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Satya Nadella revives a trillion-dollar empire thanks to the love for his child with cerebral palsy

How did a father’s love for his son with cerebral palsy for 26 years help CEO Satya Nadella revive the trillion-dollar Microsoft empire?

Recently, the news that the disabled son of the Microsoft CEO passed away has shocked and saddened many people. The 26-year-old Zain Nadella who is the only son of CEO Satya Nadella, passed away on the morning of February 28, 2022.

The passing of a son with congenital cerebral palsy is a great loss for both the Nadella family and Microsoft because it was this disabled boy who helped CEO Satya understand empathy, thereby completely changing the company’s working culture.

Microsoft’s savior

Satya Nadella is one of the few Indian immigrants working at tech giant Microsoft. His first projects can be mentioned as interactive television products or Windows NT operating system.

After a stint as vice president of Microsoft bCentral – the web services group for small businesses, in 2001, Nadella became vice president of Microsoft Business Solutions, which was formed after a series of acquisitions. Microsoft Business Solutions then developed a cloud-based CRM system to compete with Salesforce.

26 năm thấm nước mắt nuôi người con bại não của CEO Microsoft: Ngoài đời ‘thét ra lửa’, về nhà có lúc gục ngã, than trời ‘tại sao điều này xảy ra với tôi?’ - Ảnh 1.

Years later, Satya Nadella’s career continued to advance. In February 2011, he was appointed president of the Tools and Servers Division, which oversees Microsoft data center products, such as Windows Server.

Under the operation of Nadella, this division’s revenue increased by nearly 4 billion USD after only 2 years. However, at this time, Microsoft was in big trouble when Windows 8 became a disaster, and demand for PCs dropped seriously. Smartphone lines at that time were also superior to Microsoft products.

In February 2014, after much speculation, Microsoft announced that Nadella officially became the new CEO of the company. A reformation began there.

He allowed the rival operating system Linux to run on the Windows Azure cloud service, launched the Microsoft Office office suite for Apple’s iPad, a number of applications for iPhones and smartphones running Android operating system…

26 năm thấm nước mắt nuôi người con bại não của CEO Microsoft: Ngoài đời ‘thét ra lửa’, về nhà có lúc gục ngã, than trời ‘tại sao điều này xảy ra với tôi?’ - Ảnh 2.

Under the “dynasty” of Nadella, Microsoft is entering a new era, where a series of previous immutable laws are erased. The giant Microsoft at that time really woke up and gradually returned to its inherent position.

By June 2021, Satya Nadella received support from the Microsoft board of directors for the position of company president, in addition to the current CEO role. This is the first time that Microsoft has a leader to hold two positions at the same time.

A different attitude

In an interview with Bloomberg news in 2017, CEO Nadella admitted that raising children with disabilities, persevering with them over the years, and parents’ love have helped him understand empathy very well. in social.

This empathy is reflected not only in Microsoft’s focus on designing products that better serve people with disabilities under Nadella, but also in the company’s culture.

As soon as he took office in February 2014, one of CEO Nadella’s first actions was to ask all senior executives to read the book “Nonviolent Communication” by Marshall Rosenberg.

This work emphasizes effective communication through compassion, empathy and understanding rather than competition or judgment of others.

So Nadella from the beginning announced that he wanted to change the working culture of the largest software company in the world at that time. This goes against the style of the old executives. While founder Bill Gates is famous for his habit of prying and berating employees or Steve Ballmer espousing tough business tactics that frighten opponents and hate customers, Nadella is very soft.

Fortune reported that being influenced by Buddhism as well as the love of a father for his disabled children for many years has given Nadella a completely different attitude. This CEO is famous for being calm even in the most controversial situations and always knows how to use positivity to encourage.

A father who loves his son dearly

Famous for his talent in leading Microsoft, but few people know that this CEO had to spend 26 tearful years with his son with cerebral palsy. His name is Zain Nadella, just passed away from a terrible disease at 26 years old.

All were shocked. The entire Microsoft staff prayed for Satya Nadella’s family and giving them some alone time to get through this loss.

“Zain will be remembered for his eclectic taste in music, his bright sunny smile, and the immense joy he brought to his family and all those who loved him,” said Jeff Sperring, CEO of The Children’s Hospital said.

26 năm thấm nước mắt nuôi người con bại não của CEO Microsoft: Ngoài đời ‘thét ra lửa’, về nhà có lúc gục ngã, than trời ‘tại sao điều này xảy ra với tôi?’ - Ảnh 3.

It is known that baby Zain from birth has weighed only 3 pounds. He is blind, has limited communication, is quadriplegic and is completely dependent on a wheelchair.

