Ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer Now Gets His Zen on With Meditation

Mar 10, 2016

Ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, known for his primal screaming and bellicose cheerleading, is trying to find his inner Zen in retirement.

"While I loved every minute of what I was doing, I've actually loved every minute pretty much since I quit," he said Wednesday night at Fortune's Brainstorm Tech dinner in San Francisco. "I get a lot of time to work out, meditate, take it easy."

He continued: "You get to stretch every day, you do yoga—it's fantastic."

Of course, Zen is a relative term when it comes to Ballmer, who is now owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team. When not in a downward dog pose, he finds time to dunk a basketball in front of thousands of Clippers fans (with the help of a strategically placed trampoline) and dance like no one else can.

Ballmer stepped down from his CEO job at Microsoft two years ago as the company struggled amid intense challenges from Google and Apple. He had spent 34 years at Microsoft, including 14 years as CEO.

During his tenure, Ballmer was a pugnacious leader who relished combat with rivals. He gave impassioned (and occasionally sweaty) talks on stage at conferences and, by some accounts, was equally fervent in private. (One former Microsoft employee said Ballmer threw a chair when he told him that he had taken a job at Google.)

"I lived an intense life—it was great," Ballmer reflected on Wednesday. "It was programmed, I wanted to have phase of life post Microsoft. There was never any question in my mind to work until your 70 and then stop."

In addition to owning the Clippers, Ballmer said he is involved in a civic project to get governments to better disclose their spending. As he put it, it's like "a 10-k for government," a reference to the detailed financial documents that companies must file quarterly with federal regulators.

But unlike his time at Microsoft, Ballmer said about his current life: "There's no ship date on anything we're doing, there's none of that pressure. The best I can tell is that there's no revenue associated with anything we're doing, there's no quota."

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