Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Hit Refresh by Satya Nadella

Hit RefreshHit Refresh by Satya Nadella
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Over the last decade I have really soured on Microsoft. Their solutions just seemed so clunky and expensive, although they have incredible market share on several levels. About 7 years ago I said enough was enough and uninstalled MS Office, and have actively avoided every Microsoft product since then, with the exception of the Windows operating system, which is ubiquitous. I have even tried to go non-Windows several times, but it has never worked. Too much of our technical environment still has bits and pieces stuck in the Windows mentality that it was impractical to keep fighting that fight. I have a Chromebook that I love and use as often as I can, but all too often it just doesn't have what I need, although I think that will not always be the case.

Why do I share this rant with you? This is the background with which I picked up Satya Nadella's story. I have watched the recovery of the Microsoft stock price, and being in a technical resource industry, have felt the shift in Microsoft's approach to the market. The smugness of MS fanboys turns out to be just as annoying as the Mac fanboys that reemerged into the light as Apple made its resurgence over a decade ago, and that leaves me hating just about everyone in the tech industry. But I digress. Back to the book.

The first half of the book sold me on the changes I have seen at Microsoft. That huge ship is making a course correction, I just don't know where it is headed yet. Still, I like the shift, and find myself willing to give Microsoft a chance again. And that is saying a lot. The last few chapters, however, were less impactful. Just when Nadella seemed to be making sense, some politically correct nonsense seemed to get in the way. I like the idea of empowering countries and peoples with technology, but why the political name-dropping and pandering around access to opportunities? Are you a capitalist or not? It sounds like he views Microsoft as a non-profit, and that he personally has the leaning to become a politician. No thank you. The last thing we need is more political ties in the business community. That is everything I dislike about big business.

The book was ok. If you listen to it at 1.5x the normal speed. And can sort out the real business content from the technological prophesying and policy comments included for political correctness.