Steve Ballmer's Productivity Secret: Make Every Second Count

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer shocked the tech industry over the weekend by announcing his intention to quit within the next year -- a surprising move given he has worked at Microsoft since 1980 and occupied the CEO chair since 2000. One key secret to his longevity in the role? A willingness to pack every second of his day for maximum efficiency.

Picture: Getty Images

I first encountered Steve Ballmer in January 1996 during a media briefing (his whistle-stop tours of Australia invariably included some form of press conference). He was executive vice president back then and not even that well-known within tech circles; Bill Gates was absolutely the dominant figure.

As I wrote at the time in a magazine profile, I was immediately struck by Ballmer's willingness to ignore conventional rules of social interaction:

Time is key to Ballmer; while local MD Chris Kelliher introduces him, he intently reads a newspaper. He pauses mid press-conference to make a note to send someone an e-mail. We'll keep, but he won't.

Some 17 years later, that gesture strikes me as still somewhat charmless, but undeniably efficient. If you want to get through a CEO-length to-do list, that's not going to happen if you dither.


Comments

    "Some 17 years later, that gesture strikes me as still somewhat charmless"

    He's developed Microsoft in his own image it seems.

    "A willingness to pack every second of his day for maximum efficiency"

    Angus, do you know just how useless Microsoft has become under Ballmer's reign? Given how far they've fallen while he's been CEO, I hardly think he's a good choice for praise. You might think he's being sooper-dooper 'efficient', but if he's making great use of time and Microsoft is still sucking, you probably need to rethink who you offer your (high) praise to. "Efficiency" without results is "worthless".

    Last edited 26/08/13 3:11 pm

      What on earth does that have to do with the topic at hand?

      Ballmer is efficient. That's all.

        Yeah, that's right. Efficient at making Microsoft *very* average.

Join the discussion!