Satya Nadella talks about learning from cricket, buying LinkedIn and more in interview

In a new interview, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella talks about a number of subjects, including learning management lessons from cricket, why buying LinkedIn is a good idea and more.

In a chat with Bloomberg, Nadella explained what he learned from his favorite sport, cricket:

I grew up in India, and this was pre-India becoming a cricketing power and winning even its first World Cup. We were playing a cricket match, and that was the first time we were playing a club that had some overseas players. These were Australians. We were in such awe of these overseas players, and we sort of were watching rather than competing. A business manager of the team saw that I was fielding very far away from the action and just watching. He put me right next to the action, and it was a great lesson to say, "Look, when you're on the field, you compete. You can have a lot of respect for your competition, but you should not be in awe of them."

He also talked about the recent decision by Microsoft to acquire LinkedIn for $26.2 billion, even though historically the company has not had much success with major deals:

There are key things that I'm looking at as we look at acquisitions. The first is, is the core business that we are buying something that we feel is healthy, we're excited about, that's got momentum? When I look at both Minecraft and LinkedIn, they're great businesses that are growing. And so, in fact, if anything, our core job is to take that franchise and give it more momentum. In the case of Minecraft, it's the biggest PC game, and we are the PC company. Their growth was moving to console. We have a console. Therefore, we were a perfect owner. Same thing with LinkedIn. They're a professional network for the world. We have the professional cloud. Time will tell, but I'm very, very bullish.

Nadella also talked about how hard it is to change the culture of as big of a company like Microsoft. In addition, he believes that cloud computing, AI bots, machine learning and augmented reality devices like the HoloLens will be a part of a big technology shift in the future:

To me, it's the ultimate computer. If you think of your field of view as a human becoming an infinite digital display—so not only do you see the analog world, but you are able to see in it digital artifacts, any screen you want, any object you want. So that's what we're doing with HoloLens [Microsoft's augmented reality goggles].

John Callaham