Satya Nadella and a CEO’s job

I just watched a 10 minute interview with Satya Nadella (CEO of Microsoft — have you heard of it?) on The Verge, I suggest you watch it too:

When Satya started a year and a half ago I got the sense Microsofts is changing. And it has; quite a bit. This video gives some hints as to what it means for a company to get a new CEO. The impact it can have.

Nilay Patel (of the Verge) asks Satya “Why does Microsoft exist?” I like the WHY question. Satya answers (and I’m paraphrasing): Microsoft exists to build tools that allow other people to do their work — to innovate, to move ahead. Yes, this can be perceived as wishy washy vague language — and these WHYs need to be turned into concrete HOWs and WHATs — but it’s good to hear Microsoft still has a purpose now that there’s a computer on every desk. And this purpose is different that e.g. Apple’s purpose, so we can expect different results (although it’s pretty obvious Microsoft is borrowing a lot from Apple lately. Microsoft stores anybody?).

Satya is also asked what his job as a CEO really means. Satya says his job is to “curate the culture” and “set the tone of the company.” I think he’s exactly right. He decides, or at least influences the direction, the culture and focus. One thing he mentioned he changed is a switch of focus in metrics. Microsoft today focuses less on the revenue metric and more on the NPS (Net Promoter Score — a metric to measure customer satistfaction, “would you buy again, would you recommend?”) and such ostensibly small changes can make a huge difference.

Anyway, I said this before and I still say this today: Microsoft is not a done deal. Microsoft will rise again.

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