Years ago, my family got a Roomba—we all watched wide-eyed as the robot vacuumed up crumbs, bumped into walls, magically “knew” when the whole room was done and docked itself to charge. Wow!
The initial wow wore off after a few uses, but the device continued to delight: My young son giggled with glee the first time it played a few funereal notes to announce it had run out of juice mid-job; I marveled at its perfectly-tailored-to-the-task cleaning tools the first time I used them.
I am not saying the Roomba’s design is perfect; my inner engineer has plenty of ideas to improve it. But I am saying that it has an element that’s critical to great design: It delights not just at first sight but over and over again.
Delight at First (and Second and Third) Sight
Building products that delight over and over again is what gets me up in the morning. It’s what I came to Cisco to do. I am so pleased to say that we’re doing just that: As we announced yesterday, earnings in our collaboration group are up for a sixth consecutive quarter.
How did we go from 10 consecutive quarters of flat or declining revenue to 6 in a row of incredible growth? Simple: by making sure we delight not just at first sight but over and over again. We are fully focused on continuous improvement. Case in point: It made me smile the other day when an engineer in one of our internal Cisco Spark rooms asked if anyone knows anyone who owns a Tesla, because he wants to run some tests on how our Spark app works in the vehicle.
The Cloud as Game-Changer
Speaking of Tesla and Spark, the cloud is a complete game-changer as far as our ability to continuously delight. Products can be one thing today and something completely different tomorrow, thanks to cloud-based software updates. While my Roomba is still the exact same device it was when I first unboxed it, the cloud-connected video device I use to make calls every day gets a steady stream of new features and capabilities that make meetings better.
I am so excited about this milestone our collaboration group has achieved. And I am equally as excited about the future of the rest of the portfolio I oversee: Great things are happening in the Internet of Things. This business is the future—not only of Cisco, but of the world.
Thanks to our customers for all the great feedback that helps us keep innovating in the right direction. And, thanks to our engineers for staying curious and ahead of the curve.
Keep those seatbelts fastened—things get very interesting from here on out!