During both the technology boom and bust you have consistently insisted that the Internet is revolutionizing business and our lives. How has it already done this, and how is Cisco positioned to take advantage of future changes?
I think we're just starting to understand what the Internet can do in terms of business models, productivity, entertainment, education, and healthcare. The last decade brought leading-edge companies and a few individuals who began to see and understand the power of the network. I think this next decade is when it will truly come home to the average citizen.
It's not just about revolutionizing business, but truly affecting quality of life on a global scale. I think we've only scratched the surface of how the power of the network can change our lives and those of generations to come.
Cisco has long been known for aggressively investing in small start-ups and an entrepreneurial culture. With all the streamlining and cost-cutting you've done, how have you ensured that employees haven't lost their willingness to take risks?
There are two primary ways. First, one important element of the Cisco culture is that it is truly a risk-taking culture. We are willing to be aggressive in taking good business risks as an integral part of our growth strategy, and we take a conservative approach in our financial reporting. And also, as a culture, we are willing to accept mistakes, because by definition, if you're taking a risk, nobody bats a thousand. But our past successes have outweighed our challenges, and we have an atmosphere of trust and integrity that I believe is the key to such a risk-taking culture.
You're well-known for being an optimist. Did you ever lose that confidence, or even think that you might not be able to turn things around at Cisco, during the worst of the downturn?