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New Microsoft CEO Emails Employees, Tells Them To Do More Work

Jonathan Allen

My reaction to Microsoft’s New CEO email, in reaction gifs.

TL;DR: Microsoft’s new CEO sent a ‘meh’ email today. Too much about him and not enough about the company. Speak to your audience and get out of your imaginary interview chair!

Venturebeat posted a complete copy of the email that Microsoft’s new CEO, Satya Nadella, sent to the entire company this morning to celebrate his apparent inauguration as the latest, greatest human being on the planet.

Nadella,  46, married at 24 with 3 kids (and just a normal guy who buys too many books because he is afflicted with an insatiably curious mind), had much name dropping to do after his 22 years at Microsoft and not a lot to say about his new vision for the company. Instead, he gently reminded us all that Microsoft is now, like, the oldest company on the internet.

Reading between the lines, the email basically told everyone to go back to work and mobilize their heads in the clouds – or something.

For the record, I’m not a fan boy railing against Microsoft for its own sake. It’s just that if I worked there, I can’t imagine being inspired by these words. In fact, I imagine the employees’ reaction went something like this:

From: Satya Nadella
To: All Employees
Date: Feb. 4, 2014
Subject: RE: Satya Nadella – Microsoft’s New CEO

Today is a very humbling day for me. It reminds me of my very first day at Microsoft, 22 years ago.

Sigh, here we go… a memoire from one of the boardroom boys.


Like you, I had a choice about where to come to work. I came here because I believed Microsoft was the best company in the world.

*Yawn* Didn’t we all…

I saw then how clearly we empower people to do magical things with our creations and ultimately make the world a better place. I knew there was no better company to join if I wanted to make a difference. This is the very same inspiration that continues to drive me today.

Uh-huh, magical things.


It is an incredible honor for me to lead and serve this great company of ours. Steve and Bill have taken it from an idea to one of the greatest and most universally admired companies in the world.

Definitely heard nothing like this before.


I’ve been fortunate to work closely with both Bill and Steve in my different roles at Microsoft, and as I step in as CEO, I’ve asked Bill to devote additional time to the company, focused on technology and products. I’m also looking forward to working with John Thompson as our new Chairman of the Board.

Ooh, look at you! You asked ‘Bill’ to help around here?


While we have seen great success, we are hungry to do more. Our industry does not respect tradition — it only respects innovation.

Mmmm… innovation. Gravy.


This is a critical time for the industry and for Microsoft. Make no mistake, we are headed for greater places — as technology evolves and we evolve with and ahead of it.

OK, now you got my attention.


Our job is to ensure that Microsoft thrives in a mobile and cloud-first world.

Aaaaand… you lost it.


As we start a new phase of our journey together, I wanted to share some background on myself and what inspires and motivates me.

Who am I?

I am 46. I’ve been married for 22 years and we have 3 kids. And like anyone else, a lot of what I do and how I think has been shaped by my family and my overall life experiences.

No way! You’re just… normal? Like the rest of us?


Many who know me say I am also defined by my curiosity and thirst for learning. I buy more books than I can finish. I sign up for more online courses than I can complete.

Fascinating… You’re defined by your curiosity? So childlike! So… enlightened! May I bask in the rays of your aura?


I fundamentally believe that if you are not learning new things, you stop doing great and useful things. So family, curiosity and hunger for knowledge all define me.

Great man, just great. Join the rest of the human race.


Why am I here?

Don’t you know yet?


I am here for the same reason I think most people join Microsoft — to change the world through technology that empowers people to do amazing things.

Well done! You got the words ’empowering’ and ‘amazing’ into your email speech! Did you swallow a dictionary?


I know it can sound hyperbolic — and yet it’s true. We have done it, we’re doing it today, and we are the team that will do it again.

No dude, it doesn’t sound hyperbolic at all! At all. Hyperbolically speaking, it doesn’t matter because it’s true anyway!


I believe over the next decade computing will become even more ubiquitous and intelligence will become ambient.

Ok, you got me. I’m back.


