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Satya Nadella on building success: “It’s the batting average that counts”

Emma Koehn /

Satya Nadella

Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella.

Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella admits the company was “perhaps a little late” to face one of the most disruptive technological shifts of this era, but says it has secured success anyway.

In a sit-down interview with Bloomberg Businesweek in December, Nadella reflected that Microsoft was a high-margin business dealing with data centre software, but as cloud technology came to the forefront, the definition of success changed quickly in the tech industry.

“The world was changing,” Nadella said.

Taking a longer-term view, however, he says Microsoft was able to create high-growth products very quickly once the company did start to focus on cloud technology.

“Quite frankly, we were perhaps a little late to get to it, but we were very fast once we did. If you look at the last multiple layers of Microsoft, the cloud has been the highest-growth business in the company, even in historical terms,” he said.

The takeaway from that experience is that the strength of a business lies in its ability to “confront your fixed mindset”.

“Success is not actually built by moving from hit to hit to hit. It’s the batting average that counts,” Nadella said.

Read more: How this book on parenting inspired Microsoft chief Satya Nadella’s approach to leading a multibillion-dollar tech company

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Emma Koehn

Emma Koehn is SmartCompany's senior journalist.

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