Cisco kicked off its annual user conference, Cisco Live on Tuesday, June 12th. As it has for the last 10+ years, the event kicked off with a keynote from CEO John Chambers, which is normally one of the highlights of the event. I’ve seen a lot of Chambers keynotes over the years, and there have certainly been many of them, but I felt the keynote lacked some closing punch.
The keynote started out with a bunch of BMX bikers doing stunts to fire up the crowd. It was a very cool attention grabber, and not as cheesy as the roller-skating “Cisco Inferno” of a few years ago. The actual keynote started out with Chambers talking a lot about market transitions and the importance of catching them at the right time. This isn’t a new pitch for Chambers. He’s been talking about the importance of market transitions now for several years.
But this year he took a slightly harsher line on it by saying that “market transitions wait for no one,” and that companies that didn’t catch them would basically die. I believe this has been the key driver to Cisco growth over the past two decades as they caught many transitions, such as the move from hubs to switches, bridges to router, switched voice to VoIP, and the list goes on and on. It’s an important message, particularly for Cisco’s SP customers that have historically been slow to catch transitions.