Nadella and his wife, Anu, were desperate at the time. They do not know what to do but cry: “Why is this happening to my wife and I?”.

However, the Microsoft CEO got his spirit back. He got used to being the father of a child with cerebral palsy, taking care of and spending most of his time with him at Seattle Children’s – where Zain was being treated.

26 năm thấm nước mắt nuôi người con bại não của CEO Microsoft: Ngoài đời ‘thét ra lửa’, về nhà có lúc gục ngã, than trời ‘tại sao điều này xảy ra với tôi?’ - Ảnh 4.

“There was a time when I completely broke down. I’m sad because bad things happened to me and Anu. Thankfully, she helped me realize many things. From what happened to Zain, I empathize with his pain and realize my responsibility, as Zain’s father,” CEO Nadella shared.

His family later donated $15 million to Seattle Children’s to support the field of neuromedicine and mental health care at the Institute. He and Anu also helped found the Zain Nadella Endowed Chair in Pediatric Neurosciences as part of Seattle Children’s Center for Integrative Brain Research.

“As fathers and mothers, our lives revolve around the needs of our children. Hopefully, in the process of honoring Zain’s journey to fight this terrible disease, we can make a small contribution to the care of the future young generation,” shared Anu Nadella.

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In an interview with the press, CEO Nadella recalled the time he visited Zain in the intensive care unit of Seattle Children’s. He realized that every medical device there was running Windows, a product of Microsoft.

“It’s a poignant reminder that our work at Microsoft goes above and beyond our usual mission. It keeps my son alive,” he said. “Zain has had a lot of arduous surgeries and has had to rely on Microsoft medical devices. You have taught me a lesson about the responsibility of a platform company, a technology company.”

Sharing with Bloomberg, the Microsoft CEO said that it was the difficulties in taking care of his children that taught him how to love and empathize. “Many people think that empathy is a quality you already have. I consider this to be the top priority in a business. Your company will not be able to meet the needs of customers if you do not know how to listen, “said Microsoft CEO.

He also added that the family feels very grateful and fortunate that throughout the years, health care professionals in Seattle have taken great care of Zain.

26 năm thấm nước mắt nuôi người con bại não của CEO Microsoft: Ngoài đời ‘thét ra lửa’, về nhà có lúc gục ngã, than trời ‘tại sao điều này xảy ra với tôi?’ - Ảnh 6.

“Anu and what happened to Zain taught me many things. I know how to forgive myself. None of us are perfect and none of us will be. Listen more. I think I’m as successful as I am today because I know how to face my own mistakes and shortcomings.”

Weight of giving birth

Right from the first days of taking power, CEO Nadella understood that things had to change quickly because Microsoft was dying. The corporation has lost the battle for smartphones. The company’s main revenue stream from software business licenses is eroding as businesses gradually move to cloud computing.

While giants like Amazon are successful with cloud computing, Microsoft still relies on revenue from software copyrights. Even the company’s own efforts to move into new areas encountered many internal resistance.

As a result, despite high profits, the company’s shares remained flat because investors all saw a bleak future for the company. In the technology market, the absence of innovation and improvement means being left behind. The lessons of Nokia and Apple are obvious proof.


Nadella understands this and he believes that the focus of Microsoft’s change must first lie on the working culture, building skills, empathizing with people, colleagues and customers is the first factor.

Next is the direction of what to invest because if you do not understand the crisis that the company is facing and what customers want, instead just sitting on the profit from software copyright, Microsoft will become the second Nokia.

So Nadella, with 26 years of raising children with disabilities, has made it clear that Microsoft’s old aggressive culture is no longer welcomed. This leader never raised his voice or showed anger towards anyone. The new CEO of Microsoft always tries to create the most comfortable working environment for everyone, not writing angry emails or yelling in meetings.

Even with rivals, Nadella is willing to cooperate, not compete as fiercely as the old culture. The CEO struck a deal with Salesforce, which competes with Microsoft’s CRM. Nadella also signed up with Linux Red Hat, its Windows Server rival, to use Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing business.

Thanks to empathy and flexibility, only 4 years after taking office, Nadella was able to separate the old Windows development team into 2 separate teams, thereby officially adjusting the internals, reducing dependence on software copyright to focus on developing new technologies.

Nadella’s efforts have brought remarkable results, Microsoft’s total capitalization increased from $300 billion when it first came to power to $2.5 trillion, thereby becoming the most valuable company in the world, on par with Apple or Google. The cloud computing business is currently the second most profitable for Microsoft while other services are still growing.

Obviously, while Microsoft gradually became disabled, CEO Nadella, with his 26 years of experience in raising his disabled son with his father’s love, revived the whole corporation thanks to the secret of sympathy and patience.


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