10 Ideas I Learned from Satya Nadella Fireside Chat


One of the most surprising and memorable moments of the E2 conference was having the opportunity to hear CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, speak to the group. I will be honest I did not know much about him except for reading an article on him in Wired magazine.

I was more than impressed with Satya. He was so down to earth and I felt like he really understood education and educators. When he was speaking it felt so natural to him to just be himself. Here is the CEO of such a successful company and he comes in wearing regular clothes and speaking to us not AT us or as if he was above us.

His message really connected to me on many levels like all of the speakers and people at E2, but it really hit home to see it come from the CEO. This was a powerful moment in which I really felt like Microsoft is placing education at the forefront.

So often we hear lip service about this or that. So often we place our faith in people and companies that proclaim they care about education. I honestly feel like Microsoft is not paying lip service. The whole conference as a whole was a testament to them believing in education. The fact that the CEO took time to speak with us live and in person, field questions from the crowd, stayed patient through the chaos of the selfie moment, and more proved to me that I was in the right place.

Reflecting on his talk I a couple things really stood out to me

1. Democratization of technology to the world. The idea that with technology there is no reason that more people cannot access the tools needed to enhance education. Being at the conference opened my eyes to the fact that I more than blessed with the tools at my disposal where I work and am humbled by the educators who do more with less. I have been motivated to push my boundaries and expectations of myself as an educator.

2. Educators empower kids to be the best that they can be!

All I want to say is please never forget this mindset. Educators can change lives in profound ways. Often times we don’t have the luxury to always see the impact. We must believe in our mission and do our best to help students reach their goals.

3. Lifelong learner. This idea permeated throughout the talk

“Don’t worry there will be one more” phrase from his father that when he did bad on a test to keep at it and keep working stood out to me. We will make mistakes. We will have moments where we could and should do better. We must learn from those moments so they don’t repeat time and time again.

4. Growth Mindset by Carol Dweck

As much as this concept has been talked about time and time again I was struck that he referenced this book further cemented the idea that the power of growth mindset is huge. It is something that we must keep developing in students to allow them to achieve more.

In case you have not read the book, here is a link, and you must buy and read it now! One of the best books I have read on understanding the importance of mindset. I have blogged about growth mindset many times as well.

5. Computer augment our work, but will not replace. There will be displacement, but how can we adapt and grow along with the technology?

We can take the conference as an example. 87 countries represented. We are still connected and sharing using social media tools like Facebook and Twitter. We are able to share our learning via blogs and tweets. We can collaborate globally using Sway and other products. IF you are not growing with the opportunities given to you with technology, then we must work to help others see the value in the tools to make better versions of ourselves.

6. Technology can change what learning means to those who have learning issues.

Very powerful. Technology does leverage the playing field for learning. There are so many tools that can help bridge the gaps in learning. Equally as important, these same tools allow those with gifts to excel in new ways.

7. TV Whitespace for internet. Mindblown  by this idea and concept.

8. There is not an aspect of life or walk of life that is fundamentally changed by technology.

I love this idea! You don’t want to get into technology to create technology. You want to get involved in innovation to make life better! Such a powerful statement. The whole concept of looking at what impact you want to have on the world, get involved in the field, and then think about tech to make an impact. That is a huge mindset shift from what is often discussed when thinking technology and STEM.

9. Clarification Issue: OneNote does have translate feature

There is a question posed about the ability to translate in OneNote. It is possible and just wanted to post how to do so here.

10. Show courage in the face of opportunity.

Satya discusses showing courage each day educators starting with the opportunity to help students be their best.  Beyond the scope of the focus on educators I think the question is how do help students embrace the opportunities they have before them and take advantage? I see so many students not understanding how lucky they are to have the opportunities before them. This is my challenge to myself to help them find ways to see the potential all around them.


Overall, you can see I have a lot of ideas. I could write a few more, but these are the main ones. What ideas crossed your mind when listening to him talk? How will you take his words and make a positive contribution to society?

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