We’re about to get a close-up look at how a creative and successful business leader is using his remarkable experience and passion to transform the civic and business landscape. It’s the latest chapter in an accomplished life dedicated to creating positive change in diverse communities. In his 22-year career at Microsoft, Robbie Bach led the creation and development of Xbox, the highly popular and successful video gaming system, in addition to other critical creative and leadership roles. In 2015 he published his first book, Xbox Revisited: A Game Plan for Corporate and Civic Renewal, and in 2021 he published his first novel, The Wilkes Insurrection. Robbie continues his leadership as consultant, catalyst, and speaker to civic, corporate, and university communities. In this conversation with Aviv Shahar, Robbie describes his current endeavors as “civic engineering,” the work we do every day to improve and transform our communities. He traces his personal journey from corporate leader to bridge builder — bringing together polarized political leaders in Washington, D.C., by creating new opportunities for working together. Robbie has an insider’s perspective on the role of technology and media in culture and communities, and is open about the religious faith that helps shape his world view. Robbie shares with Aviv some of his insights and advice, including:
- The American experiment is about the middle — the bell curve. When the bell curve gets torn apart by extremes and polarities, we’ve got a problem.
- My generation has to take accountability for allowing this cynicism to seep into our society through lack of strong leadership. We are handing the next generation a world in a not very good situation.
- I look to people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, and say it's going to be your world. If the environment is going to be fixed and we can still keep the lights on, you have to figure out how to do that.
- Grace is recognizing what's going on around us, what's happening to us, and knowing there have been purpose and achievement along the way; then being grateful for the good and the bad that have shaped our lives.
- If you're dealing with anxiety, find a way to talk about it and turn it into something productive; find a friend, a counselor, a coach, a spouse, whoever it is; don't be shy about asking for help.
- The ability to overcome is one of the most important character traits people can develop.
- Tragedy is a place where we learn and grow; it's where we triumph. It's where we figure ourselves out. It's where we say, Who am I? What am I doing?
- Take the long road, have a plan, and then know it’s going to change and be excited about it. You might have to zag a bit to be successful or get started, but that's okay.
This conversation is part of the continuing Portals discovery into what is emerging on the frontiers of human experience in this time of profound change. Information about upcoming special events can be found on the Events page. Also visit and subscribe to our YouTube channel.
Do we see the opportunity to shape it, or not? If we just let it happen, what will come may not be to our liking; but if we see it as an opportunity, we can shape it and turn it into something that is wonderful, and that gives us the ability for the next generation to have a really fruitful and intentional adventure.