Hit Refresh by Satya Nadella Discussion – Chapter 2 & 3

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Danny Ryan:Hello, and welcome to the Two Bald Brothers and a Microphone Podcast. This is your host, Danny Ryan, and I’m here with Tommy Ryan. How are you doing?


Tommy Ryan:I’m doing well, Danny.


Danny Ryan:Wonderful. Today is August-


Tommy Ryan:It’s nice to see sun.


Danny Ryan:Yes, it is.


Tommy Ryan:The monsoons might be over.


Danny Ryan:Yes. Your garden needs both water and sun, right? Two very vital, important-


Tommy Ryan:Got a lot of busted tomatoes in the garden from all that rain.


Danny Ryan:Really? Is that what happens?


Tommy Ryan:The skins burst. It’s hard. This is not the Iron Mountain Organics Podcast. I’ll let you get back to it.


Danny Ryan:No, that’s fine. That’s fine. I really enjoyed our last conversation. It was nice. I think it was neat just talking about the idea of getting behind why you’re doing something, so it was a good deviation, but I wanted to get back to the book that we’re reading in our book club, which is the Satya Nadella book called Hit Refresh, and we covered the beginning part of the book through chapter one, and today I wanted to go through and do the next two chapters, and I picked out a couple of key things that hopefully will lead into some conversation between you and I. In chapter two, it’s a chapter called Learning to Lead, and he brings up, in one part of the chapter, that there are three stories that he said speak very directly to leadership and business principles that he uses even today as CEO.


The first principle is to compete vigorously with passion in the face of uncertainty and intimidation, so even when it looks like things are dire, to go ahead and go after it with passion, and I think for you and I, we have lots of discussions about persistence and the importance of persistence, and moving ahead even when there is uncertainty in what we’re doing, and I think especially from a leadership standpoint, I think there’s some people you can share with questions about what you’re doing next, but when you’re leading a group of people, they want to feel confident in what you’re going after, as well.


Tommy Ryan:Yeah. That persistence is very key. I think it’s a component that you need to have as a business owner, as a leader. Without that persistence, you’re not going to survive because you’re going to have the ups and downs, and you need to stick to the story of what your company is about. It’s easy to panic and scramble for things, and sometimes you have to suffer some short-term loss, but overall, sticking to your story allows the long-term health, I think, of an organization.


Danny Ryan:The second one was the story about the principle of the importance of putting your team first. I think for us, this is where humble confidence, where we talk about that quite a bit, and putting others in front of yourself. I think the value of teamwork, that’s important for this, but just like how the story is basically some guy was very talented but screwed up the situation, and how I think for us it becomes … We recognize where we’re in a unique position as a consultant, that if we come into this environment and we act like we know it all, that we could actually make the situation worse and we’re not coming up with the best solution for the client. We have to come in with listening and really trying to reflect on what they’re doing and not provide an environment of intimidation where we know everything and you don’t, and also within the culture of ThreeWill where people feel confident to ask questions and how important that is.


Tommy Ryan:Yeah. I think that has been important for us, is creating the greater team. Not just the team that’s the ThreeWill folks that make up a project, but looking at the overall team in making the client as a team member for that effort and doing things like retrospectives. We do that with our customers, and it’s almost become a standard practice that we include in every spring review, which technically you don’t need to or maybe you shouldn’t have retrospectives every single sprint review, but we value it so much to make sure we stay on track to the expectations, and to make the small adjustments that a team needs to recognize along the way, and that could be things that are going well that you need to reaffirm that, “Yes, we like this. Let’s continue to do this,” or, “This doesn’t seem to be making sense,” and it might not come up in any other form except for, “Let’s stop and do a retrospective. Let’s look at what we should stop doing or start doing that’s going to make the project better.”


I think we bring that beyond the project into the leadership of the company where we have what we call leadership reviews, and that is taking the key stakeholders, maybe even business sponsors that are not in the project day to day, and have that heart to heart maybe once a month on a project that lasts three months or four months, and say, “Are we happy with where things are going?” Let’s look at the status of things and let’s make decisions as leaders to make sure we can support the team that’s implementing the project that we’re breaking down the barriers to success and we’re really making sure we address systemic issues that maybe can’t be taken care of in a daily stand-up or a sprint review.


