Satya Nadella – A Big Step Into Some Very Big Shoes

Satya_Nadella-0314Apple’s Steve Jobs. Virgin Atlantic’s Richard Branson. Tesla Motor’s Elon Musk. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerburg. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. And yes, Microsoft’s Bill Gates. All can be summed up in one word — influencers. Just what is an influencer? Even though the word itself doesn’t appear in WikiPedia or any online dictionaries, in an overview of the book Influencer: The Power to Change Anything, “An influencer motivates others to change. An influencer replaces bad behaviors with powerful new skills. An influencer makes things happen. This is what it takes to be an influencer.” The term, steeped in social media, essentially paints a larger than life picture of someone who is driven past the point of common goals, a person that sets out every day to essentially change the world, and especially its overall thought process. He or she is someone who makes it possible for those who are influenced by them to themselves become a powerful agent of change.

You probably have at least one person who is responsible for influencing your life and everyday thought process, social skills, goal setting abilities and more. It may be one of the aforementioned, a person you’ve worked for (i.e. a mentor) or even your mother or father. It can be anyone who gives you the drive and motivation to challenge yourself on a daily basis to succeed. I personally have had a few including a mentor or two who helped me meet and exceed sales goals, for example, as well as those who have helped me to acquire the skills and knowledge base that I utilize on a daily basis. Actually, there are at least a couple of those who are listed in that first sentence.

office-ipad-0314It was announced yesterday that Microsoft was finally releasing Office for iPad. This however wasn’t a planned announcement or roll-out, it has actually been a long time coming. As many know, the relationship between Microsoft and Apple, under the previous regime was not a close one, in fact there was little eye contact at all. The former CEO did everything he could to put Microsoft on an island of their own and even create scenarios which further questioned the direction of the company. In an article from October 2012, Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer dismisses Apple as a ‘low volume’ player, while it was revealed that Microsoft had sold 4 million upgrades to its new Windows 8 operating system in 4 days, CEO Steve Ballmer dismissed Apple as a “low volume player” in markets like PCs and smartphones. Dismiss the power of the iPhone? And the mention of PC’s in a quickly evolving world of mobile technology? According to the article, the question was posed in an interview with the Wall Street Journal whether he would prefer Microsoft evolve to Apple’s business model, where the company controls both the hardware and software. The chief executive said he preferred Microsoft’s business model, though he conceded that it is “evolving” with devices like the new Surface tablet. And we all know just where that took them…

Satya Nadella, originally from Hyderabad, India, earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Mangalore University in India, as well as a master’s degree in computer science from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s in business administration from the University of Chicago. Nadella joined Microsoft in 1992, and according to his background brief, he quickly became known as a leader who could span a breadth of technologies and businesses to transform some of Microsoft’s biggest product offerings. In February of this year, almost 7 months after the highly publicized announcement of the departure (umm, retirement) of former CEO Steve Ballmer, Nadella became the CEO of Microsoft. So while Ballmer indeed was a big man, the big shoes belonged to the man who is one of the greatest influencers of our time, Microsoft’s founder and former chief executive Bill Gates. Upon Nadella’s entry as CEO to Microsoft, it was announced that Bill Gates would be leaving as Chairman of the company. And the shoes became even bigger. The big question was posed, was Nadella up to what could be considered one of the biggest tasks in the world of technology? And the answer, at this stage of the game, with the release of Office for iPad and the forward moving drive to be a “Cloud First” organization, as many thought they should have already been, Nadella has begun to firmly plant his feet in those overly large shoes.

In a world of influencers, the engineer with a tremendous business sense who began his career as a forward thinking leader, Satya Nadella has stepped onto the field with some of the heaviest hitters in recent history and already taken some pretty mighty swings. And his first one, the release of Office for iPad, is being considered by many as a grand slam. If he was a ballplayer coming out of the minors, I’m sure the Yankees would be throwing the world at his feet.

As Microsoft readies its appearance at InfoComm 2014, the buzz will now be even greater. With Office for iPad now downloadable, those major Apple fans at the show will be just as drawn to the booth as us Windows fans. I know I’ll have my iPad with me and yes, I have just downloaded Office today and looking forward to giving it a go. Check out information on Office for iPad here. As for the new man at the top, I must say that he has fast become an influence as someone I now follow on a daily basis. And if like myself, you decide you’d like to follow someone who tirelessly works to bring one of the biggest technology companies in the world back to all its glory, Satya Nadella is your man.

Top image via Wikipedia