Data Sheet—Nvidia’s CEO Is Just Getting Started at the Firm He Co-Founded 24 Years Ago
Silicon Valley tends to fall in love with the new new thing. Chip maker Nvidia is the new old thing, an overnight success story years in the making that is having its moment and then some.
As Fortune’s Andrew Nusca says in his finely crafted cover story in the new issue of the magazine, you can be forgiven for not having heard of Nvidia. Its chips for years have gone into the guts of gaming devices to make their animations comes to life. Now Nvidia’s chips are powering artificial intelligence for use in applications like self-driving cars. As Nusca writes, “its GPUs, or ‘graphics processing units,’ crunch the complex calculations necessary for cryptocurrency markets, so-called deep neural networks, and the visual fireworks you see on the big screen. The same technology that makes brutally realistic shooter games come alive helps self-driving cars take an “S” curve without assistance—enabling computers to see, hear, understand, and learn.”
As is often the case, there’s a resident visionary at Nvidia. His name is Jensen Huang, Nvidia’s CEO. For his accomplishments leading Nvidia to a market value of $125 billion and repositioning his company ahead of the AI craze, Fortune has named Huang its Businessperson of the Year.
You won’t be disappointed with Huang’s heroic entrepreneur’s tale, from starting Nvidia with an idea and a small amount of cash to leading an industry.
Less neutral. Federal regulators are moving forward with plans to gut their 2015 net neutrality rules. Trump-appointed Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai will release his proposal next week for a vote in December. Likely to be approved by the Republican majority at the agency, Pai’s plan is expected to lift the ban on Internet service providers slowing, blocking, or discriminating against online content.
Unverified. Twitter is removing its much-coveted “verified” status of users who post racist and hateful material, the company said Wednesday. Several users, including Jason Kessler, who helped organize a high-profile white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, and white supremacist Richard Spencer, have already complained on Twitter about their losing their blue check marks.
On the come back trail. Networking equipment giant Cisco Systems is still on the mend, but doing a little better than Wall Street expected. Revenue in Cisco’s most recent quarter declined 2% from last year to $12.1 billion, its eighth consecutive drop, but the company said it expects growth of up to 3% next quarter. “We’re seeing the benefit of this transformation we have been going through the last couple of years,” CFO Kelly Kramer tells Barron’s. The stock, which has had some highs and lows this year but was up 13% as of Wednesday, gained another 6% in premarket trading.
Virtual money. Payments processor Square is dabbling in digital currencies. The company said on Wednesday that it was experimenting with allowing users to buy and sell bitcoin via its Cash mobile app. On Thursday, American Express horned in, saying it would partner with startup Ripple to use blockchain tech for moving some international payments between the United States and Britain.
Monoculture. The November edition of the 500 fastest super computers in the world, handily known as the TOP500 Supercomputer list, is out this week with an important milestone. Two Chinese computers that ran IBM’s AIX software dropped off the list, meaning all 500 of the entries now run Linux, almost 20 years after the first Linux supercomputer made its debut.
Cheaper by the dozen. Amazon’s new grocery subsidiary, Whole Foods, says it is cutting prices again, this time with a focus on your holiday shopping list. Organic turkeys are down to $3.49 a pound. But this round of price cuts is even deeper for Prime members. They pay only $2.99 for the more natural bird.
Oof. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway did not sell all of its stake in IBM, as I wrote in yesterday’s newsletter, but cut its holding by one third.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Looking for new avenues of growth, crowdfunding site Kickstarter is expanding into subscriptions. Its new Drip service will help content creators collect recurring payments for their work, be it a serialized novel, occasional poems, or even a daily newsletter. Ben Popper at The Verge takes a deep dive into the state of Kickstarter, the rationale for the latest expansion and the perhaps controversial decision to avoid lock-in for creators who sign up for Drip.
“If we were in a revenue-maximizing situation, this would not be the smartest decision,” said Jamie Wilkinson, Kickstarter’s new chief product officer. “But from the perspective of supporting creators, it’s a no-brainer.” Wilkinson, who was previously CEO at VHX, says he took the job in large part because of how mission-centric Kickstarter is. “I know how to trick people into being daily active users. There is so much brain power in Silicon Valley being dedicated to juicing the numbers without creating real value in the world,” he told me. “Kickstarter has built a self-sustaining business and a household brand. What are we going to do with this? It’s a moral obligation to do more than just jack up revenue.”
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
With Star Wars Battlefront II, Disney and EA May Have a Gambling Problem By John Patrick Pullen
Google’s Job Search Tool Now Lets You See Salary Information By Jonathan Vanian
Microsoft Xbox One X Review: Everything You Need to Know By Don Reisinger
Not Even Pokemon Costumes Can Fool Amazon’s Cashier-Free Store By Don Reisinger
Venture Capitalist Challenges His Peers to Not Be ‘F**king Scumbags’ By Polina Marinova
BEFORE YOU GO
Worried that we’re destroying our home planet? Astronomers just found a new planet called Ross 128 b that could possibly sustain life and it’s just 11 light years away. But my colleague Chris Morris has a few reasons you might not want to jump in a rocket ship right just yet.