Satya Nadella discusses Microsoft's new mission statement at MGX, July 2015
I've been a Microsoft employee for 100 days as of today, and thought I'd celebrate the occasion with a blog about the experience, while it's all still fresh.
Since I joined the company I've participated in the end-of-fiscal-year push to the finish line, MGX (Microsoft Global Exchange, the annual conference for MSFT sales, marketing, and technical field staff), and territory planning for my area. I've seen the launch of our new mission statement and Windows 10, the restructuring of the phone business, and the release of many of the new fiscal year programs and metrics, not to mention the news of countless new hires and role changes. And from the sidelines I've watched the activities around WPC, TechReady, //OneWeek (a companywide internal hackathon), the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program, and S4 (the Solution Specialist Sales Summit).
That's a lot for 100 days! Through it all some big themes are emerging for me:
Before I joined, I saw what a great job Microsoft does of marketing itself as a pro-diversity company. I specifically asked about this during my interview process and was assured that it's genuinely part of the culture. I've now experienced this first-hand. It is an incredible feeling to be in region-wide meetings where women are the highest-ranking people in the room. The leaders onstage at MGX represented an incredible array of cultural backgrounds. I work directly with people from all over the world. The company recently launched unconscious bias training for all employees. As a society we still have a long way to go, but Microsoft is making it happen today.
Privacy & security
When I was in the partner ecosystem, Microsoft’s insistence on privacy was mainly a nuisance that prevented us from broadening our contact databases. Now that I’m here I see how this deeply-held philosophy is what makes us worthy of our customers’ trust. Customer privacy and security are part of everyday conversations here. I didn’t have a full grasp before, but learned very quickly, how seriously Microsoft views the privacy and security of customer personal information and data, and how core this is to our business strategy (and a differentiator from our competitors).
Many people have described to me that Microsoft is like a system of mini-businesses, where each employee is encouraged to find creative ways to get the job done, because often, the "job" is either evolving or brand-new each year. I’m definitely finding this to be true. This is a place that requires, and rewards, creativity and problem-solving skills, and where new ideas are welcomed.
Again, from the outside, I knew Microsoft was focused on being cloud-first, mobile-first. On the inside, I see it in practice. I have no assigned office, yet the company completely empowers me to get my job done, with secure remote access, a dedicated phone number, building access, a parking pass, and many different configurations of office work space, meeting space, and resources. Coming from work cultures where there was a persistent attitude that if you weren’t showing up in person at the office (or at the client site), you weren’t dedicated enough, Microsoft’s total commitment to empowering people to be productive anywhere is really refreshing.
The number of people who have offered to help me as I come up to speed is beyond counting. They range from former Microsoft employees I’ve known for a while to current employees who have made this offer in the first few minutes of meeting me. The offer is generally along the lines of – “I remember what it was like to be new – reach out to me anytime - don’t struggle trying to figure something out if I can answer it for you.” It’s pervasive throughout the company culture and I’ve never experienced anything quite like it.
Excitement and Enthusiasm
I’ve worked directly with the Boston area Microsoft team since 2006, and with the national partner team since 2013, and I have always known Microsoft folks to be passionate and enthusiastic about their work and the technologies they support. Right now, though, seems to be a special time in the company’s history. Under Satya Nadella’s leadership the company has new direction and focus, and I can feel the excitement throughout the organization. Employees say things like “This would never have been possible before,” and “You’ve joined at an amazing time.” The support and admiration for the new leader, and for the changes he’s put in place to keep the company competitive and successful, are really inspiring.
These are the major experiences of my short time here. There are so many others I could explore – like the intense focus on customer and partner satisfaction, the career options, the way Microsoft takes care of their employees, the economies of scale that can be achieved at a huge organization… it’s been an incredible experience so far and I’m looking forward to the next 100 days!