OWL Magazine Korea

Satya Nadella’s “Hit Refresh”

Satya Nadella is the current CEO leading Microsoft. Microsoft is a company that gained attention by creating the Windows operating system, leading the proliferation of computers.

Along with the success of Windows, Microsoft accumulated immense wealth, which served as the driving force for the company to venture into various business areas. Bill Gates, the founder, handed over the CEO position to Steve Ballmer and stepped back from management. After the era of Steve Ballmer, the third CEO of Microsoft emerged, and that was Satya Nadella.

“Pioneer in Cloud Computing, Satya Nadella”

Satya Nadella is currently an Indian-American. His parents belonged to the Telugu-speaking region of India, and thanks to that, Satya Nadella graduated from a university in India before moving to the United States. He obtained a master’s degree in computer science from the University of Wisconsin in 1990 and completed his MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. In 1992, he joined Microsoft and worked as the head of “Azure,” making significant contributions to the field of cloud computing.

Based on his efforts, Microsoft appointed him as CEO in 2014.

“The Book Written During Microsoft Tenure, Hit Refresh”

The book titled “Hit Refresh” is written by Satya Nadella himself. It is particularly noteworthy as a book written by him during his tenure as CEO. The Korean translated version was first published in 2018, about 3-4 years after he assumed the CEO position.

It is impressive that rather than focusing on his past, the book concentrates on future areas that need attention.

“Microsoft’s Transformation from Innovation Icon to Ambiguous Second Place”

In the past, Microsoft was once considered an icon of innovation, especially with the success of Windows OS. However, after Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone and the Mac series, Apple seized the title of innovation icon. Nevertheless, Microsoft, with its past success, was still perceived as a company with high corporate value and consistently ranked 1-2 in terms of market capitalization. However, in the 2000s and 2010s, it began to be perceived as an “old-fashioned” company somewhat distant from groundbreaking innovation.

Thanks to its past success, Microsoft maintained a somewhat ambiguous image of being second best. Until the unveiling of “ChatGPT” developed and released by “OpenAI,” Microsoft lagged behind Apple in terms of market capitalization.

“Microsoft’s Calm Preparation for the Future”

While competitors like Apple and Google focus on innovative items based on new technologies, Microsoft has been calmly preparing for the future.

Satya Nadella, as CEO of Microsoft, focused on three core areas: artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, and quantum computing. By concentrating on these areas for a long time, the results are gradually emerging.

One of the three core technologies, “AI,” which was highly regarded, took the lead in the AI technology field by investing in OpenAI. It introduced “Chat GPT” and popularized AI technology, subsequently integrating this AI technology into “Office,” developed by Microsoft. The utilization of AI technology in Excel, PowerPoint, and Word, operated in “Co-pilot mode,” not only innovated in technology but also added commercial value.

“Cloud Computing: Azure”

The second field that Microsoft is focusing on is cloud computing. Microsoft provides a cloud computing service called “Azure.” It is mainly provided to “enterprises,” so it is not well known to individual users. However, through “Azure,” which incorporates AI technology, companies provide various services.

They also incorporate “Internet of Things (IoT)” and analyze data stored in the cloud using AI, leading to various new attempts.

Especially, IT companies are inevitably required to use “servers,” and Microsoft is leading in the “BtoB” market by providing such services.

Currently, the cloud computing field is divided between “Azure” by Microsoft and “AWS” provided by Amazon. For reference, although I have not yet tried Microsoft’s Azure, I am still using Amazon’s “AWS.” This is because the website where this text is posted is based on “AWS.”

“Quantum Computing”

Microsoft’s focus on quantum computing has not yet produced results. While conventional computers perform calculations with combinations of “0” and “1,” our reality does not only consist of combinations of “0” and “1” but also applies the laws of quantum physics.

If a computer applying quantum physics is developed, it is said to be capable of much faster and more accurate calculations than traditional digital computers.

“Empathy and Organizational Culture”

Consistently mentioned in the book is “empathy.” Creating an organizational culture where “empathy” can be practiced is also considered essential.

Overall, the consistent message is that everything should be based on “empathy.” The development of technology ultimately aims to benefit people, and it should not merely be technology for the sake of technology.

From the gentle charisma depicted in his facial expression on the book cover, one can envision a leader with a soft charisma based on “empathy.” Of course, since I have not spent time working directly with Satya Nadella at Microsoft, I cannot know what type of person he is, but through the book he wrote, I could indirectly grasp his thoughts as Microsoft’s CEO and the direction the company is pursuing.

“Hit Refresh”