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Cricket taught me teamwork, leadership: Nadella

Last updated on: February 04, 2014 22:37 IST

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A poetry aficionado and a cricket fan, Microsoft's new CEO India-born Satya Nadella learnt lessons in teamwork and leadership by playing the gentleman's game.

The 46-year-old Hyderabad-born Nadella, who takes the reins of the world's largest software services from Steve Ballmer, played cricket as a part of Hyderabad Public School team.

"I think playing cricket taught me more about working in teams and leadership that has stayed with me throughout my career," Nadella said after he was named the CEO of Microsoft.

He also enjoys watching Test cricket. "This is the longest form of any sport in the world. I love it. There's so many sub-plots in it, it's like reading a Russian novel," he said.

A father of three, Nadella also finds reading poetry of Indian and American poets relaxing.

"It's like a code. You are trying to take something that can be described in many, many sentences and pages of prose, but you can convert it into a couple lines of poetry and you still get the essence, so it’s that compression," he said.

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Image: Satya Nadella
Photographs: Courtesy, Microsoft

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Talking about his experience at Microsoft, Nadella said he joined the software giant because he saw how "Microsoft empowers people to do magical things and ultimately make the world a better place".

"Many companies aspire to change the world. But very few have all the elements required: talent, resources and perseverance. Microsoft has proven that it has all three in abundance," he said.

Nadella said he "always wanted to build things". "I'm a learner. I think the thing that I realised is, what excites me is that I'm learning something... I fundamentally believe that if you are not learning new things, you stop doing great and useful things," he said.

And one gets to know his zest for learning when he says: "I used to fly to Chicago Friday nights, attend classes Saturdays and come back to Redmond to work during the week."

It took him two-and-a-half years, but he finished his master’s degree. 

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Photographs: Courtesy, Microsoft

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Nadella said he will focus on the need to prioritise innovation that is centred on the core value of empowering users and organisations to "do more" and "do new things".  

"Every one of us needs to do our best work, lead and help drive cultural change. We sometimes underestimate what we each can do to make things happen and overestimate what others need to do to move us forward. We must change this," he said. 

Nadella said over the next decade computing will become more ubiquitous and intelligence will become ambient. 

"The co-evolution of software and new hardware form factors will intermediate and digitise — many of the things we do and experience in business, life and our world.

"This will be made possible by an ever-growing network of connected devices, incredible computing capacity from the cloud, insights from big data, and intelligence from machine learning," he added.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Microsoft
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Nadella said: "This is a software-powered world. It will better connect us to our friends and families and help us see, express, and share our world in ways never before possible."

Nadella, 46, who counts cricket as a "passion" and played the game as a member of his school’s team said: "I think playing cricket taught me more about working in teams and leadership that has stayed with me throughout my career."

He said he has been "fortunate" to work closely with both Gates and Ballmer in his different roles at Microsoft, and as "I step in as CEO, I’ve asked Bill to devote additional time to the company, focused on technology and products." 


Photographs: Courtesy, Microsoft

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Nadella said he often signs up for online courses.

"Just crazy ambitions in the 15 minutes I have in the morning. You know, I'm trying to listen to a neuroscience class or something. I kind of ask myself, why are you doing it? But I love it," he said.

Nadella, an electrical engineering graduate from Mangalore University and masters in computer science from Wisconsin, is the first Microsoft CEO outside of US.


Photographs: Courtesy, Microsoft

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