The CEO of Nvidia, Jensen Huang, has announced that Nvidia won’t be laying off any of its employees or asking them to accept pay cuts as a result of the coronavirus epidemic. Far from it. The company is giving raises to all of its employees to provide additional financial security during this crisis. The full letter is available here.
In response to the falling economy, we announced that we are pulling in our annual review process. Immediately I received questions about whether we are also planning a layoff. NO — precisely the opposite. We are accelerating your raise to put some extra money in your hands. We can put tens of millions more dollars in the hands of our families in the coming months.
There is no layoff. The work we do in graphics, science, AI, and robotics is more vital to the future than ever.
Later in the letter, Jensen promised that both he and Nvidia would match charitable donations up to $2,500, for a $10,000 donation in total.
This is the kind of attitude we’d like to see more companies taking, especially with regard to their employees. While many companies cannot afford to take such measures, similar action on the part of those that can would help alleviate the tremendous financial pressure the Great Cessation has caused.
Nvidia, to be fair, is in a much better position than many of the companies across America. Sales of office equipment and computers have spiked since the epidemic began, as people bought hardware to enable them to work from home. It’s entirely possible that more computing power has now been spent analyzing the SARS-CoV-2 virus than has been spent on any other single workload, ever. It’s not clear how much of this data will ultimately prove useful, but the experience of pivoting so much computational power to the study of a single topic in such a short time certainly will.
Nvidia’s attitude towards this crisis is the one we need more companies to adopt. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to live in an actual, genuine, “unprecedented event,” this is it. The modern, globally connected world has never dealt with a pandemic. Nations have never shut down large parts of their economies en masse. The modern world has never dealt with a pandemic. There are no “precedented” situations to refer back to. The 1918-1919 Spanish flu pandemic is a useful touchstone with some important and still-relevant lessons, but the amount of global trade in 1919 was a fraction of today’s, and modern supply chains flow across international borders in ways that have no historical analog.