Nvidia CEO reveals, in the age of AI, why you should not wear a watch

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang recently attended the Chinese American Semiconductor Professional Association (CASPA), where he also participated in a Q&A session and took questions from young professionals over a wide range of topics. Huang spoke about the age of AI, the right way to progress in your career in modern times, and why he does not wear a watch. He also spent time highlighting his own career and how he climbed to the position of the CEO of Nvidia. 

At present, Huang is the longest-serving CEO of a tech firm, holding the Nvidia chief position since 1993 (31 years). At the CASPA session, he was asked for advice for young professionals in a dynamic and fast-changing world of AI. For the 60-year-old CEO, this opened up a pandora’s box, as he explained how his own career panned out and what helped him climb the ladder of success. He also gave one crucial tip for young professionals, and explained why he does not wear watches and neither should they.

Jensen Huang advises young professionals

Answering the question, he said, “My first job was at Denny’s and I climbed the corporate ladder at Denny’s. I started as a dish washer, then I was promoted to busboy, and then I was promoted to waiter. And if I was still there, I would be the CEO of Denny’s today”. For the unaware, Denny’s is an American table service diner-style restaurant chain.

“My second job was at AMD and I loved AMD. When I was there, I worked there for two years and loved it. And then I went to LSI Logic and I loved my job there. If not for my colleagues convincing me to leave the company, I would be there today”.

If you feel like Huang is not answering the question, you’d be mistaken. He explains, “What I mean to say is actually this: I loved every job that I had including washing dishes and cleaning the bathrooms. Nobody cleaned bathrooms better than I did. And nobody washes dishes more effectively than I did”. 

He explained his reason for not wearing a watch as well. He said, “Very few people know this but I do not wear a watch. And the reason I don’t wear watches is because now is the most important time. Just dedicate yourself to now”.

He also recalled the best advice he ever received in life. Huang said he got it from a gardener in Kyoto, Japan who was working at Saiho-ji temple, commonly known as Kokedera, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its moss collection. The Nvidia CEO visited the shrine on a hot and humid day where he saw the gardener trimming the moss with a small bamboo tweezer. Upon being asked how he managed to take care of such a big garden with small tweezers, the gardener replied “I have plenty of time”.

Huang believes this is the best career advice anyone can have in life. “Most of the time, I wait for things to come to me. I’m rarely chasing things. I don’t have a watch, so I’m focused on the now. I’m enjoying my job and I’m the longest-running tech CEO in the world, as you know”. 

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