Danny Ryan:Awesome. The third story he has is about essentially coming in and getting into a situation where he needed to give him his confidence back and something where even though maybe optimized for that day, he would’ve made a different decision, he recognized over the course of the season that he needed to be effective the entire season, and he was empathetic to a situation, so he maybe wasn’t optimized on that day, but gave him the chance to build his confidence back and how important that is.


The next part that I wanted to go through was in the Learning to Lead where the four essential skills to building an online cloud-based business, him recognizing that in order for him to lead, that he was going to be taking them to a different place than they had been before, and some of the things that he picked up, and I think part of this has transitioned over to focusing in on he was leading up the things with Bing and what he had learned with transitioning over to a different type of business. The first was he learned a lot about distributed computing systems, but he had to relearn things because of the cloud, so he had to basically let go of a lot of the things that he had traditionally picked up and be willing to understand a new type of business.


Tommy Ryan:He’s willing to do JavaScript.


Danny Ryan:Yeah. Move over to subscription and instead of getting paid big money in large sums, is moving over to subscription stuff as well. I’m sure that was part of it as well.


Tommy Ryan:Right.


Danny Ryan:Then the second part of this is he had to become great at consumer product design, so they had to really understand how they needed to take care of two sides of the business, the business of advertising along with the business of attracting consumers as well, and that gets into the next part of this, the Economics of a New Online Business, the one side are the consumers that go for great search results, and the other side are the advertisers who want their businesses to be found. It’s interesting with this because he’s talking about learning to lead, and he’s basically getting into Google’s business and the situation of having to lead in an area where they’re coming in as second place, and how many times does Microsoft, where they’re coming into a situation …


The traditional thing for Microsoft has been if they see an opportunity for a billion dollar business, they’ll go after it, but if it’s not that way, they’re not, so they’ll let other people go after things, but as soon as they find a business worth going after, they go after it themselves, and that’s a little … Does that excite me? No, because you want somebody creating these new economic models and coming in and not trying to reverse-engineer what someone else has done, but I think it’s the nature of Microsoft’s business-


Tommy Ryan:I think is trying to commoditize things that become enterprise needs and that speaks to the scale of what is the business opportunity, and doing it in a way that promotes a partner community that we’re going to go after the big things, we’ll create the frameworks, and come with us and we can address this market, and do it with enterprises that have confidence that we’re there for the long haul, and there’s a certain amount of enterprise that needs to be able to support legacy and have a predictable path of life cycle, and sometimes that is counter to innovation.


Sometimes innovation, there’s a lot of pivoting, there’s a lot of leaving things behind. People complained about some of the things with Google where they start something and then they let it die and don’t support it, and so it makes it harder for the enterprise to say, “I’m going to pick this and I have confidence that there’s going to be support for it, that there is a life cycle, that Microsoft has some … My software vendor of choice has a standard plan for sunsetting something,” that you know 10 years after it’s announced, that’s when I have to be off of it, and I’ve got the time to do that, versus there’s no announcement and it totally gets dropped.


Now, Microsoft will put a lot of competing strategies, like we see with To-Do, and other task management or Wiki management, all those things, but there is a subset of those that there is a backing after it gets its initial traction, that Microsoft is behind that, so I think that is, in a sense, a burden that can get in the way of trying to create something new and innovative. I think that new and innovative requires a lot of failure. A lot of trying and failing, trying and failing. I don’t look at Microsoft as necessarily being innovative, but when you see things like HoloLens, you see things even like Teams, you say, “Wow. That’s nice. It’s nice. It’s refreshing to see something that is out there trying to blaze a trail.” Teams is not necessarily like that. I think Teams has been more of a surprise of getting it right early with software. HoloLens is more of, “Okay. There’s not a market yet there, but we want to be one of the first, versus waiting and jumping in a lot later like cloud.”


They’re not first in cloud. You’ve got Amazon. You’ve got Salesforce. You’ve got Google. Those were all mature cloud companies before Microsoft got involved, but in the augmented reality, mixed reality, those are things I think Microsoft is trying to chip away at early.


Danny Ryan:I think some of the things you’re hitting on are important because I think the idea of we’re not going to be developing things and dropping them, developing and dropping them, has to do with trust. Can I trust this company? I think that I could probably sit on both sides of the fence with this. I think their overall ambition is to be a trustworthy company so that when they go out with a product, they stick with it, and I think their goal is to, if they go out into mature markets, then there’s a higher probability that that will stick around. You mentioned Teams. It’s a reaction to Slack. Each of the different businesses that you look at for them, they’re-


Tommy Ryan:They’ve let the market mature before they jumped in.


