Passion for Cricket, years in Hyderabad, initial reluctance and then working in IT are few commonalities which I share with the CEO of one of the great organisations this world has seen — Microsoft. That is not the only reason for writing this, but for the fact and the positive impact which Microsoft creates on people, is just exemplary. Whether through Office, Azure, Skype, Visual Studio, LinkedIn or hundred other products, Microsoft is one of the harbinger of IT. So, when head of this organisation — Satya Nadella writes something, it has to be acknowledged with all due respect. Yes, this is about his book — Hit Refresh.
To come from another country, join an established organisation and then become its only third CEO in 40 years history, is not a joke. Things get even more fascinating when the same shoes were worn by a legend — Bill Gates. Even without writing this book, his stature is huge, but the values and disciple which one should bring to work, gets accentuated, reading this journey.
The book covers his early days to becoming CEO and how his initial 3–4 years is bringing transformation to the company, which world looks upto. At many of the places he has used points/numbers to explain his thoughts, making it extremely intriguing for a reader. The best part of the book is the number of words which are beginning with C. At first I thought it was just my eyes playing with me, but the index given at the end of the book prove my observation — words with C occupy one and half pages — more than any other letter.
Possibly Satya got too much influenced and inspired by his predecessor — Steve Ballmer, who explained Satya during his early years — of three Cs in concentric rings — Concepts (ideas and imagination), Capabilities (skills) and Culture (to embrace everything).
C in CEO as per him is a ‘curator of Culture’, leader who has to ensure the movement from fixed mindset to growth mindset. Satya explains in great lengths about his personal involvement to change Microsoft culture. A company which thinks about customers unmet needs, where priority is for diversity and inclusion and where there are no confederation of fiefdoms i.e One Microsoft.
— Listen to people, bring change to the culture and thinking. Throw dogma outside the window. —
Cooperation and Competition
Instead of calling Apple, Google, Linux, Dell as competition, Satya refers them as smart and healthy partnerships. When motive is to create value, the idea of friend or frenemies is irrelevant, everything revolves mutual benefits and serving the customers. Getting Office to iOS and Android or standing on the stage which showed a slide — Microsoft loves Linux with a heart symbol in between, Satya not only changed the internal culture but conquered the challenges which are generally applicable in the competitive IT world.
— Envy is negative and outer-directed, not driven from within, and so I knew that it wouldn’t carry us very far down the path to true renewal —
Took some liberty as this C is not in the book, Satya has elucidated by mentioning this as Empathy. Possibly the biggest reason for this particular characteristic is his son, who has special needs. When at home, you have to be constantly reminded of understanding someone, think it will get transpired to other interactions and meetings.
— It is not bottom line growth, its about individual growth. Company can grow if everyone, individually grows in their roles and their lives. —
Man’s passion for Cricket is also well documented in the book, with bit of self proclaiming on his cricketing abilities, Satya has done great service to the sports. Though Cricket is more than 100 years old, but still its following is restricted to only few countries, that too from commonwealth. Considering this, probably the cricketing body i.e. ICC should give him some dollars for promoting Cricket to global audiences especially in US, he compared the sport with baseball to explain its nitty — gritty.
Being a passionate cricket follower, couldn’t agree more from the below analogy, which he wrote.
— Cricket for me is like a wondrous Russian novel with plots and subplots played out over the course of multiple acts. In the end, one brilliant knock, or three deftly bowled balls, can change the complexion of a game. —
In all fairness, more than anything, the book is about the biggest C of all, that is Computer and its associated technologies (Artificial Intelligence, Mixed Reality, Quantum Computing, Cloud, Cryptography and many others) that has impacted and will impact not only my life but Citizens across — ‘a Country, County, or Community’
— In a digital age, software acts as the universal input that can be produced in abundance and applied across both public and private sectors and every industry from agriculture to health care and manufacturing —
Cricket, as we all know is a Gentleman’s Game which brings individual skills, competitive spirits and attitude to the fore, which all works in tandem with your team. Microsoft, under this captain, has the attributes of hitting all the right shots to make this world, a better place.