23 things I learned in 23 years (at Microsoft)

Nope, it has nothing to do with the power of technology, the nature of large firms, or the fleeting definition of “modern.” Instead, I’ve captured the learnings that impact the human condition.

  1. Pursue opportunities even if just to have the option to turn them down.
  2. Sometimes mistakes are fortunate — and they don’t need correcting.
  3. There will always be people with greater financial means than you.
  4. It’s unbelievably satisfying to create something novel.
  5. You can’t always be the funny one. (I’m still not sure that’s true though.)
  6. There is real value in meaningful discourse and tough questioning.
  7. Don’t forget to be grateful and keep yo’self in check.
  8. Serious work can be fun.
  9. Just because you want to run faster, doesn’t mean that you can.
  10. There is always a way. (If the closest Monster ThickBurger is three states away — it doesn’t mean that you can’t get one.)
  11. A mentor with a terrible bedside manner can still be super effective.
  12. How do you know?” is the most important follow up question to “what are you good at?”
  13. Hire a team of people to do the things you can’t or won’t.
  14. There is no place for fear in the pursuit of your passions
  15. Life is about the story value.
  16. Being right isn’t (usually) enough.
  17. There is a good and bad in every role.
  18. A true professional partnership can extended well beyond the work accountabilities an into friendship, families, adventures, basic human wants and needs.
  19. There are many definitions of success, and success is subjective.
  20. Always heed the contrarian — if everyone is in agreement, you’re missing something. Find the other voice — or be it.
  21. Never let all the joy drain out of the day job.
  22. There is power in few words over many words, especially when they’re well-chosen words.
  23. It’s important to have good friends at work.