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Commencement Ceremony 2009 - Jen-Hsun Huang

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Well starting tomorrow work is the rest of your life. That's right. Ouch. Exactly. So my first wish is for you to find joy in work, find work that gives you great joy, or just follow love with whatever work you do. That's the only way you're going to do your best work. That's the only way you're going to do exquisite work. Instead of working for a living, think of it as your life's work. I wish for you to love your work as much as I've loved my work. Lori. My kids. My family. The nearly 6000 employees at Nvidia. And everybody I've ever worked with in the computer industry knows, I love my work. Nvidia is my life's work. One that I'm passionate about. And one that I'm giving my very best to make as great as possible. So my first wish to you is the same. That I wish you find joy in your work My second wish for you is to learn to embrace failure. I've just said two contrary words: work and failure. We've been taught all of our lives to not be a failure. So why am I standing here wishing you embrace failing? Avoiding failure is not the same as achieving success. In fact, finding failure is a discovery of sorts. It's a discovery of yet another way how not to do something. Failure is often on the path to success, it was for Nvidia. Nvidia failed from the very beginning. We found fame early on as a failed start-up, that was surely to go out of business. You know every high-tech start-up has a fundamental technology that they thought they discovered. And the fundamental technology we founded the company on was a rendering technology called Forward Texture Mapping. It doesn't matter what it stands for, and it doesn't matter what it means. There were tens of 3-D graphics companies, huge established ones, like Silicon Graphics, to well-funded start-ups, like 3-D Effects, and we were the only company to use this approach. We did it for logical reasons. We believed in what we believe. Well, our approach was flawed. Inverse, which is the exact opposite, rather than forward, was the better solution. We were just wrong. After two years and millions of dollars later we had to change our course. We failed. Now how could anything good come from being completely wrong, from being a complete failure? Well it turns out, because we were so different and didn't work with standards we had to evangelize our unique architecture directly to software developers game developers. And in working with the game creators we adopted their sensibility. That technology matters, but it's really about fun and beautiful imageries. We learned that we were not just a chip or a technology company. Nvidia was really a company at the intersection of technology and art. So even after we changed course and became the world's last among many 3-D companies all using inverse texture mapping, we retained that sensibility that games is an art-form. And that we need to create technologies that allow the game developers to artistically express their imagination. And that purpose wasn't just to build chip but to create an experience that was magical and delightful. This perspective led to fundamental differences in how we approached our work, to many inventions that changed the computer industry altogether. Today, Nvidia is the largest and the only dedicated visual computing company in the world, the most successful computer graphics company in history, and that sensibility permeates our company to this day. It all started because we chose the wrong technology, because we failed. So my second wish to you is embrace failure. My last wish to you is to see the world like a child. You know, certainly after all this education we've been told to grow up, grow up I'm giving you yet another contrarian advice, another wish to see the world like a child, to see the world without preconceived notions, and prejudice. The world is complex. You're going to go into a complicated world, sometimes rather cynical. We are surrounded by conventional wisdom dictating what works and what doesn't. It is true most ideas simply won't work. We created one that didn't. So you must rigorously test your ideas against first principles, and those first principles have been taught here. But then believe in what you believe. If up to all the customers, industry analysts, other companies in the computer industry, Nvidia shouldn't even be here today. We were already dead last among many. The world surely didn't need yet another PC graphics company, and the space was littered with tens of competitors leap-frogging each other every month. All of the conventional wisdom was true historically, but we believed completely irrelevant to the future we saw. We believed that computer graphics was to become a massive opportunity as computing devices and displays proliferate everywhere and surround us, that the visual experience will become central to how we use computers, that generating realistic images on a computer was incredibly hard and offered years of innovation, and that great graphics will come to define future computers. We were young, naive, idealistic, we didn't know what we didn't know about building the industry and about building our company. We didn't know that it was impossible. We just imagined how great it would be if computers would do what we imagined. Our fresh and innocent perspective, unencumbered by conventional wisdom allowed us to see what thirty, forty, fifty other companies could not and did not. To this day we challenge conventional wisdom with the same innocence. I wish you my third: to see the world like a child. Those are my three wishes to you: to fall in love to enjoy failure, and to challenge conventional wisdom by seeing the world like a child. I hope these wishes come true for you as it has for me. I hope you live a life of hopes and bravely pursue these hopes your entire life. Congratulations Class of 2009.

Video Details

Duration: 7 minutes and 31 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Genre: None
Views: 141
Posted by: umarket on Sep 2, 2009

Keynote speech at the 2009 Oregon State University commencement ceremony. Co-Founder, President & CEO of nVIDIA graphics Jen-Hsun Huang talked about his experiences after leaving OSU and gave advice to graduating seniors.

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