July 18, 2024

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Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang says path to success was filled with ‘dispair’ and ‘torture’

2 min read

Nvidia has been holding a clinic in shattering expectations. The company’s market cap has increased 160% in the past six months, up to $3.10 trillion, as the rush to cash in on A.I. has launched the chip maker into position as the third most valuable company in the world, trailing only Apple ($3.30 trillion) and Microsoft ($3.25 trillion). 

For Nvidia’s CEO, Jensen Huang, it’s been an equally meteoric come up. Huang’s wealth surged more than $62 billion this year, up to $106.1 billion, and he leapfrogged fellow tech star Michael Dell to become the 13th-richest person on the planet. 

But the man at the helm of Nvidia’s historic rise hasn’t sugarcoated how difficult the road to success was, either for himself, or the company he founded more than 30 years ago. 

When Nvidia started in 1993, Huang, along with co-founders Chris Malachowsky and Curtis Priem, began with an idea of creating chips that would enable realistic 3D graphics on personal computers—or graphic processing units, specifically for video games. 

But speaking at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in 2018, Huang told audience members that he always believed GPUs could have broader applications in society, otherwise there would have been “no point in starting a company.”

“It’s incredibly hard to start a company; it’s incredibly hard to start a business,” Huang said at the conference. “The depth of despair, the suffering, the torture—balanced by the great joy of doing something the world has never done before—is beyond words can describe. So unless you believe you’re going to make a real contribution to society it’s going to be incredibly hard to start that journey.”

The reason Nvidia got its start in gaming, Haung said, was that video games were the only area in technology where the computational potential was incredibly advanced, but there was also an enormous demand among consumers. 

Once they realized the potential scale of GPU…

Seamus Webster

2024-06-14 17:43:04

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