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What I Learned from HIT REFRESH​ by Microsoft’s Satya Nadella

I’m not much into reading books, but one book had been on my “to-read list” for quite some time. That was a book by the current CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella who happens to be a consummate insider of the company for more than last two decades.

What I liked the most about the book is that, unlike other autobiography-like books, it’s not about past successes or failures, rather it’s about the journey of a CEO while going through that journey. The following video is a brief trailer of the book:

Here’s a list of my takeaways from it:

  • Empathy makes you a better innovator.
  • A company’s corporate culture, is the single most-important factor of all.
  • If you want to serve the world, you’ve got to represent the world.
  • A learn-it-all always performs better in the long run than a know-it-all.
  • A leader’s job is sometimes to find rose petals in a field of shit.
  • There’s a growth mindset. And a fixed mindset. The former improves everything. The latter might work for some time, but will eventually fail.
  • Build partnerships before you need them. Be more open. Have a bigger mission statement. Learn more. Thus achieve more.

As a developer and a specialist on the Microsoft’s stack of technologies for over a decade, what inspires and excites me more than anything is the new-found “openness” of Microsoft. From Open-Source to Cross-Platform, from Linux to Android and iOS, the way Microsoft is allowing the programmers to build solutions that target every device on the planet is extremely empowering and thrilling. I’ve never been more happy to be a C#-first developer, now that it gives me the leverage to build whatever I want, for any form-factor, any domain, any platform and any device.

I’m really impressed by the leadership by SatNad though being a bit skeptic on him early on. But the way Microsoft has transformed itself, is an amazing story of revival and massive transformation within the company. The leadership certainly matters more than anything and the company culture pretty much defines the trajectory of any business.

A look-back at the Microsoft’s leadership timeline:

I sum it all up in the following three lines:

  1. The revolutionary & magical times under the legendary mastermind, Bill Gates.
  2. The stagnant & “closed” times under Steve Ballmer.
  3. The revival & “more opened” times under a learn-it-all visionary, Satya Nadella.

What do you think of the latest developments at the Microsoft and what do you think about my views on it, do let everybody know in the comments below.

And, as always, thanks for reading.

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