It probably takes a fair amount to impress Satya Nadella. As CEO of one of the largest technology companies in the world, he is privy to most likely an endless stream of ideas for new innovations and bleeding edge scientific research. After all, if you knew about gadgets like HoloLens were being worked on secretly underneath your visitor center or what 1,000s of Microsoft Research scientists were cooking up next, you would understandably have a different perspective on what is an impressive new idea.
So what new kind of idea does “wow” Satya Nadella? As reported by Mashable, on his recent trip to India, Nadella met an eight-year-old game developer who profoundly impressed him. After touring the country to meet with tech, business and government leaders, it was meeting this eight-year-old that was, as Nadella mentioned in one of his keynote speeches, “perhaps the time where I felt the most inadequate.”
The young student/game developer Medansh Mehta, shared his game “Let There Be Light” with Nadella during a meeting with student developers in India. The game is a city building simulator where you create factories and farms in order to construct a metropolis. But the uniqueness of the game is that players have to balance natural resources and the environment in the construction of their cities in order to succeed.
The idea is actually quite similar to a hot topic among economists and political scientists called internalizing externalities. The concept is to reflect the cost of pollution and environmental degradation in the price of goods and services in order to deter us from buying and producing unsustainable goods. But, Mehta’s game takes this complex idea a step further by accounting for pollution and environmental degradation in the entire construction of a virtual city; balancing the needs of the people and the environment of an emerging populous from the ground up.
Following Nadella’s remarks in his keynote, Mehta was interviewed by CNBC about his game and his ambitions. In the interview, Mehta revealed he asked Nadella how he could have his job one day. Nadella responded “You are already ambitious beyond being the next CEO. The game has the sensibility that all of us need.”
Mehta’s game is a great inspiration for what kinds of new thinking can be achieved by youth with access to technology. It is no wonder that Satya Nadella was impressed by both the young boy’s game and ambitions.Further reading: India, Microsoft, Satya Nadella