I highly enjoyed Kai Ryssdal’s conversation with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on NPR’s “Corner Office from Marketplace” podcast.
On Microsoft’s mission in the world (hint: it’s not “a computer in every home and on every desk,” which is a goal, not a purpose) [22:33]:
We want to democratize the use of technology to create more technology.
[Interviewer, Kai Ryssdal: Tech right now is cool, you guys, you’re not necessarily the “coolest kids on the tech block.” Do you have to be cool to do what is you want to do at this company?]
Our mission is to make others cool. All we want to be is the tech they use.
The wide-ranging interview jumps between many topics from the purpose of technology, his wife and family, to attracting women to tech jobs by promoting diversity and being an inclusive company, to the immediate feedback he gets from employees via Skype emoji reactions during Town Halls.
The main point, hitting refresh — also the name of his new book (Goodreads) — highlights Microsoft’s shifting branding perception. A reframing away from “big, bad company” and how they’ll know if they get that right.
Ultimately there is no escaping the one true measure of what any company does: what do people who deal with us think? …The multiple constituencies, and what they think about Microsoft and our progress and innovation, is the only score that matters.
A highlight for me in the interview is how to recognize mistakes we make in order to push, think, and change. An example given for a recent Nadella mistake [25:55]:
In many cases customers have already chosen to work with you, and yet you, consciously or unconsciously, abandon them to go work off a new and shiny object… It’s tempting in tech to sometimes move on to the next thing. Except, we all need to work to help others move with us.
The last part of the interview hit home with me because of my leadership path at Automattic, where I’m striving to create a space where we can do our best work. “Describe your job for me in 5 words or less?” [33:05] Nadella says, “Curating culture.” 💯 🖥
Hat tip: Mike Levin.