support that implements and makes usable the image models we create. It currently has almost 57,000 members, 14,000 of whom are active and after our support for the beta has been scaling organically through a subscription that covers their compute costs. We would like to help them scale this aggressively, introducing aesthetic scoring and preference learning so the system improves for each user using the inputs of all users. We provide strategic and model support for MidJourney whose focus is not scaling for the sake of it, but improving access to these new models for as many people as possible.”

  • Last summer we were in discussions to co-create this and other products as joint efforts. We then pivoted to creating our own and then focusing on the infrastructure stack
  • This wording identifying MidJourney as an “independent organisation” clarifies our intent not to mislead readers of the presentation deck
  • We have always been very careful about this and were experimenting with different models where we could support not control communities before settling on our current business model - stable models are ours and commercial, we support open source in general more openly to keep things separate and clear

●      Zehra’s support for our company:

  • As the company grew and matured, a full reconciliation was done and any amounts owed from or to myself and Zehra were settled in full before the end of 2022 by our new, experienced finance team.

●      Our continued fundraising efforts:

  • Stability AI has significant runway, but, like many other start-ups, we remain engaged in discussions with strategic investors. We have not opened our data room at this time to the investors who have signed MNDA.

●      My autism research etc:

  • Anyone who has spoken to me knows the score on this, while I can be excitable I am very serious on this and will be putting out details soon once we get through this period and the appropriate models are built to take this forward.
  • The end of the piece makes the stance of the authors very clear given they interviewed the head of research and more for hours, they know of the talent in the company and leadership but balance was not the aim. It is very sad.  

It is in a way encouraging that after a huge number of interviews directly targeting those who have axes to grind against Stability AI this is the sum of what they could attack us with.

The company has moved from a pre-seed startup last year to a scale up this year and is well on its way to becoming a multinational with huge interest and increasing support in the most amazing transformative technology we have ever seen.

We are a diverse team coming together to build the foundation to activate humanity’s potential and there will be significant scrutiny rightly on everything we do.

We must focus on being open at our core, admitting our faults and constantly improving so we can achieve our mission and make the world a happier place.

The alternative is a closed panopticon which none of us want and we are fortunate to have an amazing and growing team that can deliver on this.

Let’s ship so they can’t ignore the good we do.

Thank you,