We all know how Microsoft as a behemoth of an organization has reinvented itself and is again viewed as a top-rated technology company. I had an opportunity to listen to Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft and Reid Hoffman, well known Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist at the Churchill Club (event on Oct 2nd). Ness Digital Engineering was a proud sponsor of the event.
Satya’s conversation was fascinating. As he shared his pearls of wisdom, I could draw parallels with how Microsoft’s strong cultural ethos are similar to Ness’s own culture on a much smaller scale. I am taking this opportunity to summarize my key take aways from this event which are applicable across any industries/organizations. I will also like to thank Mehul Jain, VP, YP.com who was at our table during the event and very correctly summarized some of the learnings which I am going to reflect on in this blog.
I will not narrate everything Satya talked about with Reid. However, I will pick a few key areas that were discussed that mirror to an extent how Ness operates and the similarities that I have seen between the two companies. One of these areas is the importance of “Hit Refresh” moments. IMHO, “Hit Refresh” is so crucial in our lives. Essentially, you don’t change everything about yourselves, but only those areas which need to be changed and that will have a positive impact.
Innovation or cultural changes in a large organization like Microsoft also requires such “Hit Refresh” moments. Allowing a company to evolve with the surroundings around it and to proactively respond to the changes can determine their level of success. Empathy, which allows each one of us to observe unmet and unarticulated needs of a customer fosters our corporate innovation.
Microsoft expressed these points during the event. These are very profound thoughts and I see a strong similarity in Ness’s culture. Ness as an organization prides in partnering with its customers through their ups and downs. We use our expertise to help them find their “Hit Refresh” moments – evolving and aspiring to do more through innovation, and empathy with customers’ evolving needs.
Another concept that was discussed was the CEO’s belief that longevity of an organization relies on ideas and innovation becoming successes. The internal culture of the organization builds the company to be what it becomes. In the case of Microsoft, customer obsession and empathy seems to have reinvented Microsoft to what it is today.
Leadership should adapt to a “learn it all” culture which allows the company to zone in on “What do I not know that I should know?” Again, this is a thoughtful culture which if adopted reflects and rubs off on every individual in an organization.
Satya’s articulation of how he brought changes to Microsoft through modifications in culture and mindset, empowering everyone to see through customer’s lens and then build a tooling company, echoed the reasons why Microsoft has become so relevant today.
There were also interesting conversations around Mixed Reality (aka Augmented Reality) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) and futuristic technologies like Quantum Computing. The Context of these topics evolved around ethics, opportunities and threats of AI and how the technology leaders like Microsoft need to bring in positive impacts through these technologies to the society at large.
One of the most important anecdotes which is true for each one of us – “My current job is the best job. You don’t need to wait for the next job to do your best”. Essentially, how do you find opportunities in adversity that can help you leapfrog from a negative mindset?
An organization which grows big needs to be multi-constituent and harmonize various dimensions like shareholders, business model and innovation. I see this same mentality reflected in the way Ness works as a company and the way that we help our clients.
At the end, I will confess, this was one of the very few inspiring conversations I have been to in the recent past. I truly enjoyed the aspiring evening and the well-produced event by Churchill Group. Here is the link to the Churchill event youtube video on Reid Hoffman/Satya Nadella fireside chat: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyeJJyAUjNg
At Ness, some of these traits like customer and employee empathy, innovation, and “learn it all” are visible and I am glad I am part of this journey. I am looking forward to more exciting times ahead. Learn more about we we help drive greater value for our clients.
What is your “Hit Refresh” moment?