A Rare Joint Interview with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Bill Gates

26. September 2017

Date: 26-09-2017
Source: The Wall Street Journal

On the occasion of the publication of Nadella’s first book, out this fall, Nadella and his predecessor talk shop

In February 2014, Satya Nadella became the third CEO of Microsoft . Nadella, more soft-spoken than his predecessors, Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, assumed the company’s helm amid one of its stormiest chapters. Ballmer, toward the end of his 14-year tenure, had purchased Nokia ’s mobile phone business at great cost ($7.2 billion) but failed to make a dent in the market dominance of Apple and Samsung . Nadella quickly nixed those ambitions and instead ramped up investment in artificial intelligence and commercial cloud computing. The result has been a remarkable turnaround, featuring major growth in cloud services revenue, a doubling of year-on-year profits and an all-time stock price high.

In his new book, Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft’s Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone (released September 26), Nadella, 50, explains this corporate transformation, lays out his hopeful vision for technological progress and recounts his own rich personal history. Read the rest of this entry »

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Bill Gates, Andy Grove and Steve Jobs: The Strategies They Shared

13. May 2015

Date: 13-05-2015

Source: The New York Times

In retrospect, things look easy, even obvious.

Microsoft, Intel and Apple each rose to dominance as if their fates were inevitable.

Of course, it never looks so clear as it’s happening. Shelves full of books have been written about these three companies and the outsized personalities who built them — Bill Gates, Andy Grove and Steve Jobs. In a new book, David B. Yoffie, a professor at the Harvard Business School, and Michael A. Cusumano, a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management, are adding to that literature by applying a strategic framework to the corporate handiwork of the three, and find common themes. They call these shared features “Strategy Rules,” which is also the title of the book.

Mr. Yoffie and Mr. Cusumano have been studying these companies for nearly three decades and have been collaborating off and on for decades.

Initially, Mr. Yoffie was a specialist in corporate strategy, while Mr. Cusumano was an expert in software development and managing product teams. “David was developing high-level strategy, and I was focused on, O.K., how do you get this stuff done,” Mr. Cusumano recalled.  Read the rest of this entry »


Gates to Stanford grads: Let your heart break

23. June 2014

Date: 23-06-2014
Source: Fortune

Bill & Melinda GatesBill and Melinda Gates deliver a stirring address on optimism to Stanford University’s 2014 graduating class.

How do you inspire a group of unusually smart, hard working, optimistic, and largely privileged youngsters who are already destined for success? Encourage them to learn from those most in need; urge them confront inequity; exhort them channel their optimism with empathy; oh, and remind them that for all their accomplishments, they wouldn’t be where they are without a heavy dose of luck.

That was the message that philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates delivered to Stanford’s 2014 graduating class in a poignant commencement address.

At a time when inequality is becoming one of the central issues of our time, the Gateses, whose foundation has become one of the most formidable philanthropic enterprises in history, exhorted graduates to pursue a mission-driven life. While both speakers were inspiring, it was Melinda Gates who delivered the most stirring lines. Here’s she is on channeling optimism:

Optimism for me isn’t a passive expectation that things will get better; it’s a conviction that we can make things better—that whatever suffering we see, no matter how bad it is, we can help people if we don’t lose hope and we don’t look away. Read the rest of this entry »


The Rational Optimist

30. November 2010
Bill Gates

The science writer Matt Ridley made his reputation with books like “The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature” and “Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters.” His latest book, “The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves” is much broader, as its title suggests. Its subject is the history of humanity, focusing on why our species has succeeded and how we should think about the future.

Although I strongly disagree with what Mr. Ridley says in these pages about some of the critical issues facing the world today, his wider narrative is based on two ideas that are very important and powerful.

The first is that the key to rising prosperity over the course of human history has been the exchange of goods. This may not seem like a very original point, but Mr. Ridley takes the concept much further than previous writers. He argues that our success as a species, as opposed to earlier hominids, resulted from innate characteristics that allowed us to trade. Not long after Homo sapiens emerged, we were using rare objects, like obsidian blades, far away from the source materials needed to produce them. This suggests that large numbers of commercial links were established even at the hunter-gatherer stage of our development.

Mr. Ridley gives many examples of how exchange allowed groups to thrive, by enabling them, for example, to acquire fish hooks or sewing needles. He also points out that even the most primitive human groups today are open to exchange. I’ve always thought this openness was surprising, considering the risks involved, but Mr. Ridley convincingly describes its adaptive value.

Exchange has improved the human condition through the movement not only of goods but also of ideas. Unsurprisingly, given his background in genetics, Mr. Ridley compares this intermingling of ideas with the intermingling of genes in reproduction. In both cases, he sees the process as leading, ultimately, to the selection and development of the best offspring.

The second key idea in the book is, of course, “rational optimism.” Read the rest of this entry »