Cisco Blogs

Confessions of a Productivity Geek

- November 10, 2009 - 1 Comment

Vintage JoystickCollaboration – is it something you ‘do’ or something we want you to ‘buy?’  Yes! Kinda. 

This ‘catch-all’ term for a never-ending set of tools, technologies and processes continues to evolve.  As a self-professed productivity geek I just love this stuff.  In my highly valued opinion, Cisco is ‘the most advanced’ provider of tools that embrace and work to solve the real challenges inherent in ‘getting things done’ with today’s business needs firmly in place.  

Allow me to explain –

The Internet has enabled a pace of change and a level of interconnectivity that is unparalelled in human history. The pace of innovation has flipped a seldom understood but undeniable fact that we (as business) are no longer in control.  The consumerization of technology, driven by rewarding competition has us all playing and enjoying new gadgets and capabilities like never before.  This is a great thing…until you begin to realize a few uncomfortable facts: We are easily distracted and we have conveniently ignored the needs of ‘business’.

1. Distractions. 

Life seems backwards sometimes.  As I think back to my very modest beginnings before computers, before color TV was even commonplace…I remember being able to focus, take time (cause that is all I seemed to have) and really Old Cassette Deckdig into stuff.  When I needed music for a party, I literally held a cassette deck up to a speaker with the radio on…I needed to create a mix tape! As different technologies would creep into my life like Atari or video games at the convenience store…I would spend time with them and maximize the heck out of them.  I would find tricks, unintended programming, creative ideas that went beyond anything ever intended by the original designers.  Now, flash forward to today.  I have more gadgets and access to compute power and people than EVER before…and no time to really learn it the way I would like. Ugh!  I would have gone nuts to have add my MacBook Pro with iLife available to me as a student when I was studying music full time.  My 20/20 hindsight tells me clearly that I would be much more of a master than I am now..but that is a distortion. The tools we have available to us work so well because there are so many of them. Competition and availability continue to drive incredible creativity in the consumer markets and as a result we are constantly lead (encouraged?) to buy/upgrade to the next new thing and we have not even scratched the surface of the current thing. I happily play into this…but I long for the time back when.  I miss being bored. When I try to tell my kids this…they look at me funny. They still, every so often, have the nerve to claim there is nothing to do…and within 10 feet of them there is a PlayStation3, a Nintendo WII, multiple computers (Apple, Windows, Linux…), cameras, TV’s with over 300 channels and real on demand viewing (we just got FiOS!)…and oh yeah…soccer balls, baseball, bikes, football…sunshine. 

2.Its now consumer first – business second, (if at all).

As a GTD devotee (See Rob Corddry interview on LifeHacker)I love the endorphin rush of a completed checklist. But I really have to make sure I am as focused as need to be actually getting the right stuff done.  Its so easy to be busy. The whole point of this challenge for business is that IT is no longer in control…users have new sets of expectations and it is easier than ever before to creatively bypass the tools your company is (or is not) giving you.   The knee jerk (but very understandable) reaction from business is to restrict it as best they can.  No social media, no non-work related sites…but wait.  What is a non-work related website?  Some are certainly obvious but many are not.  This is not easy – we are now so borderless that they are inifinte shades of gray here and if we stop and think about it we are in the midst of the most productivity enabled time in history and business is missing it.  This stuff is not easy for business because all of it changes so fast, users adopt new things on the consumer side so quickly and NONE OF IT has any respect for the needs of the business.  Business needs reliability, consistency, security, respect for pre-existing data, applications, protocols, and accountability. This stuff is ignored in the great consumer explosion we are in.

Here is my point. (finally!)  Cisco is rolling out answers here and the companies that embrace this have a chance to leap-frog the competition.

Two action items here (beyond any ranting you want to do in the comments…)

1. Do like I do and learn at the feet of a communications master – John Chambers.  Watch John present Cisco’s vision for Collaboration and some incredible new stuff being announced in the Cisco Collaboration Portfolio. 

2. Our TechWiseTV Collaboration Host (many of you know her as ‘Voice Chick’) Tina Shakour has put together a fantastic show on SmartPhones with a focus on the tools and technologies Cisco has within this launch that will solve some very real, very big problems with mobility and the workforce today.   Here is the preview clip: (register for the November 12 viewing with Live Q&A here)

Follow our TechWiseTV show on Twitter:

Follow Tina at

In an effort to keep conversations fresh, Cisco Blogs closes comments after 60 days. Please visit the Cisco Blogs hub page for the latest content.


  1. I remember being able to focus, take time (cause that is all I seemed to have) and really Old Cassette Deckdig into stuff."" :)))"