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Which CEO said: "The customer is not our highest priority"

January 4, 2008 at 12:00 pm PST

In the spirit of the U.S. Presidential campaign season where candidates must differentiate themselves from other candidates...and, on occasion, unfortunately, "go negative" to highlight what they believe voters should know about their opponents, I offer you this Q&A with Juniper CEO Scott Kriens by Mark Boslet of the San Jose Mercury News.Kriens states the following: "The highest priority for the company is our own employees. By contrast, we don't say it is the customer or it's the investor. If we make a priority out of making employees successful - the deal in return is that we get a commitment to reach the objectives that are the responsibility of that person."Correct me if I'm wrong, but you don't have any employees if you don't have customers or investors, right? Juniper is a good company and has been a good competitor to Cisco, but I think their CEO may have misspoken a bit here. At Cisco, we know that we don't (as employees) exist without customers, which is why they are our top priority. Employees and Shareholders round out our top three most important constituents, but customers are definitely #1. This is why our bonuses are based on customer satisfaction. Read More »

2008 Technology Predictions...or Resolutions...or Whatever...

December 31, 2007 at 12:00 pm PST

There is an interesting column in the Wall Street Journal today about Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner" 25-years later. The columnist, Jason Fry, remembered seeing the movie as a young teenager and compared it to seeing the new "final cut" version now, even commenting on what technology was envisioned in the movie in 1982...for the year 2019, when the movie was set. Last year, when Pew Internet Project put out their predictions for the internet in 2020, I also harkened back to the Blade Runner in a blog post.Twenty-five years is a long time in technology years, so who knows what is going to happen in the year 2032, but I'm going to attempt some technology predictions (or resolutions...or hopes) for next year. 1. Cell phones and credit cards will finally merge. Sure, the technology is already here for this, but why are we still carrying around a sheet of plastic to make purchases? As Chevy Chase as Fletch as Gordon Liddy once said, "it's all ball bearings nowadays."2. The U.S. will institute a national broadband policy. After listening to Michael Krasny interview John Kao on his book "Innovation Nation," it looks like the time is finally here to get a national broadband plan together. Or, as Will Farrell as Ricky Bobby once said, "if you ain't first, yer last." Read More »

Home For the Holidays...Virtually with Cisco TelePresence

December 27, 2007 at 12:00 pm PST

Having already been to North Carolina three times this year to show off our new son, Jack...and, now that he is an active, crawling, exploring, fidgety, creeping, one-man wrecking crew 10 month old...we thought it prudent to skip the cross-country flight this holiday season. Jack did, however, want to see his Earnhardt Grandpma, Grandpa, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, etc...all of whom (most of whom) are still in North Carolina. Last year, this would have been a quandary...this year, however, we all got together via TelePresence. Jack, my wife and I were in San Jose...our Earnhardt parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins were in Raleigh, NC...a mere 2800 miles away. Cisco set up a program called "Home for the Holidays" to have Cisco families use our Telepresence systems to "see" loved ones that they ordinarily would have missed this holiday season...as you can see from the pictures, all the Earnhardts were/are very appreciative on both ends of the system. These "virtual" visits (which are high-definition and life-size) will come to be fairly common in the years to come as more and more systems are set up (possibly in retail for rentals) and then in three or more years in the home. And, we're told, at some point, they will be holographic visits and you'll feel that much more Obi-Wan Kenobi. Read More »

Charlie Giancarlo Departure

December 20, 2007 at 12:00 pm PST

You have likely already seen the news that our Chief Development Officer and Executive Vice President Charlie Giancarlo is leaving Cisco to pursue new professional opportunities. Charlie is a great guy and a great leader and his presence at Cisco will definitely be missed.Our Chairman and CEO, John Chambers, offered these kind words about Charlie: ""Å“Charlie has been a close colleague and a good friend during the 14 years he has been at Cisco, and he has made many significant contributions to the company during that time. He has built a seasoned management team that has the strength and skills to execute against our technology vision in order to capture growth opportunities and market share. Cisco is very proud to have had Charlie as one of its leaders, and he will always be considered part of Cisco's extended family." Read More »

Congratulations to Wake Forest: NCAA Champs in Soccer

December 17, 2007 at 12:00 pm PST

I congratulated Italy when they won the World Cup. I congratulated Wake Forest when (we) they won the ACC in football last year...first time in 30 years. And, now, the little-school-that-could, Wake Forest University (my alma mater) has defeated the Big 10 juggernaut Ohio State for the NCAA National Championship in soccer. Total enrollment of undergrads at The Ohio State University: 46,690. Total enrollment of undergrads at Wake Forest University: 4000. Sure, Ohio State can only put 11 players on the field at a time and not 10 to our 1, but still...There is no real point to this blog, other than to perhaps gloat a bit...okay, a lot. But, a larger point here (if there is one) is that strength in numbers is only an advantange when you can put the full force of those numbers behind an effort. Wake Forest could never win against Ohio State, say, in a water balloon fight. We'd get pummelled. Ten Ohio State students barraging each Wake Forest student with water balloons at once would not be a fun thing to watch. You put our best 11 soccer players on a field against their best 11 players and we have a shot...and, in fact, we won. Which should be a lesson for us all.How can I bring this back to Cisco, you ask? Cisco is THE networking company. We have over 63,000 employees worldwide. We invented routing and switching...the technology that manages the flow of information from point A to point B...be it voice, video and/or data. We are slowly, but surely, taking daily steps towards our goal of becoming the most important technology company in the world. We, however, can never gloat...or rest. There are hundreds of great competitors out there who are waiting, lurking and watching for us to make a misstep so that they can step in with their technology and take our business away. This is why we always must remain vigilant and LISTEN to customers constantly. We may be the biggest networking company with the best technology, but we can never lose that "healthy paranoia" that Andy Grove taught us so well. Read More »