By Nathan Rudyk

The October podcast of OCRIRadio.com is an excellent speech by Cisco Systems' Chairman and CEO John Chambers, given in Ottawa last week to 800-plus Ottawa tech execs, students and no doubt, competitors. It was no less than a global vision for the future of the Internet and its potential to change of lives of people all over the planet.

market2world got the audio of the speech, OCRI's President and CEO Jeffrey Dale and I added some observations and an interesting anecdote about how his 13-year-old son Alex attracted enough backstage interest from Chambers to receive not just a business card (no one else did) but a job offer to work at Cisco (ditto), and we think it makes for a fairly fascinating hour of your time.

Some highlights:

  • John Chambers gets social networking. Corporate decision-making at Cisco has become a Web 2.0-inspired non-heirarchical mash-up of ideas framed within a vision of where the company wants to go. Project leads are chosen based on merit/competence vs. years in or budget power. Command and control - an approach Chambers admitted he learned to master and feel comforable with - is dead at Cisco. And to use a bit of Ottawa Valley speak, teams there "git er done" using IM, teleconferencing, wikis, and blogs. At market2world, we're with you John.

  • He also gets global competitiveness. Listen to his arguments for I.T. investment vs. the current North American trend to chop I.T. spend in favour of plowing more money into social spending. If we accept 1% GDP growth, that means we're content to double our standard of living every 75 years. My Ukrainian grandfather didn't dig ditches, lay track and work in a pulp mill so my Mother and I could end up doing the same thing. But that's the scenario we're heading towards with our current social spending priorities as opposed to countries like China and India. As the Stephen Harper-led Conservatives appear poised to create a majority government in Canada, I can only hope that a few of the policy wonks close to the Prime Minister give this podcast a listen and decide to get more strategic about our nation's I.T. sector.

  • John Chambers is using Cisco as a test-bed for his ideas on the Web 2.0-enabled company, and it's working. As of this writing, Cisco's market cap is US$188 billion. Alcatel-Lucent's is $21 billion. Juniper's is $17 billion. And Nortel's is ... $7 billion. Check it out yourself on Yahoo Finance.

John Chambers worked the Theatre Hall of the National Arts Centre like a cross between Mick Jagger and The Rev. Jesse Jackson. He paced up and down the theatre, not just making eye contact, but bounding up the isles to talk to people as he was making his points. No script, he barely looked at his slides, and it was the most compelling CEO speech I've ever heard. I've heard more than a few.

Enjoy our John Chambers podcast! Let us know what you think.  

(Nathan Rudyk is President and CEO with market2world communications inc., Canada's Web 2.0 tech PR and product launch agency, and the founder and co-host of OCRIRadio.com.)

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