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Think Different, Be Different

My usual perch is in the heart of Silicon Valley, but this week I’m in New York City for Interop. So when I heard the news Wednesday night about Steve Jobs passing, I felt a sense of the surreal. Nothing like hearing about something hard-hitting and close to home when you’re 3,000 miles away. While I didn’t know Steve Jobs personally, he has been a source of inspiration for me, from the start of my career, on. He was part of the legend of Silicon Valley that drew me from Toronto.

Clearly he has moved many and inspired untold numbers. So much has already been written, but I feel compelled to share two things that, for me, characterize the essence of his inspiration:

  1. A Steve Jobs quote as reported in All Things Digital: “When you’re a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will ever see it. You’ll know it’s there, so you’re going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.”
  2. From Forbes a few weeks ago, “The Top 10 Lessons Steve Jobs Can Teach Us – If We’ll Listen”: “To create the future, you can’t do it through focus groups…The customers today don’t always know what they want, especially if it’s something they’ve never seen, heard, or touched before.”

Steve Jobs challenged all of us to ‘think different.’ But more to the point, he set the bar that much higher. He inspires us to not settle for easy or mediocre, but to push for excellence not yet defined.

And, if you have a spare 15 minutes, please listen or watch Steve Jobs commencement speech at Stanford in 2005 where he says, among other elegant, inspiring things: “do what you love.”

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Cisco CEO John Chambers Statement on Steve Jobs

“The world lost a true visionary and great man today. Steve Jobs did more than simply shape our concepts of technology and invention, he helped define our understanding of how great innovation and design can bring people closer together. I, and everyone at Cisco, am deeply saddened by Steve’s loss. Our deepest sympathies go out to his colleagues and family. We’ll miss you, Steve, but your legacy will continue forever.”

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Cisco Catalyst 6500 at your fingertips, anytime, anywhere!

Cisco Live: Catalyst 6500 and Sup2T: Engaging  attendees with Mobile Devices

With the launch of the Sup2T supervisor, and associated line cards (69xx), for the Catalyst 6500 Family Switches, Cisco embarked on an innovative strategy to help attendees learn about the features of the Catalyst 6500 family of switches, by providing a simple “Trivia Game” that attendees could play by downloading a Catalyst 6500 Mobile app, directly to their mobile devices. 

Over 780 attendees completed the trivia game on iPhones and iPads, and each day at Cisco Live, three “winners” were randomly picked from all the attendees who had answered the most trivia questions correctly.

The mobile app, available at the iTunes app store, was a huge success, especially with its contextual set of features and content, centered  around the Catalyst 6500 family of switches.

Read More »

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Borderless Networks Will Set You Free! – Telework for Government

July 18, 2011 at 6:13 pm PST

There is a lot of buzz out there right now about Telework Solutions for Government as many agencies are making the transition that so many Corporations have already completed.  Personally, I haven’t worked full time in an office since pre-1996 and can’t imagine wasting that much time every day on preparations and commuting for no real purpose other than donuts, coffee and the latest office gossip.

Work is an activity, not a location in today’s professional world with pervasive networking capabilities and the Government is getting on board under the leadership of the current administration.

If you want to get a feel for the progress and momentum around this,  check out the public/private partnership at the Telework Exchange site focused on eliminating the Telework Gridlock.  Cisco is one of the sponsors of this activity because we see the value, have lived it for better than 15 years,  and can offer solutions to help make this a reality for our Government customers. Read More »

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In Between the Numbers: Penney’s Big News

June 15, 2011 at 11:07 am PST

 Thinking about the hiring of Apple’s Ron Johnson as the next CEO of J.C. Penney Co.

 I think it’s a brilliant move. for these reasons:

 Because – most of all – it signals that  J.C. Penney has determined that its future will be more dependent  upon its ability to create value through the  delivery of a differentiating, sustainable, and omni-channel brand experience than by the differentiation of its products.

 It signals an acknowledgement that apparel and domestic product is largely commoditized.

 It signals an acceptance of Wall Street’s insistence that the same-old merchant prince approach to the business is not going to move the dial.  

 Bravo, Penney’s.

 Johnson inherits a business that has declined some 11% in revenues since 2006, that doesn’t have iPhones and iPads to dazzle shoppers and drive traffic, and which has a brand aura more akin to Sears than to Apple. 

  He has huge challenges in front of him.   Like – it should be said – most of US retailing.

 But I like the odds.

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