:: Satya Nadella's advice to the non-technical
Satya Nadella goes under the radar. But when he speaks we listen - but what he said recently in Sydney was unexpected.
Nadella took over as CEO of Microsoft in 2014 and has transformed the company since then - quietly. The share price was $37 when took over - and has recently nudged $150 and the market cap has punched through $1T ('T' for trillion that is).
Just to put this achievement in perspective, when Tim Cook took over Apple in 2011 the share price was around $55 and today is $260 per share. Nadella has achieved what Cook has achieved but in 3 less years and with no iPhone and no iTunes - remember Windows phone anyway?
Even more impressive is that outside the tech community (and now Wall Street) few people could name Microsoft's CEO ("Is it Bill Gates still? .... or who was that guy who couldn't dance"?).
Nadella has kept under the radar but he has also kept focus. Bill Gates has said that missing mobile was his greatest regret as CEO. By the time Nadella took over Apple's dominance in mobile was undisputed.
Nadella wasn't going to make that mistake twice.
The next wave to get on was cloud - and Nadella threw everything at it. And it was right up Microsoft's alley being about a wide comprehensive network (rather than the latest application or device).
Nadella was recently interviewed and discussed the cloud but also gave some nuggets of advice for anyone. And some unexpected advice.
You know the old quib - never ask your barber if you need a haircut? Which you could rephrase - never ask a tech company if you need more tech right?
But listen to what Nadella has to say:
My view of the world is as follows: if every company is going to be a software company then what they need is more software capability that needs to get built inside.
Whether you're in mining, whether you're in energy, whether you're in banking – what it is doesn't matter. You all will want to build your own technology capability. Satya Nadella
The head of Microsoft telling you to build your own technology capability. Aren't they selling that?
Gotta hand it to Nadella - he's a masterful salesman here. To sell Microsoft cloud products each company probably does need some in-house skills to implement; so he has mastered the art of selling-while-looking-to-do-the-opposite.
But taking a step back can you apply this to help get unstuck?
First up, if you are lawyer feeling stuck and a world away from the giddy heights of Silicon Valley (or even Microsoft's Seattle) - use Nadella's advice in your workplace. Get buy-in for small tech projects that can be good for the business and build out your exposure and skill set. Small steps are good steps.
But then think about how to build your own technological capability. Which doesn't mean learning to code (though it could!). It will mean learning no-code tools and it could mean teaming up with someone to complement your skills.
As the primary teacher said (exasperated) on the morning of the concert to the recorder class: "one of you is going to have to blow!"; so one of you is going to have to code.