Jensen Huang Nvidia
In this article

Demanding. Perfectionist. Not easy to work with.

These are some of the words Nvidia employees have used to describe the company’s CEO, Jensen Huang.

However, in a recent interview with 60 minutes, Huang said that’s how a leader “should be” to be able to “achieve extraordinary things”.

The CEO’s intense approach has seemed to have paid off, though. Today, Nvidia is amongst the only four companies in the world to be valued at more than US$2 trillion after its stock market value doubled over the past eight months with the rise of artificial intelligence (AI).

Jensen Huang’s unconventional leadership style

Huang has always had a reputation for being a formidable boss. In an interview with Stanford’s Graduate School of Business earlier this month, he discussed his leadership style, saying that CEOs should, “by definition”, have the most direct reports of anyone at a company.

flat hierarchy
Image Credit: iStock

“The more direct reports the CEO has, the less layers are in the company,” he added. “It allows us to keep information fluid, allows us to make sure that everyone is empowered by information.”

I don’t believe in a culture, in an environment, where the information you possess is the reason why you have power.

– Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang in an interview with Stanford’s Graduate School of Business

Presently, Huang has 50 direct reports. He believes that managers’ roles shouldn’t revolve around mediating power dynamics among employees but rather collectively motivating the workforce. 

Working minimum-wage jobs shaped him to become a successful CEO

Image Credit: Getty

At the root of it all, Huang attributes his humble beginnings working in minimum wage jobs as the foundation for his strong work ethics, ultimately propelling him to success in his role as CEO.

“No task is beneath me … remember I used to be a dishwasher,” he said, referring to his first job at Denny’s, an American diner-style restaurant chain. “I was probably Denny’s best dishwasher… I washed the living daylights out of the dishes.”

Huang also said that he has worked just as hard as a corporate employee as he did cleaning toilets in the past—and he’s had his fair share of toilet-cleaning experience. “I have cleaned more toilets than all of you combined,” he joked.

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang on the Acquired podcast/ Image Credit: Screengrab by Vulcan Post

But if he could foresee the immense challenges of building and sustaining Nvidia, Huang has openly admitted that he probably wouldn’t do it again.

In an interview on the Acquired podcast last year, he confessed that building a company like Nvidia proved to be “a million times harder” than he expected it to be. “No one in their right mind would do it.”

Yet, if it hadn’t been for his ignorance, Nvidia wouldn’t be where it is today.

When looking at the broader startup landscape, he emphasised that this ignorance, or rather, the lack of full awareness of the difficulties ahead, is a vital quality for all founders striving to propel their startups to success.

I think that’s kind of the superpower of an entrepreneur. They don’t know how hard it is. And they only ask themselves: ‘How hard can it be?’ To this day, I trick my brain into thinking: ‘How hard can it be?’

– Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang in an interview on the Acquired podcast

Featured Image Credit: TheStreet /Shutterstock /Slaven Vlasic /Stringer /Getty Images

Subscribe to our newsletter

Stay updated with Vulcan Post weekly curated news and updates.


Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)

Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)