Jensen Huang's 14-hour days and workaholic lifestyle helped him turn Nvidia into a $3 trillion company

Running a $3 trillion company involves early starts, as evidenced by Jensen Huang. The Nvidia founder and CEO has mentioned waking up at 6 a.m. Huang, who is among the longest-serving tech CEOs, begins his day with exercise before diving into a 14-hour workday, according to The Financial Times. Bloomberg's Billionaires Index lists him as the world's 13th richest individual, with an estimated net worth of $106 billion, a $62 billion increase since the year's start. Despite his wealth, Huang noted at last year's New York Times DealBook Summit, "I don't wake up proud and confident — I wake up worried and concerned," reflecting on Nvidia's near-bankruptcy in the late 1990s, a memory that lingers. Nvidia recently achieved a $3 trillion valuation, joining Microsoft and Apple, driven by the demand for its AI-critical chips.

Huang maintains high standards, describing himself as "demanding, perfectionist, not easy to work for," in a recent "60 Minutes" interview. At 61, Huang shows no signs of slowing down and isn't averse to hard work. Nicolai Tangen, CEO of Norges Bank Investment Management, recounted on the "20VC" podcast that Huang works every weekday and holiday, finding relaxation in his love for work [citation:1]. Huang said: "I work from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to bed. I work seven days a week. When I'm not working, I'm thinking about working, and when I'm working, I'm working. I sit through movies, but I don't remember them because I'm thinking about work". He believes that struggle and pain build character and are essential to achieving greatness [citation:1]. At Stripe's Sessions conference in April, Huang mentioned that happiness isn't constant in the best jobs and that suffering and struggle help appreciate achievements.

Huang connects with his employees by eating in the company cafeteria and spending significant time in various meetings, emphasizing communication as crucial to his role as the "custodian of the culture" [citation:1]. Unlike many big tech CEOs, he believes fostering culture can't be done through media but requires direct engagement [citation:1]. Known for his engaged leadership style, Huang has about 60 direct reports and encourages open communication within the company. He prefers not doing one-on-ones, finding it more effective to address everyone simultaneously for problem-solving and empowerment. Huang advocates for CEOs to have many direct reports to inspire and lead people to achieve greatness.

Sometimes, Huang clears his calendar to focus on long-term impactful areas, as he mentioned to Stanford University students in 2003. He believes in the discipline to control one's time and occasionally chooses not to sleep to gain more time. Huang enjoys spending time on product and strategy planning, an area of great interest to him. Nvidia declined to comment.

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