The British Are Coming!! UK Prime Minister Visits Cisco
SAN JOSE, CA – British Prime Minister Tony Blair visited Cisco headquarters today to talk about innovation, research and development, education and how the UK can attract more Silicon Valley investment. Cisco CEO John Chambers gave the Prime Minister a tour of some of Cisco’s latest technology as well as some soon to be announced technology. Suffice it to say that with Mr. Blair’s passion for the environment, the yet-to-be announced technology was right up his alley.A who’s who of Silicon Valley attended the luncheon discussion, including HP CEO Mark Hurd, Apple CEO Steve Jobs, AMD CEO Hector de J. Ruiz, Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz (whom I’m sure will also be blogging on this), and Google Chief Internet Evangelist Vint Cerf among others. Cisco’s UK country manager Duncan Mitchell; Cisco VP Marthin De Beer; Cisco IBSG SVP Gary Bridge; Laura Ipsen, Vice President of Worldwide Government Affairs; and Monique Meche, Cisco European Government Affairs head also participated in the meeting.As I stated in a previous blog, “What does a head of state get out of meeting with Cisco? First and foremost: knowledge. Cisco invented the technology that forms the core of the Internet. We use the secure internet to run our business and save billions of dollars in operational costs and efficiencies. We can help governments do the same.” The Prime Minister and his team visited Cisco to hear from Silicon Valley executives about innovation and research and development, but I would also surmise that Mr. Blair’s team saw and read about U.S. President Bush’s visit to Cisco this past April, where Mr. Bush stated he was happy to be at”one of America’s most innovative companies.” Cisco is, of course, honored to have hosted President Bush and now Prime Minister Blair in such a short span of time, but I would be remiss if I didn’t point out what I see as the obvious: they visited Cisco because they view us as the center of Silicon Valley and the center of innovation. I’m not saying that Mr. Bush picked up the phone after his visit to Cisco and said, “Tony, if you want to see innovation, go to Cisco,” but, clearly, they both wanted to be at the center of technology and they chose Cisco. Mr. Blair’s #10 Downing team and the British consulate in San Francisco were very professional and a pleasure to work with and we were honored to have hosted the entire delegation. Now that we have hosted 25% of the G8 this year, the invite remains to the rest of the G8 as well as to other world leaders to come and visit Cisco. We look forward to hosting you.