Danny Ryan:They’ve let the market mature before they jumped into it. Then either they’ve tried to acquire it, and if they couldn’t acquire it, they tried to do it themselves, and so I think that that’s their model, is looking at seeing which types of applications or which types of platforms are maturing and then going after it, and commoditizing, I guess, having an alternative out there to what’s … It’s good for competition for there to be two or three players where you do see people pushing each other, especially the larger organizations. Right now I would say more and more, like when we were reading through this, I think we all were talking about where is computing today and what’s coming next? I think I’m starting to see how much I’m involved with voice.


I was driving in this morning and adding to-dos on my to-do list on the car ride in, and then setting up reminders and interacting with my computer all through the voice, and just seeing that’s part of what’s coming, and then the HoloLens, I think they’re trying to get ahead of and get, “What is the next thing that’s coming after this?” It’s interesting. It’s fascinating for me to see. I would’ve loved to have been in on the conversations I think with some of this where they did drop Windows Phone, because I think there were a lot of people who want to have that third alternative to Android and iOS and having something else out there. It was interesting to see that because I see them also where mobile is so important to them. I guess they look resource-wise, let’s just get the software on all these devices and consolidate and really focus in on that.


But then I think recently, I’ve seen there’s the announcements for the Surface Go, which is getting small. The devices are getting smaller and smaller, and there’s a point in which you’re seeing them actually go back after I think what they originally had not tried to go after. I just really … With our business and collaboration, productivity, I want to see them really nail that and focus in on that, because it has to do with their mission, which is empowering people, and I understand all the hardware things get them into probably pushing where devices are going, but all right, I’m going to jump off my soapbox here. I think it’s interesting to see where they stand, and you’re absolutely right with going after mature markets with a partner ecosystem and that partner ecosystem brings the last 20% to the solution. This is very much in Microsoft’s DNA and has been that way for a long time, so how did they apply that model to new, mature marketplaces out there?


I want to jump in and I want to hit one section of the next chapter, which is chapter three, and I’m going to read this out to you, and let’s just have a nice little conversation about this and wrap this baby up. He says, this is on page 76, he says, “I became convinced that the new CEO of Microsoft needed to do several things very well right away during the first year.” I’ve got a nice little bulleted list here of things he wanted to go after during the first year.


The first is to communicate clearly and regularly our sense of mission, worldview, and business and innovation ambitions. The second is to drive cultural change from top to bottom, and get the right team in the right place. The next is to build new and surprising partnerships, he definitely did that, in which we can grow the pie and delight customers. Be ready to catch the next wave of innovation. I think this is getting into some of the things that we’re just talking about. Next wave of innovation and platform shifts. Reframe our opportunity for a mobile and cloud-first world, and drive our execution with urgency. The last one is stand for timeless values, and restore productivity and economic growth for everyone.


Tommy Ryan:That middle one, we’re getting the right people, and reminded me good to great, getting the right people on the bus, surrounding yourself with the right leadership that creates the balance that you need to power the organization. I think that’s key, and we’re constantly trying to look at that and have the right balance of ideas and talents and strengths.


Danny Ryan:It would’ve been interesting to hear him, because at this level with each one of those is to drive down to the next level, so what am I doing to do this? Because you can have these objectives, but then the objectives need to be broken down into-


Tommy Ryan:Strategies and tactics.


Danny Ryan:Strategies and tactics and things that you can go and do. They’re actionable things. For us with the 4DX stuff, what are the lead measures? If I’m doing this, what are the things that I’m doing on a day to day basis to drive cultural change from the top to bottom, get the right team in the right place? What am I doing in order to do that? That’s the hard work, right? That’s the difficult part of this, but I think if I reflect on these things, I think this list does not surprise me, which means he did a pretty good job.


This wasn’t a list of things that reading through them, as far as what he wanted to do during the first year, the thing that jumped right out to me was these new and surprising partnerships, and the platform shift, reframe what our opportunity, the whole move of any device anywhere, any time. That was definitely … He had to frame that up and we saw through the years, I think we saw different examples of them. Him showing up to a meeting and saying, “My iPhone,” I think floored some people to see that. We saw it with him at the-


Tommy Ryan:Salesforce.


