Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella discusses the metaverse and 2021 work norms

Satya Nadella
Satya Nadella (Image credit: Harvard Business Review)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently spoke with Harvard Business Review's Editor-in-Chief.
  • They discussed the current state of work, as well as other timely topics such as the "metaverse" concept.
  • Nadella managed to segue his discussion of the metaverse concept into a Microsoft Teams plug.

Harvard Business Review's Editor-in-Chief Adi Ignatius sat down for a video call with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella to discuss a bevy of topics ranging from the ever-popular "how has work changed" dialogue that's dominated 2021 to the science-fiction-tinged subject of "the metaverse."

Ignatius loosely framed the metaverse discussion with the idea that's it's a technological landscape of the future where our real world gets more deeply integrated with 3D augmented reality and virtual reality tech.

Nadella spoke about the metaverse by saying "there is both an outside-in and inside out" to describe the idea that it's not just about putting a computational reality over the top of our real one, but also about putting the real world inside a computer's domain. To give an example, he pointed out how Microsoft Teams meetings function, putting real-world elements into a digitized format. He then acknowledged the Ready Player One fantasy angle, referencing HoloLens and how really, with that sort of technology in mind, the metaverse has been around for a while.

"[...] So video [-based meetings] transcending to 2D avatars and 3D immersive meetings is probably as practical a way for us to think about how the metaverse really emerges," he said. He described the metaverse as another point along the continuum between physical and digital meetings, and that while it would get remote individuals closer to physicality than ever before, true physical interactions cannot be substituted.

The rest of the video contains Nadella's insights on work trends, leadership, and other elements pertaining to subjects he has expertise in as the CEO of Microsoft.

Robert Carnevale

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to