The more your business embraces technology, the more pleased Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is.
Microsoft's principal goal, of course, is to sell software to companies everywhere. As a result, "turning everybody else into a tech company" is the best possible prospect, Nadella said on stage at the 2019 Fast Company Innovation Festival In New York City on Thursday.
Nadella said the software giant wants to democratize technology, making it accessible to "citizen developers" outside the tech hubs of Silicon Valley and Shenzhen. "We want to take the mystique out of it," he said. "That's how we see the future."
That's already long under way. LinkedIn data, Nadella said, found that 2017 was the first year when industries outside of tech hired more software developers than did the tech industry itself.
Nadella detailed what his vision of the commoditization of tech would mean: small businesses becoming more productive, multinationals becoming more digitally competent and competitive, and the public sector becoming more efficient--with better health and educational outcomes.
A long-term extension of that idea is ensuring equitable growth for businesses of all sizes, as well as other groups. "How do you get back to where the pie is growing, and everybody is participating?" he asked.
While he expressed optimism about that tech-centric future, Nadella did warn of the No. 1 threat to his, or any successful, growing company: complacency. It's easy to lose humility and stop pushing as hard, even if your market cap isn't approaching $1 trillion. And it's dangerous to start believing you're "God's gift to mankind," Nadella said. The recipe for success is to continually be learning, and by extension cultivate a workforce of "learn-it-alls," rather than "know-it-alls."
"Any feeling of 'mission accomplished' can knock us off," he added.