The coevolution of software and new hardware form factors will intermediate and digitize — many of the things we do and experience in business, life and our world. This will be made possible by an ever-growing network of connected devices, incredible computing capacity from the cloud, insights from big data, and intelligence from machine learning.

OK this is a lot of gobbledygook, but I like this idea of “coevolution.” A biological term right? Something to do with ecosystems and dependency?


This is a software-powered world.

That’s your pithy summary??


It will better connect us to our friends and families and help us see, express, and share our world in ways never before possible. It will enable businesses to engage customers in more meaningful ways.

Yay, let’s raise our glasses to more ‘sharing.’ Woop-di-doop. So I can see more funny dancing videos. Change the world they said! Empower people they said…


Why are we here?

In our early history, our mission was about the PC on every desk and home, a goal we have mostly achieved in the developed world. Today we’re focused on a broader range of devices. While the deal is not yet complete, we will welcome to our family Nokia devices and services and the new mobile capabilities they bring us.

Whoa, actual news about the company!!


As we look forward, we must zero in on what Microsoft can uniquely contribute to the world. The opportunity ahead will require us to reimagine a lot of what we have done in the past for a mobile and cloud-first world, and do new things.

Wooooo! Wait, what? “Do new things” – hasn’t it been the year of the mobile and the cloud for at least the last five years…


We are the only ones who can harness the power of software and deliver it through devices and services that truly empower every individual and every organization. We are the only company with history and continued focus in building platforms and ecosystems that create broad opportunity.

That word ’empower’ again… and a necessary mention of ‘devices’ and ‘ecosystems’ to create something broad. #FML.


Qi Lu captured it well in a recent meeting when he said that Microsoft uniquely empowers people to “do more.”

Well, it’s not like you could have said the opposite.


This doesn’t mean that we need to do more things, but that the work we do empowers the world to do more of what they care about — get stuff done, have fun, communicate and accomplish great things.  This is the core of who we are, and driving this core value in all that we do — be it the cloud or device experiences — is why we are here.

Not missing the subtext here. The good ol’ carrot and stick.


What do we do next?

To paraphrase a quote from Oscar Wilde — we need to believe in the impossible and remove the improbable.

Ohhh, I get it. Do more just by being better at stuff, in situations that may or may not happen. Right on man, great advice.


This starts with clarity of purpose and sense of mission that will lead us to imagine the impossible and deliver it.

Diggin’ it. Yer really lifting me out of an inspirational black hole here. Use clarity. To get more impossible things done. Totally clear.


We need to prioritize innovation that is centered on our core value of empowering users and organizations to “do more.”

Got it. Do more by being more empowering. I’m down. Check me out, I’m totally talking as I walk!


We have picked a set of high-value activities as part of our One Microsoft strategy. And with every service and device launch going forward we need to bring more innovation to bear around these scenarios.

I see, “high-value activities.” Do things that have a bigger payoff for less effort – like eating  a cake in one mouthful?


Next, every one of us needs to do our best work, lead and help drive cultural change. We sometimes underestimate what we each can do to make things happen and overestimate what others need to do to move us forward. We must change this.

Yes boss! Do more! Be better!


Finally, I truly believe that each of us must find meaning in our work. The best work happens when you know that it’s not just work, but something that will improve other people’s lives. This is the opportunity that drives each of us at this company.

Just like you’re improving mine right now!


Many companies aspire to change the world. But very few have all the elements required: talent, resources, and perseverance. Microsoft has proven that it has all three in abundance. And as the new CEO, I can’t ask for a better foundation.

HULK ROAR! Change the world they said! Do amazing things they said! Empower people they said!


Let’s build on this foundation together.


Well, that’s 5 minutes I won’t get back.


All image credits go to Reaction Gifs. If you can’t see some of them, you might have to click the white space to load them.

If you think the NEW CEO is the bees knees, let us know in the comments. If you don’t, say so too! If you were CEO, where would you take Microsoft? Would Nokia be a feather in your cap or a thorn in your side?

Jonathan Allen

Co-Founder and Advisor

Experienced digital marketer and SEO expert

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