A KwaZulu-Natal youngster who dropped out of school has nailed a top position as Microsoft regional director in South Africa.
At only 22, Taylor Gibb from Durban will have the heavy responsibility on his shoulders of working closely with product teams in Redmond, Washington, United States, as well as local Microsoft offices to align both business and technical strategy with existing and potential clients.
Unlike pioneers in the tech world who dropped out of university such as Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, Gibb dropped out of school at the age of 14 and went on to achieve success in his field before being appointed to the position.
“Leaving school at 14 taught me that I work best outside of my comfort zone. Whenever I get comfortable doing something I know it’s time for change. I need to keep moving and challenging myself; it’s just the type of person I am. There are many times when things get tough, but to me it’s just another challenge. I look for solutions, not problems,” he said.
He went on to become a successful software engineer at the Durban branch of one of the world’s largest software and gaming development companies, Derivco
He also began speaking publicly at local tech events and was recognised as the youngest Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) in the world — an award that is given to those who share their technical expertise of Microsoft products with others.
Being appointed to the position by Microsoft was no easy feat and a title one cannot apply to be employed to.
A regional director may only be appointed by another director or Microsoft employee who has to motivate for a candidate. Once shortlisted, candidates are then screened to see if they are fit for the title at the Microsoft headquarters.
Gibb said that he felt privileged and honoured to be chosen to take the role.
“It is going to allow me to make a bigger impact in the technology sector. I am very passionate about setting up processes that allow you to maximise ROI [return on investment] on your technical investments and this role is going to allow me to make better decisions on both the technical as well as ‘process’ side of things,” he said.
Gibb said anyone aspiring to being involved in the tech industry should follow their dreams and be in a position where they are happy.
“If you get up every morning and think ‘Argh, I have to go to work’ there is something wrong.”
Gibb will officially start in the position on April 1.
He will have to fly to Egypt at the end of May and the Microsoft HQ in Seattle later this year.