When the juice ain’t worth the squeeze

His cousin was killed in an act of retribution.

He then had to kill his own consigliere.

His mom disowned him.

And his lover left him.

There’s a steep cost to being the #1 kingpin.

There’s a cost to being The Top Boy.

In a moment of reflection, Dushane asked:

“Is the juice worth the squeeze?”

You know who else ain’t feeling the squeeze these days?

AI-chipmaking powerhouse’s founder, Jensen Huang.

The Trillion Dollar Club

Huang’s company Nvidia cracked the Trillion Dollar Club this year.

Yup, the same video card maker that powered your PCs in the 90s so that you could play Doom at high-resolution got a second wind in 2023.

In this AI gold rush, Nvidia sells the picks and shovels – making it now the 6th most valuable company in the world.

And at the age of 60, Huang is now worth $42 Billion!

So is the juice worth the squeeze?

Quite simply, no.

On a recent episode of The Acquired Podcast Huang confessed that “building Nvidia turned out to have been a million times harder than I expected.” He continues:

“If we realized the pain and suffering and how vulnerable you’re going to feel, the challenges that you’re going to endure, the embarrassment and the shame and the list of all the things that go wrong nobody in their right mind would do it.”

Over Huang’s three decade reign at Nvidia, he’s had to lay off 50% of the workforce. He teetered on the edge of bankruptcy. And between 2008 and 2013, when the S&P 500 was up 25% – Nvidia was down 50%.

Even today, he has 50 direct reports and is navigating tight US export regulations and the increased competition from everyone trying to get in on that sweet AI action.

What’s his secret?

There’s something that makes entrepreneurs tick.

I never fully understood it until I became one myself.

“Entrepreneurs have one or two screws loose,” I often tell people.

If you don’t agree, just check out the statistics.

50% of startups don’t make past Year 5.

And of those that do make it, only one-third make it to Year 10.

If you were an oddsmaker, you’d play it safe at your corporate role, collecting a paycheck, 401k matching and ample healthcare benefits.

But herein lies Huang’s strength: ignorance.

“I think that’s kind of the superpower of an entrepreneur. They don’t know how hard it is. And they only ask themselves: How hard can it be? To this day, I trick my brain into thinking: How hard can it be?”

Knowing what he knows, would Huang do it again?

Absolutely not.

What’s your pressed juice?

We all have our versions of the juice not being worth the squeeze.

Credit card hacking. Backdoor IRAs. Taking a redeye.

And according to this reddit tread, becoming a Managing Director in Investment Banking:

The bankers who are still there after 20 years and are in their early 40s, look like they’re in their 60s.

What juice ain’t worth it for you?


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