Obscene wealth isn’t enough to justify the horrors of life as a tech startup founder

You gotta read this. It’s so so relatable.

Even obscene wealth isn’t enough to justify the horrors of life as a tech startup founder, according to the Bay Area’s Jensen Huang.

David Rosenthal gave Huang a hypothetical: “If you were magically 30 years old, again, today, in 2023, and you were going to Denny’s with your two best friends who are the two smartest people you know, and you’re talking about starting a company, what are you talking about starting?”

The question seemed aimed at generating inspiration for young founders, but the billionaire took it in an entirely different direction.

“I wouldn’t do it,” Huang responded, prompting a burst of surprised laughter from Rosenthal, before Huang shook his head and continued, “I know.” He added that building Nvidia was “a million times harder” than he or his co-founders expected it would be.

“At that time, if we realized the pain and suffering and just how vulnerable you’re gonna feel and the challenges that you’re gonna endure — the embarrassment and the shame, and you know, the list of all the things that go wrong — I don’t think anybody would start a company,” Huang said. “Nobody in their right mind would do it.”

He added that, to this day, he consciously tricks his brain into not thinking about how difficult it is to run his firm. (He didn’t go into specifics about what he finds toughest.) Rosenthal pointed out that the trick must be working, as it doesn’t seem like Huang is planning on retiring any time soon. 

Huang answered that he’s still enjoying himself, and adding “a little bit of value” to the company, but then doubled down on the struggle of the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. He didn’t mention the fact that said struggles have landed him among the richest cohort of people in history. His stake in Nvidia jumped $6.4 billion in value in one day in May.

“You have to get yourself to believe it’s not that hard, because it’s way harder than you think,” he said. “Taking all of my knowledge now, I go back and I said, ‘I’m gonna endure that whole journey again’ — I think it’s too much. It is just too much.”

Nvidia’s valuation passed the $1 trillion threshold in May. It’s a feat only matched by a handful of other companies and one that would, seemingly, make most of the business struggles feel worthwhile.

Source: sfgate.com.

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