Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft’s Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone

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Hi guys and a solemn Thursday to you. For those of you living outside United States, I am sad to inform we had another school shooting yesterday. Seventeen young students died in the hands of a 19-year old who had access to guns. This morning all of us were still in utter shock, disbelief, and anger over how this could be a possibility in a safe neighborhood such as Parkland, Florida. Sadly, dealing with this trauma has been a reality for many families and it is time we really DO something about it instead of debating. It all comes down to who should have “the right to bear arms”? Should all arms be made illegal? These are the questions I hope to answer in some future post, I promise.

I really second guessed myself about writing today’s post that was scheduled months ago. Given the tragic background, I questioned focusing on a book titled “Hit Refresh”. There is nothing wrong with the book, but just the idea that people may think thoughts like the title bring bad feelings in people or today is not an appropriate time to do a review on a book about starting over. But, I said, “why not?” Whenever America faces a national tragedy, we all come together and try to move on. Maybe we need to do something different from now on, something more structured to bring forward a positive change. So I decided this post is totally appropriate and hope my readers will learn from the wisdom of Satya Nadella.

Honestly, the recent events have been a total coincidence and I hate to tie something so tragic to a book just to write a post. But, I really hope what I have to say makes my readers and America (and the world) feel better.

“Hit Refresh” is a wonderful autobiography of Satya Nadella’s career in Microsoft. Satya Nadella, like millions of other immigrants and native Americans had a dream and achieved it through hard work. So what is the difference between him and someone on the street? He calls it having “empathy”.  He writes the moment he entered Microsoft as its CEO he knew the culture of the company had to change. At the time his tenure began he knew that Microsoft lost what founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen set out to do-make technology more accessible. While, some 40 years ago the vision was to have a desktop computer in every household, he felt that innovative vision (at the time) was lost when competition arose and other companies were doing the same thing. He knew that the original vision of making technology more accessible had to change by moving Microsoft technology to cloud, but knew that wouldn’t be accomplished without changing the culture and instilling “empathy” as part of it. Thus, the story of Satya Nadella begins from his boyhood days in India to Microsoft and beyond.

While reading the book, I could imagine Satya Nadella being a soft-spoken, but extremely determined man fully in control of his vision and how he was going to take Microsoft there. Microsoft wasn’t a startup anymore, but an established Fortune 500 company. So there was a lot of blending of the old with the new. Satya walks his readers through his thought process of what he did and why he did, what he chose to keep and what he chose to disregard, his challenges and triumphs, all to understand what makes him a brilliant CEO (he didn’t say that, but I certainly think so).

So today I thought, why don’t we use the same systematic approach to dealing with gun laws in United States? We should begin with having conversations which are empathetic and solution-based. Honestly, after reading this book, I felt like if a boy from India can lead a company like Microsoft, why can’t other “normal” people do the same? The dream could be to be a CEO of a famous company or to change laws on the floors of Congress, but the way to do is the same-hitting a “refresh” button and applying new ideas, new energy, and new strategy to age-old problems. And Satya Nadella did just that. Nadella says, “Ideas excite me. Empathy grounds and centers me.” This is very telling of how we should approach controversial topics like gun laws. It is really easy to tell half the country to abandon their second amendment right and on the other hand, it is very easy to tell someone off. But is that empathetic? What we really need are fresh ideas that fit in the structure and reality of the law. And that is not going to happen if we are not proactive and persistent in the quest for a solution. In the meantime, please if you notice something suspicious report it, write to your congressman/congresswoman, have conversations with your friends or in class about this. This issue does get noticed, but it lacks new ideas. Think about them and tell the lawmakers-you know you are resourceful.

So in conclusion, I highly recommend this book. It is a beautifully written book by Satya Nadella with Greg Shaw and Jill Tracie Nichols, where we learn how sentimental and important ethos of people can bring forth a transformation. The book can be bought HERE. Happy Reading!