My favorite Robert Scoble’s suggestion for the Next Microsoft CEO:
“Get someone who loves the future. A CEO shouldn’t just need to be a builder (like you said, someone who architects, runs software teams, etc) but also needs to stand up in front of the world and get everyone to believe. Ballmer NEVER did that for me. ScottGu? Yeah. David Sacks? Yeah. But needs to be someone who understands contextual systems (mobile, local, social, sensors, wearables). At least for the consumer side of the fence.”
From my perspective of someone who is a CEO of an innovative company and loves the future, it is not enough to do that.
You need to firmly believe in the future you envision. You should live
in that future inside your mind, and bring it to today’s world as if it already existed.
You should be a builder who could make that future happen on his own. Describe the vision. Design it. Write code. Ship it.
Then, with such a team as Microsoft, you can scale your ability to make that future happen.
What kind of future I see for Microsoft?
John F. Kennedy said once:
“We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.”
The first time I have read Bill Gates books, he was writing about intelligent software that becomes the digital neuron system for the enterprise. Software that becomes a digital assistant for everyone. Bill Gates wanted Microsoft to bring the power of computers to every desk and to every home. Many companies are now crazy about consumers, and Microsoft did a lot to transition half of it into the consumer company. But Microsoft started as the company for hackers, for creators who built their first computers from scratch (remember BASIC for Altair). A lot changed since that time, with single OS across all devices and services, with S+S productivity suite, first-class development platform and tools, etc. But that passion to create software for those who create has always been at Microsoft’s heart. And I believe that Microsoft should be a company for those whose job is to create new things.
Some people believe that going after somebody else’s business success is a good business practice, but I believe that Microsoft had a very strong team of visionaries who had enough data, and passion, and energy to envision a different future, with the roots in the strengths of Microsoft, and its focus on creators.
I have participated in several internal events focused on innovation called ThinkTanks. I organized a unique Microsoft Context-aware Computing workshop together with Microsoft Research in Redmond, WA, in 2010, and seen many talented engineers and researchers, who built so many innovative prototypes and designs, who wanted to help the company to make a breakthrough into the new, contextual world, where hardware has sensors, and software is intelligent, and becomes our digital assistant. But nobody wanted to listen to them.
I believe that the New Microsoft should never allow closure of such innovative projects as Courier. It should never allow such talented people as those behind the Office Envisioning Team to leave the company. It should never allow those in charge of existing businesses like Windows to eliminate their underpowered challengers inside the company.
I believe that the new Microsoft’s CEO should bring the culture of creators into the company. He should bring the power to creators, and make everything possible to help them to unleash their creativity, to reimagine Microsoft products, to reshape the IT world, to make the future vision a reality.
New Microsoft’s CEO should make it the company of creators, the company for those who create the future.