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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says firm needs to 'reinvent itself' to succeed

Also tells of working with Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates
Fri Feb 21 2014, 11:42

RECENTLY APPOINTED Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that the company needs to reinvent itself to succeed, speaking in his first interview since taking over from Steve Ballmer.

Nadella gave his first interview as CEO of Microsoft to the New York Times, and despite having been named as head of the firm just two weeks ago, he didn't hold back.

When asked how he will approach his new role as Microsoft CEO, Nadella said that it's all about innovation, adding that the firm's past success doesn't guarantee a successful future.

Nadella said, "Longevity in this business is about being able to reinvent yourself or invent the future. In our case, given 39 years of success, it's more about reinvention. We've had great successes, but our future is not about our past success. It's going to be about whether we will invent things that are really going to drive our future.

"For us to be a 100 year old company where people find deep meaning at work, that's the quest."

Having worked at Microsoft for some 22 years, Nadella also offered insights about what it was like working with Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates.

He apparently learned several lessons from Ballmer, the most important being "to stay grounded, and to be brutally honest with yourself on where you stand".

Gates, on the other hand, wasn't so forthcoming. While Nadella explained that he has a great relationship with the Microsoft founder, we get the impression that he is also a bit scared of him.

Nadella said, "Bill is the most analytically rigorous person. He's always very well prepared, and in the first five seconds of a meeting he'll find some logical flaw in something I've shown him. I'll wonder, how can it be that I pour in all this energy and still I didn't see something? In the beginning, I used to say, 'I'm really intimidated by him.' But he's actually quite grounded.

"You can push back on him. He'll argue with you vigorously for a couple of minutes, and then he'll be the first person to say, 'Oh, you're right.' Both Bill and Steve share this. They pressure test you. They test your conviction."

Check out out top 10 tips for Satya Nadella as Microsoft CEO. µ


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