Satya Nadella as a refounder to Microsoft

  • Satya Nadella when came in was confused about how to position himself. To be clear what he can bring to the table to a global organisation with superstar founders. 
  • He applied the first principle thinking to relook at some of the assumptions underlying the business model and ways of working at Microsoft. 

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Who are 'refounders' and what do they bring to the table?

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  • Recent acquisitions of Microsoft has been focused on building capacity and infrastructure in areas where they lacked. 
  • Microsoft has been traditionally weak in the building of communities of its users as compared to other tech giants like Facebook, google or apple. 
  • Hence Nadella's interest in acquiring Linkedin, Github and Minecraft has been aimed at that. 
  • Moving away from the advocates of monopoly in previous decades, Microsoft has learned to embrace the power of communities through its collaboration with the OpenAI movement.

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  • The morale of the business team of 'Bing' the search engine was down because it was a loss-making business. However, Nadella sensed an opportunity. 
  • He looked at the world-class talent and resources at bing and figured that the same resources could be used at developing similar features for cloud offerings. 
  • He brought both teams together and worked jointly to create market-leading products in the domain of the cloud. 

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  • Empathy at the core business. He believed understanding customer unmet and uninformed needs required high levels of empathy. The thought the same levels of empathy need to be extended internally to employees as well. This helped Microsoft to transform from a metric-based, process-based organisation to a more humane one. 
  • He saw performance not as a zero-sum game but a win-win situation for everyone. Thus having a performance management system based on a forced ranking of employees didn't make much sense to him. The overhaul of the same led to the improvement of Microsoft culture. 

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