Cisco has grand ambitions

As usual, after the main business of the annual shareholder meeting, John Chambers reviewed the state of the economy as it affects Cisco, and described his vision for the broad directions for Cisco's growth path over the next five years.

Slides and video of the meeting here

Business model improvements are to be the main focus - improving productivity. Operational excellence trumps innovation; ideally one would have both. It should be possible for US productivity to grow at 3 - 5% annually. He's still aiming for 10 - 17% growth annually for Cisco - sidestepping the law of large numbers by moving into "market adjacencies". There are currently 30 of these adjacencies (by which he means, for example, the low end video collaboration market for which they want to buy Tandberg).

John also said "Starent worries me. Normally when we acquire something there is a substantial constituency which says 'what are you thinking ?' whereas this time no one has expressed any concern, and there's been a lot of positive feedback - additional purchases, even though at this point it is an 'intent to purchase' not a done deal."

There wasn't a big crowd - 150 people, maybe. All of the board of directors was present. John arrived early, and spent 10 minutes before the meeting talking to the people in the first few rows in the hall.