Satya Nadella says he would be 'disgusted' if employees celebrated Microsoft's near $1 trillion value (MSFT)


Satya Nadella

  • Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella doesn’t think market cap-related milestones like becoming the most valuable publicly traded company are worth celebrating.
  • He said market capitalization is not a “meaningful” benchmark and celebrating it would mark “the beginning of the end,” when speaking to Bloomberg Businessweek. 
  • He said Microsoft is “learning how not to look at the past.”
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Last November, Microsoft reached a critical milestone as it surpassed Apple to become the most valuable company in the world. 2019 is proving to be a banner year for Microsoft as well, as its market capitalization hit $1 trillion in April, which made it the most valuable publicly traded company yet again.

But CEO Satya Nadella doesn’t view these highlights as achievements worth celebrating, he said in a recent interview with Bloomberg Businessweek. “I would be disgusted if somebody ever celebrated our market cap,” Nadella told the publication, adding that valuation is not a “meaningful” benchmark. He continued to say that celebrating such a milestone would mark “the beginning of the end.”

Nadella’s view says a lot about the culture and values he’s instilled at Microsoft during his tenure at the helm. For Nadella, success is about looking to the future rather than focusing on past achievements. “At Microsoft we have this very bad habit of not being able to push ourselves because we just feel very self-satisfied with the success we’ve had,” he says. “We’re learning how not to look at the past.”

It’s not the first time the Microsoft CEO has made such comments. When speaking with journalists at an event in January, he said: “I’m not one of those guys who says, ‘let’s celebrate some market cap measure.’ That’s just not stable.”

To Nadella’s point, Microsoft held the position of world’s most valuable company from November 2018 until January when Amazon took the number one spot. 

Nadella’s comments reflect the “growth mindset” he’s instilled in Microsoft, a notion that involves not taking success for granted and taking action to overcome constraints rather than complaining about them.

He details this mentality in his book “Hit Refresh,” in which he shared an anecdote about how he once became “irritated” when an employee asked him why a certain app wasn’t compatible with a printer. “Make it happen,” he said. “You have full authority.”

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