Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Book Review - Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft's Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone by Satya Nadella

Nearing the end of Hit Refresh by Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft.  I don’t generally like Microsoft, and didn’t expect to like this, I grabbed it mostly because I hadn’t done much business/tech reading lately.  I’m very happy to report I’m enjoying it very much.  Gone are the days of “Microsoft Over All” and crushing the competition through all means necessary.  This guy’s all about “Here’s the mistakes we made, we know that.  Here’s how we’re trying to fix things.  Past rivals are now partners because the end goal should be benefit to the consumer (somebody tell that to Google and Amazon fighting over YouTube), and companies should work to find common ground, not fight it out in the courtroom.

He comes off as much more likable than you might think, readily owning up to sometimes big mistakes - like when he very publicly said that women should not ask for a raise but rather put their faith in the system.  (https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/oct/10/microsoft-ceo-satya-nadella-women-dont-ask-for-a-raise)

Or how buying Nokia seemed like a good idea at the time, promptly got them sued by Samsung, and ended up as a giant write off anyway.

I don’t think Microsoft will ever again be the power they were in the 80's and 90's, and I’m ok with that.  It makes it easier to pay attention to what they’re doing in technology and innovation without worrying about whether they will cheat their way to the top through any means necessary.  If it should happen that their tech really does float to the top on its own merits, maybe all the old hatchets will indeed be buried.  After all, it was under this guy that you started seeing “Microsoft Loves Linux” marketing, and Microsoft apps running on iPhones.

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