Satya Nadella (Microsoft CEO) on Leading Microsoft, Life and Career

Mar 2, 2018 -

Satya Nadella is the third CEO of Microsoft succeeding Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer. He was born in India to a father who worked in government. After majoring in electrical engineering, Satya eventually found his passion in computer science. His first job out of college was at Sun Microsystems, which has since been acquired by Oracle. His 22+ years of experience at Microsoft included running Bing (Microsoft’s search engine) and Microsoft’s cloud business. Here he shares his insight on Microsoft, life and career.
How do you succeed two legends like Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer as CEO? 
Steve and Bill gave Satya the advice to just be himself. During the interviews for CEO, Satya was asked in the boardroom if he wanted to be CEO. His response was that if the board wants him to be CEO then he will. Most people who want to be CEO are adamant about it. But, that is just how Satya is.
What was it like discovering his first child had cerebral palsy?
Satya remembered an hour before his wife delivered his first son, he was asking himself when his wife would be able to go back to work. Then when his first son was born and the doctors said he had cerebral palsy, everything changed. All of his initial plans were thrown in the air. The first two years, he wondered why this happened to his family. His wife’s motherly instincts kicked in and she put aside her job and focused on her son’s therapy. It was through time and seeing his wife care for his son that Satya began to understand how to see the light through his son’s eyes and embrace his duty as a father. He soon moved part of the family to Vancouver to give his son the best chance of therapy.
How did Amazon become the leader in cloud when Microsoft was in the space first?
Microsoft’s server business was growing in double digits and had high margins. Then there was this other thing called the cloud and that was at the time a low margin business. Why would Microsoft focus on the low margin business. The key to business is to be able to foresee secular trends before they become conventional wisdom. If you are unable to do that in technology it is especially unforgiving as such is the case with Microsoft and cloud.
What changes did Satya Nadella made since assuming the Microsoft CEO role?
Satya had seen all of Microsoft’s failures for the past twenty two plus years and all of its successes. He understands why they failed and why certain things succeeded. Although there was a way of management with Steve and Bill prior, his focus is on the future and not to criticize the past. Satya emphasized openness and working with his competition to help create expansive markets. In addition, it would also help satisfy customer’s needs. He set out to change the Microsoft culture into one that was continually learning and growth as inspired by the Carol Dweck’s Growth Mindset concept.
What motivates him to go to work on the daily?
The incredible sense of purpose in the company is what motivates him to come into the office each day.
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