Blake Irving worked at Microsoft from 1992 to 2007 before he left to go to Yahoo! and then move on to become the CEO of GoDaddy. Back when he was running Online Services for Microsoft though, he worked with Satya Nadella, and came away impressed.
Matt Rossoff of the Business Insider interviewed Irving on a number of topics, but one of them was the choice of Nadella as CEO, a choice that made a lot of sense to Irving:
“Engineers love him, he’s a business guy, he’s super technical, and he’s not a type A plus. He’s a type A because he works his ass off, but he’s a sensitive guy and he listens.”
Irving continued, “There’s two types of listeners at that company. The guy who listens for the break in the sentence so he can interrupt you and get his point of view in, or the guy who listens to you to really understand and learn. And Satya was always the guy who listened to really understand and learn.”
Irving went so far as to call Nadella “the only guy” internal to the company that he would have chosen for the CEO job.
Nadella has certainly been making his mark at Microsoft, even though a number of projects he’s been credited with, like the move to bring Office to Android and iOS, were in motion long before he took the job. Still, he’s also been working hard to change the culture at the company, trying to build a “challenger’s mindset”, and has made a generally favorable impression with analysts and investors.
What do you think of the job Nadella has done so far?