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“Broadband is Fourth Essential Infrastructure”

It’s not my opinion. Most citizens and businesses in emerging markets cities (from Buenos Aires, Johannesburg to St Petersburg) think their local governments should play a role to facilitate Internet access and provide services online, according to a new survey, Cities Net Opportunities (.pdf document)And probably there is no better time to do it than right now. In the past, governments build highways and bridges as a public expenditure policy to create jobs and contribute to the well being during challenging times. Today, the network, in this case broadband connections and network infrastructure, is the essential facility to create jobs, generate productivity gains and competitiveness, and let a country compete in the information economy-and its cost is a fraction of the cost of other types of basic infrastructure.If you consider that less than 5% of the population have broadband connections in emerging markets (some countries less than 1%); that those who have Internet connections have seen great benefits. Read More »

Fast Company Cover Story on Cisco

imageFast Company’s December/January cover is on our favorite company…you got it: Cisco. Reporter Ellen McGuirt takes an in-depth look at our company’s collaborative management leadership model and our technology strategy.A few of my favorite quotes:

“Cisco, (Chairman and CEO John) Chambers argues, is the best possible model for how a large, global business can operate: as a distributed idea engine where leadership emerges organically, unfettered by a central command.”


“Chambers wants nothing less than a total redesign of the corporation as we know it. Starting at the top: “You won’t have to depend on the CEO anymore.” About those Cisco execs who left, he says he came to realize that “some people need a command-and-control environment.” But that’s not the way of the future: “We now have a whole pool of talent who can lead these working groups, like mini CEOs and COOs. We’re growing ideas, but we’re growing people as well.” In fact, he says, “where I might have had two potential successors, I now have 500.””

I hope you enjoy reading it.

Managing in a Challenging Economy

There have been a number of media reports on our expense control measures and what we are doing to manage our business in this challenging economy. On our Q1 FY ’09 earnings call, we announced that we will be reducing our expenses for FY09 by over $1B from our annualized expense run rate given the challenging macroeconomic environment. We will target reductions in travel and discretionary-related expenses, including offsites, outside services, equipment, events, trade shows, marketing and other activities. As part of this effort, we will also implement a year-end shutdown of the US-Canada theater from December 29, 2008, through January 2, 2009 (note that January 1 is already a holiday). There will be some exceptions for targeted business-critical teams including technical assistance services and channel partner and customer product ordering services. While this is not our first year-end shutdown as we followed this longstanding Silicon Valley practice in our early years as a company, it is our first in over a decade. Given the difficult macroeconomic conditions, we believe our cost control focus at this time is appropriate while still providing our partners and customers with critical services over the year-end period.Post-earnings we also posted this video of Chairman and CEO John Chambers stating, in part, that while we will undertake appropriate expense management initiatives in the current environment, we will also make some calculated investments into areas where we believe we can accelerate development and Cisco’s leadership.

Marilyn Nagel on Diversity & Inclusion at Cisco

I recently sat down with Marilyn Nagel, director of diversity and inclusion at Cisco, to gather her insights on why these topics are imperative to Cisco and its employees. In this Q&A, Marilyn responded to the following questions:How do you define diversity and inclusion?What kind of employee resource groups does Cisco offer?What is your favorite thing about the work environment at Cisco?

2008 Cisco Corporate Social Responsibility Report Online

Corporate citizenship has long been a priority at Cisco and we are proud to be partners in initiatives that make a difference in many global communities. Education initiatives, responsible management and CSR governance, energy efficient measures for our buildings and networking technology solutions for customers–are just some of our investments we have made in products, cash and expertise. With today’s release of Cisco’s fourth annual CSR report, our role in responsible business practices and social investment is top of mind for the company.Corporate citizenship was also the focus of an event hosted by The Economist in San Francisco earlier this week. As a participant in the conference, it was great to exchange ideas and hear perspectives from different business leaders on the role corporate citizenship plays in their respective organizations. Cisco chairman and CEO, John Chambers, talked about driving social and economic impact through corporate citizenship with Matthew Bishop, senior business writer for The Economist and Randa Ayoubi, CEO of Rubicon, during a TelePresence conversation shown at the conference. Research findings relating to the role of corporate citizenship in business can also be found in The Economist report”Corporate Citizenship: Profiting from a Sustainable Business.” Post by Tae Yoo, SVP, Corporate Affairs