Fortune businessperson of the year: Nvidia's Huang
NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang delivers a speech about AI and gaming during the Computex Taipei exhibition. Photo: Chiang Ying-ying / AP
FORTUNE Businessperson of the Year is Jensen Huang, co-founder and CEO of chip maker Nvidia, based in Santa Clara:
Huang on why he started Nvidia:
"We ... observed that video games were simultaneously one of the most computationally challenging problems and would have incredibly high sales volume. ... Video games was our killer app — a flywheel to reach large markets funding huge R&D to solve massive computational problems."
- Huang, born in Taiwan, is "the rare cofounder still running his company 24 years later. He ... foresaw a blossoming market for a new kind of computing early enough to reposition his company years in advance."
- On the next billion-dollar opportunity: "The ability for artificial intelligence to write artificial intelligence by itself. ... We're seeing early indications of it now. Generative adversarial networks, or GAN. I think over the next several years we're going to see a lot of neural networks that develop neural networks.
- "For the next couple of decades, the greatest contribution of A.I. is writing software that humans simply can't write. Solving the unsolvable problems."
- On the company's name: "We couldn't think of one, so we named all of our files NV, as in 'next version.'" A need to incorporate the company prompted the cofounders to review all words with those two letters, leading them to "invidia," Latin for "envy."
FORTUNE's runner-ups: #2 Jamie Dimon (CEO, JPMorgan Chase) ... #3 Marc Benioff (CEO, Salesforce) ... #4 Jeff Bezos (CEO, Amazon) ... #5 Mary Dillon (CEO, Ulta Beauty) ... #6 Ajaypal "Ajay" Banga (CEO, Mastercard) ... #7 Huateng "Pony" Ma (CEO, Tencent Holdings) ... #8 Dan Schulman (CEO, PayPal) ... #9 Marillyn Hewson (CEO, Lockheed Martin) ... #10 Francisco D'Souza (CEO, Cognizant).