Hit Refresh: A Memoir by Microsoft’s CEO (英语) 精装 – 2017年9月26日
‘With every new technology, there are challenges. How do we help people whose jobs are replaced by AI agents and robots? Will users trust their AI agent with all their information? If an agent could advise you on your work style, would you want it to? That is what makes books like Hit Refresh so valuable. Satya has charted a course for making the most of the opportunities created by technology while also facing up to the hard questions. And he offers his own fascinating personal story, more literary quotations than you might expect, and even a few lessons from his beloved game of cricket’ Bill Gates
Satya Nadella is a husband, a father, and the chief executive officer of Microsoft – only the third in the company’s forty-year history. On his twenty-first birthday, Nadella emigrated from Hyderabad, India, to the United States to pursue a master’s degree in computer science. He joined Microsoft in 1992. As much a humanist as a technologist, Nadella defines his mission and that of the company he leads as empowering every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.
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In his 2017 book, “Hit Refresh,” Satya Nadella, Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft, provides detailed outlines and on-going steps for how he answered the challenges when he was named the third CEO in the company’s history following Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer.
Through nine chapters and a postscript he presents the Microsoft situation he initially inherited, how he pursued cultural and business changes and, finally, where he sees the future for not only Microsoft but also “big change” technology headed.
During the first three chapters Nadella recounts his background, early experiences in technology and working at Microsoft. Make no mistake: despite his modesty and understatement, Nadella is clearly a talented and exceptional person.
During the middle chapters he describes the need to rethink the future and goals for the company with specific insights that managers might find helpful:
• “Obsess about customers… and meet a customer’s unarticulated and unmet needs with great technology.”
• “Actively seek diversity and inclusion.”
• “We are one company… not a confederation of fiefdoms…have to learn to transcend those barriers.”
The author has shown his willingness to embrace change by forging new partnerships with companies long-viewed as arch rivals such as Red Hat and Apple and acquiring new platforms promising growth opportunities such as Linked-In.
Nadella offers his perspective on principles for leadership:
• “Bring clarity to those you work with.”
• “Generate energy, not only on (your) own terms but across the company.”
• “Find a way to deliver success, to make things happen.”
During the last chapters the author focuses on three technologies that lead to massive shifts in the economy and society: mixed reality, artificial intelligence and quantum computing. The first changes how people interface with computing and the digital world by increasing the experiential nature of the specific task.
The second, Nadella sees as augmenting human capabilities with analyses leading to insights and predictive power achieved far more rapidly than people working on their own. He does caution later adapting to this technology requires major changes in the educational system to prepare today’ students to be the managers and developers of tomorrow.
Finally, while still experimental, quantum computing will give rise to rapid growth in computing power and speed so that complex calculations once thought beyond reach can be achieved, If you want more insights, read my Amazon review of Scientific American’s 2016 collection, “Ultimate Physics” (here’s the link: https://www.amazon.com/review/R2L9R6OLCSFQUM/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8)
At the end of the book Nadella reprises a theme he sees as a core value in creating successful relationships for employees, managers, partners and people in general: the importance of education and empathy. Education as an essential road to understanding and using new technology so that a knowledge gap does not create further displacement in society.
Empathy is critical for leaders and managers to understand others, their motives, wants and needs. And something that seems to be in short supply at this time.
While some of these aspects were occasionally true, I've seen a sea change the last few years. Microsoft is now the company willing to take risks. They're willing to listen. They may not execute exactly as customers want, particularly at first, but they iterate fast and often. They're not as interested in milking the cash cow.
The cultural turnaround is shocking... and welcome. Enterprises take on the culture of their leaders, and Satya has clearly left an empathetic, but thoughtful impact on his employees. It's a bit early to call if this will be a success - Ballmer and Gates were arguably successes despite their hardnosed attitudes. However, if he succeeds (and so far he's doing well) it will be a great case study on how to lead in business while still being a good person.
My overall takeaway from the book:
- Pay attention to the tech trends --Quantum computing, AI, A/R and V/R
- The future will require deep empathy and strong organizational cultures
- Multi-national companies in a global economy need to invest in a sustainable social contract in the markets they serve
In the same realm, Thomas Friedman's, "Thank You for Being Late" covers the same general ground and is much more compelling and insightful.
So, I was very much interested in this book to get more information on how this transformation is taking place. Those who were following Satya and e.g. his speeches on opening keynotes of Microsoft events will certainly recognize his style of presenting the information - humble, honest but inspiring. The book tells you three transformation stories: how Satya relocated to US, how he managed to develop himself to Microsoft CEO within 20 years and finally - how current transformation takes place in corporation.
This is not memories' of the past - for those type of books only the past events are described. The book has its thrill and value exactly because the author puts reader in today's present environment, without knowing the final outcome, and trying to guess together what will be the future. This book is about making the future. If you want to be little closer to the understanding of future, this book is for you.