On Tuesday morning, Nvidia temporarily became a $1 trillion company, joining the elite club that includes the likes of Apple, Google, and Microsoft. This came after the company’s keynote on the Computex 2023 exhibition which was packed with AI announcements, including a demo of games using its Avatar Cloud Engine to support natural language for both input and responses.
Behind Nvidia’s massive success is its CEO Jensen Huang, who has led the company since he co-founded it back in 1993. The man, who sports a tattoo inspired by the company logo on his arm, has come a long way from his days working the graveyard shift at a restaurant.
Here are seven unknown facts about Jensen Huang.
Huang’s iconic biker jackets
Remember the iconic black turtleneck of Steve Jobs? Nvidia’s chief follows a similar style where he wears a black leather biker jacket to keynotes, and has been consistently doing so for over the past 10 years.
Second US CEO after Jeff Bezos to take the valuation up to $1 trillion
Huang is only the second US CEO after Amazon’s Jeff Bezos to cross the trillion-dollar valuation mark for a company they co-founded. Nvidia did so only briefly, but could return to that value in the future.
Founded Nvidia on his birthday
Huang founded Nvidia on his 30th birthday along with Curtis Priem and Chris Malachowsky, securing backing from Silicon Valley’s Sequoia Capital and others. The company’s first hits were specialised chips to power motion graphics for computer games, which we now see commonly across gaming machines as GPUs (Graphics Processing Units).
Huang is also a seasoned philanthropist, as is the case with many billionaires. For instance, he gifted Stanford University, where he studied, $30 million for a Jen-Hsun Huang School of Engineering Center. The center stands as one of four buildings that make up the Science and Engineering Quad at Stanford. He also donated $2 million to the Oneida Baptist Institute to establish Huang Hall, which functions both as a dorm and a classroom building.
He worked at a company that now competes with Nvidia
AMD, which is now one of NVIDIA’s rivals in the GPU space, was Huang’s former employer between the years 1984 and 1985. Huang was tasked at the company with designing and engineering of microprocessors. He wasn’t there for long, but the brief stint may have played a major role in his career.
His love for gaming-inspired him to found Nvidia
He is an avid gamer and that inspired him to co-found Nvidia with his friends in 1993. They wanted to improve the graphics of the PCs at that time and create a new market for gaming.
The professional engineer
Huang pursued his electrical engineering bachelor’s degree at Oregon State University and later obtained his master’s degree from Stanford University. He inherited his father’s passion for instrumentation and chemical engineering. Before joining Nvidia, he gained experience in marketing, engineering, and general management at LSI Logic.