Edited by Christine Canabou and

What smart steps should business leaders be taking to deal with Act II of the new economy? Maybe the smartest thing to do is to take stock of Act I: What lessons did we learn in the first five years of the new economy? How can those lessons guide us in the next five years?

Founder and CEO
Bloomberg LP
New York, New York

I've learned that change is always evolutionary and is virtually never revolutionary. There are no simple solutions to complex problems. The fashion of the times changes day in and day out: Everyone has invented the perpetual-motion machine, everyone has a get-rich-quick scheme, and everyone says that they're going to revolutionize the world with a little piece of software. The press writes about such things because they're interesting. And the public would like to believe that you can get something for nothing - but that's just not the case.

Product matters. Marketing is useful, but you must have the best product out there. And that product is not technology; it's not data; it's not anything physical - it's service. Our customers only care about what we have that can help them. Our focus has been to explain how we can improve their lives - make them more efficient, more pleasurable - as opposed to selling what we produce.

I don't think there is a new economy. I think there are new tools for the economy. The basics of commerce remain: You've got to have something that people need, something that they can't get elsewhere. And the more they can't get it elsewhere, the more they need it. Adam Smith said it all: With a small supply and a big demand, you have a business. Everything else we do is along that continuum.

Senior Vice President and CIO
Cisco Systems
San Jose, California