» Satya Nadella’s email to employees

It’s over 3,000 words long, so buckle up. Here are some selected quotes.

The day I took on my new role I said that our industry does not respect tradition – it only respects innovation.

Good start. Then he goes on for a long time about how wicked boss technology is.

Our customers and society expect us to maximize the value of technology while also preserving the values that are timeless. We will create more natural human-computing interfaces that empower all individuals.

I have no idea what that’s supposed to mean.

At our core, Microsoft is the productivity and platform company for the mobile-first and cloud-first world.

OK, that I get. It’s a decent enough summarization of what Microsoft should be trying to do.

We help people get stuff done. Stuff like term papers, recipes and budgets. Stuff like chatting with friends and family across the world.

I know you need to justify having bought Skype, but chatting with family is not a Microsoft Project milestone.

Microsoft has a unique ability to harmonize the world’s devices, apps, docs, data and social networks in digital work and life experiences so that people are at the center and are empowered to do more and achieve more with what is becoming an increasingly scarce commodity – time!

I don’t even know what to do with that. Traditionally, Microsoft as defined “the world’s devices” as “devices that run our operating systems”. I hope that’s part of the change he’s defining because their operating systems don’t hold the weight they used to.

Microsoft will light up digital work and life experiences in the most personal, intelligent, open and empowering ways.

Is soccer still on?

While today many people define mobile by devices, Microsoft defines it by experiences.

That’s what you say when you have no mobile device sales, sure.

In order to deliver the experiences our customers need for the mobile-first and cloud-first world, we will modernize our engineering processes to be customer-obsessed, data-driven, speed-oriented and quality-focused.

As opposed to our old processes which were engineer-obsessed, haphazard, slow and crappy.

OK, that’s a joke (sort of) but that’s the danger of making these kinds of generic, feel-good statements. A great swath of this letter reads like it was written by consultants.

Each engineering group will have Data and Applied Science resources that will focus on measurable outcomes for our products and predictive analysis of market trends, which will allow us to innovate more effectively.

Larry, you’re now in charge of measurable, predictive innovation. Good luck! [Larry is eaten by hyenas.]

Culture change means we will do things differently. Often people think that means everyone other than them. In reality, it means all of us taking a new approach and working together to make Microsoft better. To this end, I’ve asked each member of the Senior Leadership Team to evaluate opportunities to advance their innovation processes and simplify their operations and how they work.

Reminder: Mark Penn is on Microsoft’s Senior Leadership Team. So, that should go super-smooth and without any back-stabbing.

We have clarity in purpose to empower every individual and organization to do more and achieve more.

If a 3,000-word buzzword-addled letter doesn’t say “clarity” then what does? Nadella used “empower” 7 times in this letter. That is exactly 7 times too many.

We must each have the courage to transform as individuals.


OK, I’m being pretty pessimistic about this letter. But I found it way too long and filled with meaningless terminology. Overall, I think Nadella was the best choice of those floated for Microsoft CEO and I’ve been a fan of many of his moves so far. I don’t, however, find this letter inspiring.