So on Friday I went to the Microsoft IT all hands, led by Stuart Scott our CIO. Stuart's done some amazing things in a very short amount of time in cleaning up some of chaos around here and he also did something extraordinary which I'm sure might have been tough to pull off: He got Steve to come out and talk to IT. Now you got to remember, in most organizations, IT are the techies, but in Microsoft, a company that builds a lot of what runs most IT shops, techies abound and IT isn’t the only bastion of techies, the entire company is. As an IT organization however, Microsoft IT has some unique opportunities: we dogfood like crazy nearly every single Microsoft product, waaay before we'd even put it out for beta testing (not only do we do it, we help the whole company do it, e.g. helpdesk support & bug tracking & reporting etc). Another important opportunity for IT is helping to improve Microsoft's products by providing direct feedback to the Product groups building the software. While they may sometimes get silo'ed concentrating on what they need to develop and deliver, IT has to implement it, make it all work together and support it. If we can do it; then the there's a good chance our customers can do it; so that’s a valuable source of feedback early in the cycle for the Product groups.
Anyway so Steve comes and quite literally he blew us away. Most people, even most Softies have only ever seen Steve being extremely passionate about Microsoft and pumping up the crowd (which he does a great job of, by the way!) but here we average joe's got to see another side of Steve: his reasoning, resoluteness & attention to detail which really showed us how much he cares and how much he's aware of the details around here. Steve made it clear that Microsoft has always been good at innovating, but we also need to make sure our execution is world class; we gotta make sure the trains keep running.
When I was young, I never looked up to sports stars or TV heroes; my hero's where people with power, leaders. It’s simple really, the people who have leadership abilities and the power to execute are the ones who can truly make things happen (and there's no better example than Bill Gates and his unbelievable work with the Gates Foundation).
Steve made some extraordinarily insightful comments which had people nodding their heads yes (and a friend turned to me and commented: “THAT’S why he’s the CEO!”) I think Steve's going to surprise a lot of the haters in the next 5-10 years, you ain't seen nothing yet!