This year’s Partner Summit has already been one of the most impactful summits I have been to and I have seen 14 of the 17 Cisco has hosted. That is a pretty bold statement being that the summit just started, but let me justify that.
First of all, the Summit is being held in the courageous city of Boston. I got here a day early for executive one-on-one meetings on Monday and after a long day tried to find a quiet spot to retreat to. I left the Convention Center for my hotel’s concierge lounge knowing it would be empty since most people would still be at scheduled receptions. I was in luck; only one other table of a young woman in a wheel chair and her male companion who had on a soft cast or walking boot. The national evening news was on and within a few minutes of me sitting down I noticed the segment on the national news had footage of the very same woman who was just feet away from me at the next table. I did a double take and then realized that the news segment was about the survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing. I got up and introduced myself to them and learned that they were Adrianne and Adam Davis. Adrianne is the dancer who lost her leg and was saved by Adam who had just returned from active duty in Afghanistan. They were incredibly gracious and I left in awe and inspired by their strength and their amazing perspective on life.
Tuesday started with the General Session, a preview to the entire summit and the opening keynote by Cisco’s CEO, John Chambers. “Today, Tomorrow, Together” is the theme of this year’s summit. John and his team laid out the high level strategy to collectively focus on Innovation, Speed, Prioritization and Execution as the initiatives to continue to position Cisco and its channel as the team to beat in any market segment. It was clear that Cisco is taking a page out of its own playbook of past success to grow market share in the evolving spaces that include X as a Service, Software Defined Networks, and Hybrid IT. The vision of the transformation from the “Internet of Things” to the “Internet of Everything” is creating long term opportunity for all of us as we create value in connecting people, process, things and data. We are really living in the most transformational time to date.
The day ended with Theatre leadership rolling out programs that will enable the channel and a keynote from John Foley. John “Gucci” Foley is a retired Blue Angles pilot who has lived life as an over achiever using a performance framework. He shared this with the audience as the secret to how he was able to be not only the top 1% but find the performance zone that further separated him. The videos and stories were fantastic, but his reverence for life was what was special. It was the same thing I saw in Adrianne the day before. They both are committed to living life to the fullest and not letting anything stand in their way. Just like Adrianne and John, I am glad to be here.