CEOs across the tech industry are always striving to build solid, valuable companies. But how do you build an organization with truly lasting value—over multiple decades and business cycles?
That was the core question addressed by speakers at the fourth annual Battery Leadership Summit, held Nov. 8 in San Francisco. Speakers including Rajesh Jha, the Microsoft executive vice president who oversees major business lines including devices, Windows client and Office; Christa Quarles, the CEO of restaurant-reservation service OpenTable; Jay Simons, the president of Atlassian; Dave McJannet, the CEO of HashiCorp; and Ali Ghodsi, CEO of Databricks*, all spoke about creating value in onstage interview sessions.
Attendees at the event included nearly 120 CEOs, company founders and other executives affiliated with Battery.
Microsoft’s Jha, who kicked off the event, discussed Microsoft’s transition from building on-premise software to creating products for the cloud—and the company’s journey as a technology leader over more than 40 years. The company’s best successes, he said, came when Microsoft “unshackled teams from the business models that had made them successful . . . you have to perform by transforming.”
Incredibly, Microsoft has had only three CEOs since the company was founded in 1975. Each leader brought a different leadership style and outlook, according to Jha, who joined Microsoft in 1990. Always listening to customers and serving their needs, as well as fostering internal cultures that allow for change, have been two keys to Microsoft’s success, he said.