Danny Ryan:… Salesforce conference where he’s there in the middle of this conference, and seeing that he’s trying new, different partnerships. Where they end up, who knows, and how they are today, who knows? But I think he’s trying new things with that and definitely did try new things, and I think people were excited about that. I saw a lot of people inside, having private conversations with Microsoft people. There were a lot of people who were excited to be at the company.


Tommy Ryan:That’s good to hear.


Danny Ryan:Yeah. They were excited to have him as the leader. I think that was really important.


Tommy Ryan:Because he’s mixing things up. Some people are probably not excited, but it’s good to see the majority are.


Danny Ryan:Absolutely. Absolutely. We’ve gotten through chapter two and three. We’ll pick back up next time unless something else comes up, unless we want to talk about the garden again or something. Maybe get the next batch of logos and we can talk about that again. Any Tesla tips from recently? Anything come up?


Tommy Ryan:I got all excited this morning. There was a software update. I ran the update and nothing … They give you a recap of release notes, and the release notes said, “Minor updates and fixes.”


Danny Ryan:It didn’t have anything that Elon wanted to buy back [crosstalk 00:23:03].


Tommy Ryan:No. That wasn’t updated.


Danny Ryan:He wanted to buy back your car.


Tommy Ryan:That guy mixes it up in all different ways.


Danny Ryan:Doesn’t he?


Tommy Ryan:Yeah. One of the things that it did show, it kind of reminded me of the last update. The last update had speed limit control. It had-


Danny Ryan:That’s no fun.


Tommy Ryan:Yeah. It’s got a valet mode that will allow you to control the speed limit and move it from standard acceleration to chill. That’s the mode. If you have it in valet mode, you punch it, it just slowly comes up to speed, so you don’t see that Ferris Bueller’s Day Off scene where the guy takes off in the valet and jumps hills, but yeah, it had some neat updates.


Danny Ryan:My favorite valet story about me is that I learned to drive a stick shift when I started valeting, that he never asked me if I could drive a stick shift.


Tommy Ryan:Yeah. Austin has been experiencing that. He’s in his last days of valet life, and he-


Danny Ryan:Hashtag valet life.


Tommy Ryan:Yeah. He went into a Maserati, I think just yesterday, and he says, “It creates an interesting challenge every time you get into the car. You’re trying to figure out how does the car start?” Because you have all these different ways to start a car today. It’s not just keys anymore, so he says that’s kind of fun to figure that out each time. One of the features that’s in there, that was in the last update, is cabin overheat protection, so within 12 hours of stopping the car, it will keep the temperature below 105, so it’s an interesting feature. I haven’t dug into it to see why they have that. I think one it keeps the car cool and there’s less damage due to heat inside the car of things cracking and stuff like that because of the heat. Two, I see it as a safety feature for if you have children-


Danny Ryan:Or your pets.


Tommy Ryan:… or pets, not that you intentionally leave a child in a car, but what happens when a child is left in a car is they die of heat exhaustion. This could be a life saver for some kids that someone leaves a kid in a car, forgets about that, and at the end of the day they go in there and they just have a hungry, angry child, versus a-


Danny Ryan:12 hours later. After a meth-induced bender. You get into your Tesla and realize your child is still there. All right. Thank you. I hope everybody in Fulton County DFCS and Forsyth County DFCS are doing great. It’s not like we’re doing this to our children. You’re absolutely right. There’s stuff in the news where people accidentally leave their children in the car.


Tommy Ryan:I think it’s a key feature for pets, too. People, they know that, “I don’t have to remember to turn on the air when I leave,” or whatever, and that it has that overheat protection.


Danny Ryan:Common people just crack the windows.


Tommy Ryan:Yeah. But what if it’s raining?


Danny Ryan:It’s great. Common people don’t have cars that really care about if rain gets in the car.


Tommy Ryan:That’s Forsyth County, not Fulton County.


Danny Ryan:Hashtag hick life. All right. Let’s wrap it up before I get into trouble here. Appreciate you doing this, Tom.


Tommy Ryan:Sure, Danny.


Danny Ryan:Thanks everybody for listening and have a wonderful day. Bye-bye.


Tommy Ryan:Bye-bye.


Additional Credits

Intro/Outro Music – Daniel Bassett

Danny RyanHit Refresh by Satya Nadella Discussion – Chapter 2 & 3

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