Satya Nadella on lessons from the new Microsoft: 'The wave you caught that made you successful will come to an end'

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says that no matter how successful a company, eventually the world will move on — and the real measure of success is what you do next.

Nadella’s remarks came during a luncheon for Seattle business leaders, as reported by the Puget Sound Business Journal:

Microsoft caught the technology trend and rode it very well, but what I’ve come to realise is it’s one thing for companies to catch inflection points and ride them — whether it’s Amazon, Facebook, what have you […] The real test when that wave ends. The wave you caught that made you successful will come to an end. The question is what’s the next act.

He also says that Microsoft’s “sense of identity” is helping keep the company focused during this time of great transition. No matter what else happens, Nadella says, Microsoft knows that its customers are big businesses and developers.

Indeed, Nadella says that identity is what drew him to jump ship from Sun Microsystems and join up with Microsoft, all the way back in 1992.

The thing that impressed me the most in 1992 when I joined the company was that sense of identity and the sense of purpose that was implicitly and very deeply understood […] We knew we had caught something. That’s kind of what got me to come to Microsoft.

Under Nadella, Microsoft has won itself a new reputation for being a better partner to partners, customers, and developers. In a post-Windows world ruled by the iPhone and Google’s Android, Microsoft’s next act is being a little more open than ever before.

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