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Counting Down to Cisco’s Collaboration Summit

In my hometown of Philadelphia, if you venture past Center City (“downtown” for you out-of-towners) you’ll see row after row of very narrow, fairly identical homes connected by a common wall. These “row houses” are unique to the city of brotherly love. I never really knew how narrow they were until my mother told me the story of her first experience with…aviation.

As small children, my mother and her brothers attempted to build an airplane that they dreamed of flying through their city neighborhood. They spent many nights in the basement of their row house in South Philly nailing together the body, the wings and the propellers. Finally, after months of hard work, it was ready. The three of them carefully carried it up the stairs with great anticipation…and could not get it through the slender doorframe. They retreated back down the stairs. With great disappointment they took it apart and reassembled it in the alley outside and began their imaginary flight exercises.

My mother and uncles may not have gotten off the runway but they learned a valuable lesson (funny how all my mother’s stories had a lesson)—before undertaking a major project, it always pays to understand the big picture and plan accordingly.

Planning for effective collaboration is much the same.

At this year’s annual Cisco Collaboration Summit, I’ll be speaking on two topics that I will help to define and frame Cisco’s plans and strategy for Collaboration. During the Analysts and Consultants track, I’ll address the importance of putting “people at the center of collaboration.” Since I work for the world’s leading Networking and SaaS Collaboration company, it would be easy to fall into the trap of just talking about technology. But at this conference, I want our focus to be on people and the real user experiences that technology can enable. We are focused on having the ultimate collaboration experience anywhere, on any device with any content. And, to pay for my keep, I’ll also address Cisco’s Collaboration Strategy and technology roadmap. We’ve certainly come a long way in the last year with a lot of innovations and integrations!

Then on Thursday I’ll have the opportunity to bring you a lively panel discussion on how we are “Bringing the Cloud to Earth.” I love hosting panels! My colleagues and I will be discussing our cloud collaboration strategy and how we are enabling customers and service providers, with the customer’s point of view. I’m hoping there are lots of questions to keep the panel highly interactive.

Most importantly, I’m looking to learn from the attendees and have frank, open discussions with our customers about how we can meet our goal of “Being the World’s Connected Experience.” Yes, it’s a big goal but as Wilbur Wright (my mother’s “inspiration”) said in a letter to the Smithsonian in 1899, “I am an enthusiast…. I wish to avail myself of all that is already known and then, if possible, add my mite (sp)… It is only a question of knowledge and skill just as in all acrobatic feats.”

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