May 28, 2024

Jensen Huang wearing all black walking in front of a window with blurred people outside

Nvidia co-founder and CEO Jensen Huang
Photo: Michael M. Santiago (Getty Images)

As head of one of the world’s most valuable companies, Nvidia chief executive Jensen Huang doesn’t believe getting there should be easy — including for people working under him.

During an interview with CBS News’ 60 Minutes, Huang was told what some of his colleagues at the chipmaking company have said about him: “Demanding. Perfectionist. Not easy to work for.”

Huang replied that the words “perfectly” described him. “It should be like that,” he said. “If you want to do extraordinary things, it shouldn’t be easy.”

Some would say Nvidia has done “extraordinary things” in the AI boom, including becoming the first chipmaker to reach a $2 trillion valuation, beating out Saudi Arabia’s Aramco to become the world’s third-most valuable company, and flying past Amazon and Google parent Alphabet to become the third-most valuable company in the U.S. by market cap.

In March, Huang said that chief executives should have the most direct reports out of anyone at a company in an interview with the Stanford Graduate School of Business. To him, he said, employees reporting directly to a CEO require less oversight — and that gives chief executives more bandwidth to manage others. Huang says he has 50 direct reports, which suggests a very hands-off approach. (It seems unlikely that he’s 50 one-on-one meetings a week.)

Huang added that he thinks having more employees directly reporting to the chief executive can even the power balance at a company, too. “I don’t believe in a culture, in an environment, where the information you possess is the reason why you have power,” Huang said.

Huang unveiled the chipmaker’s highly anticipated new processor, Blackwell, at the company’s annual GPU Technology Conference (GTC) in March. He told 60 Minutes the chip can do “quadrillions of calculations a second,” and added that Nvidia hopes Blackwell “does things that surprise us.” Blackwell’s predecessor, the Hopper, propelled the company to its market success, as major tech companies, including Microsoft and Google, sought the chips to build their generative AI products.

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