Archive | February, 2014

When The Buck Doesn’t Stop

7 Feb

This week, Satya Nadella was picked to be the next CEO of Microsoft to succeed Steve Ballmer. Being a fellow Indian, I’m happy for him. However, an MBA replacing another MBA is not an appealing idea to me.

Steve Ballmer has been criticized for missing the search (Google) and mobile (Apple) revolutions. Microsoft’s stock price has been stagnant for a decade. The tech media has been pronouncing MS dead for years now, while MS keeps posting bigger and bigger revenues and profits, quarter after quarter.

Was Steve Ballmer a bad CEO? I don’t think so. He was brought in by Bill Gates to increase the revenues and profits of a public company, which he did quite spectacularly. But he is not a product or design guy like Steve Jobs. He didn’t have vision, but he had strategy. He was not innovative, but he knew how to make money.

When nobody questions why the design of a product sucks, when there are too many cooks in the kitchen, you get Windows 8. Surprisingly, MS got it incredibly right with Windows phone, but Windows 8 has an equally confusing design.

Will Satya Nadella be a numbers and strategy guy or a design and innovation guy? We’ll see soon. When there is nobody at the top with design sensibilities who can question the design of a product, the product usually sucks. In every industry, category, and market. Because the buck doesn’t stop with anyone.

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