The ancient Greek Stoic philosopher Epictetus, who went from being a Roman slave to becoming a famous scientist, once remarked: “A person worries less about real problems than about his imaginary worries about real problems.” At this year’s New York Times Dealbook Summit, a series of interviews with top executives, Jensen Huang spoke about his phobia: “I don’t think people are trying to put me out of business – I’m sure of that. I live in conditions in which we are partly desperate, partly ambitious.”
Since NVIDIA has the sixth-largest market cap in the world at $1.155 trillion and has more than doubled in the last three years, NVIDIA is unlikely to go bankrupt overnight. Huang founded the graphics giant in 1993 with Chris Malachowsky, now senior vice president of engineering and operations at NVIDIA, and Curtis Priem, and has led the company ever since.
“I like living in a state where we will die”“says Huang, explaining that such circumstances spur him on and encourage him to make every effort to achieve his goals. Given NVIDIA’s dominance in the GPU and AI industries, it’s possible that Jensen’s comments like this are just marketing hyperbole or that he’s actually suffering from imposter syndrome. The latter is a psychological state in which a person does not believe their achievements are deserved or tends to devalue their own successes. Scientists say that every two out of five successful people on Earth are susceptible to this syndrome, which is not considered a disease. Even Albert Einstein complained about it “The emphasis on respect that surrounds my life’s work makes me feel out of place. I can’t help but feel like a fraud.”
In the same interview, Huang expressed his thoughts on the prospects of full independence for the US semiconductor industry: “Complete supply chain independence will not be a realistic practical goal for a decade or two.” Jensen explained that some NVIDIA systems use up to 32,000 parts. Dozens of companies around the world are engaged in the production of graphics processors, circuit boards, memory chips, electronic components, radiators, fans and other components.