The Power of the Network to Change the Way We Work, Live, Play, and Learn

author: John Chambers, Cisco Systems, Inc.
published: June 4, 2013,   recorded: September 2005,   views: 2755

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John Chambers provides rich evidence of the way Cisco Systems has leveraged its core philosophy into a durable high tech success story. Chambers’ basics: catching market transitions; supply an educated workforce capable of teamwork; providing the appropriate infrastructure; and supportive government. If you’re in business, working this wisdom into a viable marketplace plan “is like a multidimensional chess game,” according to Chambers. Only the paranoid survive, and Cisco’s top 10 network IT competitors from a decade ago are gone, he says. A decade ago, Cisco was imagining a future where there would be “access anywhere anytime via any device,” so, says Chambers, “we weren’t just going to build routers and switches, but went into storage, wireless, and security.” Cisco also determined to be driven by the customer, because “if you listen to customers in the right way, they’ll tell you what market transitions are going on.”

Chambers describes how two Cisco clients suggested 12 years ago that a “new technology called fast Ethernet was the future” for networking – spurring Cisco’s move to acquire, and then dominate that technology. “If we can’t be number one or two in an industry segment, we don’t enter it,” he says. But Chambers sees major stumbling blocks ahead: “We’re not providing the educational foundation for innovation” in this country, he says, nor the technological infrastructure. “We’re falling behind in research and we need to provide a welcome mat and ‘please stay’ environment to students from around the world.” He warns, “I’m proud to be an American company but my jobs will go wherever the best infrastructure, innovation and supportive government is.”

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