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Microsoft Ignite NZ 2016: Breaking the rules with Dona Sarkar

27 Oct 2016

Dona Sarkar is the head of the Windows Insiders Program at Microsoft, which keeps her fairly busy. However, she’s also the founder of the diversity in STEM organisation, Fibonacci Sequins and she’s even launching her first fashion line - Prima Dona Style.

As a Keynote speaker at Microsoft Ignite NZ 2016, Sarkar shares her secrets to pushing the boundaries of productivity.

“There are billions of people in the world, who sit around and wait for things to happen to them.

I have been in your amazing island nation for just 48 hours and I’ve discovered something really interesting, I’ve discovered that Kiwis are not people who sit around and let things happen to them. Kiwis are people who go out and happen to things.”

Sarkar explains that at the end of the four day event all attendees are going to go home invigorated, inspired and ready.

“You’re inspired, right now you’re inspired,” she says.

“But, you’re going to go home and then you’re going to hear it. It’s going to be really scary, because it would have followed you home. There is something really really creepy behind me right now. You know what it is? Adulthood.”

She explains that we all couldn’t wait to grow up, and now, we wake up and we go to work - we finish the thing that we started yesterday.

“But there’s that voice inside our head that we can’t squash, no matter what. That voice brought you hear, that voice says there has to be more than this,” says Sarkar.

“We have to break the cycle, our days have gone binary and that is not why we got into this industry. We’re not here to figure out what’s next and jump on the wave, hell no. We’re here to invent the wave.

It’s part of us, it’s part of what makes us so uniquely human and trying to squash it isn’t going to get us anywhere.”

Sarkar explains that for humans, to create or not is not the option, it’s how we’re going to do it – that’s the option. For all of us, she says that there are three things we all need to be true for us to be satisfied with life.

  1. We have to be learning
  2. We have to be using our skills
  3. We have to feel like our work makes a lasting impact

“When these three things are true, magic happens. That’s when you wake up in the morning and can't wait to go to work," she says. 

“We have to let go of this idea of following rules, rules are somebody else’s opinion. You don’t need permission to improve your business.”

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