With Web Summit wrapped up I think this was my favourite moment. I was chosen at Brad Smith’s Q&A to ask a question. For those of you who do not know, Brad is the President of Microsoft. Brad is 59 years old and lives in Redmond which is just outside of Seattle. Unfortunately, I did not get to ask more than one question, but I think his response is interesting and how could I not include this technology mogul on my site!
Question: As an industry and thought leader yourself, if you had to choose the one most important trait that a great leader such as yourself must possess, what would it be?
Mr. Smith's response:
“It’s actually not hard. It’s the desire to keep learning. You know when I think about my career, when I think about how I’ve seen other people do at Microsoft, and especially when I think about the future; at any moment in time we all know what we know, we can do well what we can do well and whatever that is, no matter how great it is, it is likely to be insufficient compared to what we will need to be doing 5 or 10 years from now. When you see people that are comfortable learning, when you see people that learn to ask questions well, when you see people develop broad shoulders or a sense of humility; so they can learn from other people and borrow what they do well and when you really hone your curiosity; I think that’s the key. When I think about the people that I got to learn from whether it was Bill Gates, Satya Nadella, or Steve Ballmer; the common trait for all of them, was their enormous sense of curiosity. That is something that if you have you should pursue it, and if you don’t have it you should develop it; it will serve you better than anything else.”
I love Mr. Smith’s answer and after the Q&A I ran over to get a picture with him. For Mr. Smith time is money and that was made apparent as the ushers moved him over to centre stage where he was doing a talk for 30,000 people… minutes after talking to me. Although this is not the best shot of Brad and I, hopefully I will have another opportunity down the road for a better one.