“I’m not retired, however I am on to my next chapters,” John Chambers informed Company Expert in the hours prior to his brand-new book introduced.

He’s not joking. Initially, there’s the book: Entitled “Linking the Dots,” it’s part narrative and part company guidance book. And after that there’s the 16- and– counting start-ups he’s encouraging and/or has actually purchased, a few of which are still in stealth mode– not to discuss that he’s personally mentoring a few of the officers at those business.

Chambers is best understood for his 24- year period as CEO of Cisco, a task he abandoned in mid-2015, eventually retiring from the chairman function, too, at the end of2017


However, he states, he’s working nearly as hard now on his own investment firm, together with his child out of his office. The one huge benefit over his Cisco days, he states: more time for enjoyable.

“I’m simply having the time of my life,” he states. “My fly fishing is much better. My golf video game is enhancing, and I get to invest more time with my spouse– who was my high school sweetie– than previously.”

And, fact be informed, often he integrates the deal with the enjoyable. “I took 22 individuals out fishing in Alaska for a week and half of them were my CEO start-ups, and half of them were my recognized leaders that were great buddies.”

Dreaming huge and enduring disasters

The book has plenty of ideas on whatever from setting huge objectives and beating rivals, to enduring failures. Chambers is both exceptionally happy with the book, however likewise states that he’s rather unpleasant in speaking about a few of it.

Cisco CEO John Chambers back in 2000, right prior to the bubble burst.

He takes pride in the achivement of composing the book since he’s dyslexic and “dislikes” to compose, he informs Company Expert. The condition harmed his ego as a kid a lot so that he didn’t openly fess up to having it up until he had actually been running Cisco for several years.

Although he composed the book with assistance from author Diane Brady, “I dealt with every word on that book,” he states. “It took us 15 months and I believed I might do it in 90 days.”

At the age of 69, he now sees dyslexia as one of his super-powers, requiring him to process info in a different way and enabling him to see patterns; a quality all magnate need to establish, he composes in the book.

Yet, he’s a little unpleasant, since in addition to providing company guidance, Brady pressed him to state more individual stories about himself in the book, he stated. Those stories vary from his youth training, through to his most agonizing errors leading Cisco.

For example, the most significant error took place eleven years into his period, when the dot-com bubble burst and threatened to take Cisco with it, he states in the book.

Cisco had actually been having a hard time to satisfy need for its Web networking devices. When the dot-com world crashed, “a quarter of our clients merely disappeared. Basic material that we ‘d combated– and I suggest combated– to get simply months previously was accumulating in Cisco storage facilities along with equipment created for now-defunct clients and parts that may at finest be restored for metal,” he composes.

Cisco needed to write-off $2.5 billion in stock that year, among the biggest stock write-downs in history, and financiers and experts started requiring his head on a plate.

He didn’t get fired, however he pledged to never ever let that occur once again. So Cisco produced, and later on ended up being understood for, an incredibly tight provider management system that purchased basic materials as required, instead of stockpiling them in the manner in which got the business into problem.

The book offers other ideas too, like his guidance on how to feel fortunate: “Individuals who think that they’re fortunate tend to be optimists, overview strong objectives, get ready for the chances and difficulties and understand precisely what they wish to accomplish. As an outcome, they tend to be fortunate once again and once again,” he composes.

Maybe among the very best anecdotes in the book has to do with his very first day at Cisco when the business actually put him in a telephone closet for his workplace, and his colleagues were hostile– you can check out the complete excerpt listed below.

16 start-ups and counting

When it comes to the everyday work, Chambers is mentoring and training, encouraging and buying start-ups.

Cisco CEO John Chambers
Fortune Brainstorm TECH 2014

He’s wanting to assist business that can “proliferate and develop tasks, not simply for Silicon Valley, however in every state in the United States,” he informs us.

He’s buying whatever from drone start-ups to “resolving world cravings with crickets,” as he puts it. He’s describing Aspire Food Groups, which utilizes the leaping bugs in foods like cricket granola, cricket flour and entire roasted crickets.

His objective with his financial investments, along with his book, is to “get a replicable playbook,” he states, to assist business grow as quickly as possible.

However there’s one huge distinction in between being a coach/advisor and being the CEO, he states.

“I no longer need to do anything I do not wish to do,” he chuckles. “It resembles having grandkids. I get them thrilled. We have a good time together and when they go to sleep in the evening, I provide back to their management.”

Workplace in the closet

Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 3 of “Linking the Dots” by John Chambers that reveals that excellent success can originate from even the most modest starts.

I was so thrilled when I appeared at the Cisco workplace in Menlo Park on my very first day in1991 I was available in and they didn’t have anywhere for me to sit, so they put me actually in a telephone closet. All I might hear was this continuous click click click of changing telephones in the background. When I got out of my closet, the location seemed like turmoil. Boxes were accumulated in the hall. Individuals were racing around, looking hectic, however it was difficult to inform what they did.

I left my very first conference that day with an unique sense that numerous individuals on the senior group truly didn’t like each other, or perhaps they simply didn’t like me.

As I strolled back into my closet with the noise of clicking in the background, I wished to get the phone and call [my wife] Elaine to state I ‘d made an awful error.

Then a client problem was available in and I went to share it with the folks in customer support. I went downstairs trying to find our customer support department and was directed to where a couple of individuals were sitting near an inflatable penguin.

We both looked shocked at discovering each other– me and the customer support group, not me and the penguin! It was then that I understood just how much worth I might include at this business. I had actually pertained to a location that understood its item however was considerably ignoring its capacity.

The Cisco that I participated in 1991 looked really various from the one I left in2015 We had actually moved from a preliminary concentrate on routing to changing to Voice over IP to video, information centers, the cloud, cooperation, the Web of Things, security, and nation digitization, to name a few locations.