The art of facing opportunities: Jensen Huang's (Nvidia) speech at Caltech

Be sure to watch Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang's speech at the Caltech 2024 graduation ceremony. It had the same impact on me as Steve Jobs' speech at Stanford and I want to do a reading here.

Humanity in technology

The first thing I would like to emphasize is the authenticity and humanity Jensen Huang stamped on his speech. It was not an overwhelming technical talk or a boast of corporate successes, but a direct and personal invitation to the graduates to face the challenges of our era and take advantage of the opportunities offered by artificial intelligence. It reminded me very much of how Jobs, at Stanford in 2005, connected with young people through his personal experience and the hard lessons he had learned.

In both speeches, what stands out is the human connection. Both leaders, from their respective contexts, reminded us that at the core of all innovation and business success is resilience, curiosity and the ability to learn from failure.

Nvidia's Journey: From Graphics to AI

Huang began his speech by recounting Nvidia's history and how the company has grown from a graphics card giant to a leader in artificial intelligence. What is most notable here? The organization's ability to pivot, adapt and lead a new technology revolution.

It is a testament to the power of vision and tenacity. It reminds me of my downfalls in entrepreneurship, where I have had to adapt to changes in technology and the marketplace. The story of Nvidia is inspiring because it shows that no matter how established or successful you are in an area, there is always room to grow and evolve.

The "run and don't walk" culture

A quote from Huang that resonated deeply with me was:

In this revolution, you have to run, not walk.

Jensen Huang

This phrase perfectly encapsulates the frenetic pace and urgency imposed by the AI revolution. As a strategic consultant, I see this urgency reflected in the speed at which the technology market moves. New technologies emerge every day, and those that do not adapt quickly will become obsolete.

The comparison here with Jobs is inevitable. In his Stanford speech, Jobs talked about "connecting the dots." While Jobs emphasized the importance of hindsight and reliance on process, Huang urges us to keep constantly moving, to not stop. Both approaches are valuable in their own contexts, but it is fascinating to see how the dynamics of technology leadership have evolved over time.

Innovation and resilience

The other major theme in Huang's speech was resilience. He spoke of the difficulties he and his company have faced and how these trials have made them stronger. This message is universal. Regardless of what industry we are in, we all face challenges. What matters is how we respond to them.

As a creative and entrepreneur, I have experienced this firsthand. Innovation is not a straight and easy path. It is full of failures, iterations and constant learning. The key is to not give up and keep moving forward. Resilience not only keeps you in the game, but also allows you to innovate and discover new opportunities.

Nvidia vs Apple

To contextualize the impact of these two companies, it is useful to look at their stock market valuation. At the time of writing, Apple has a market capitalization in excess of $2 billion, while Nvidia stands at around $1.2 billion. This gap may seem significant, but what is impressive is how Nvidia has scaled to these heights, especially in a field as competitive and constantly evolving as AI.

The key difference here is focus. While Apple has built a robust and diversified ecosystem based on hardware and services, Nvidia has dominated the graphics processing and cloud computing niche, expanding aggressively into AI and machine learning. Both approaches are valid and show how different strategies can lead to monumental success.

The future of AI and education

Huang also addressed the responsibility these new graduates have in the advancement of artificial intelligence. This is not only a call to action to develop new technologies, but also a warning about the ethical and responsible use of these technologies.