It was amazing to me that Henry Nicholas, co-founder of Broadcom, has a $30 million sex cave under his house, and prostitutes on his payroll, and smoked so much marijuana that the pilot of a private jet had to wear an oxygen mask.
When I met Nicholas I was well impressed. Here was this distinguished-looking American looking exactly like the hero of a Western movie, you know the tall lean American Westerner doing his own thing in his own way.
He was terrifically courteous to me, and extremely patient explaining the things Broadcom was doing with that luminous type of intelligence that meant he could convey complicated ideas quite simply.
I left thinking what a heck of a guy. The fact that success has claimed another victim is really sad.
But I suppose the encouraging thing is that it’s relatively rare for people in the high-tech world to become victims of success.
When you think of all the people who make fortunes, there aren’t many who have gone completely off the rails, and most of them take it very much in their stride.
A remember one guy who had done the Silicon Valley route, co-founded a couple of companies, made a $300 million fortune and become a venture capitalist. I’d first met him as a salesman, happy to while away a rainy London afternoon in a Fleet Street bar.
Our last meeting was in Sand Hills Road in the plushiest office block I’d ever seen, and I asked him what having $300 million was like, and he looked really surprised: “That’s not much in this part of the world”, he said, “there’s plenty of people round here with a lot more than $300 million”.
Gosh, I thought, he doesn’t even see himself as exceptional. I only hope he can only keep it that way.
Triumph and Disaster are a pair of impostors which should be treated with the disdain they deserve.
Good luck Dr Nicholas.