Cisco Live, it isn’t just the technology

Hey, everyone!  Cisco Live! 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada was just as exciting as 2016, if not more so!  Did you notice there was no recap of Day 3 and Day 4 (Wednesday and Thursday)?  Yeah, the time gets away from you out there.  But, that doesn’t mean the show stops!  Wednesday had a ton of great information regarding the Security focused keynote and Thursday had Bryan Cranston.  Highlights of those keynotes can be seen on my Twitter @paulmc3.

The largest announcement was the Network Intuitive.  Shout out to Justin Cohen and his blog Can Tech It for a great overview:

Let’s shift gears though, for this post. Cisco Live is not just about the technology announcements.  I’d like to describe part of why Cisco Live is an experience that can’t be missed and why I love the adventure.

First, as fortune would have it, I sat next to a gentleman on the plane from Charlotte, NC to Las Vegas, NV who is responsible for building a cloud practice at a large regional partner.  This gentleman and I talked for a good portion of the flight off and on between our stints of working.  Towards the end of the trip he described a discussion with me as a ‘fireside chat,’ which immediately made me grin from ear to ear.  Curious, he asked me why.  Informing this man that I just created my blog and titled it ‘Fireside chats with Paul,’ garnered a reaction from him that I didn’t expect.  He told me I reminded him of a discussion he had once with John Chambers, former CEO of Cisco Systems, where it imprinted on his mind like a chat at a camp fire with an old friend.  To say that I was moved and humbled by this conversation is an understatement.

Second, at the airport, I ran into a former colleague that I haven’t seen in many years.  This lead to learning that a whole crew of people I used to know from Time Warner Cable are now at Oracle and they came to Cisco Live as a team.  We bumped into each other several times throughout the week and learning how their careers have evolved is equally exciting as learning about how they are doing.

Then, at the first keynote, I sat next to Amr Abdulbari. This guy flew 25 hours to get to Cisco Live, his first one ever.  Along with Justin Cohen and myself, Amr Abdulbari is a member of the Cisco Champion program.  The champion program has introduced me to some great minds around the world and is run by some fantastic people within Cisco.  I’ll be doing an entire Cisco Champion blog post and what it means to be in the future.  Learning more about Amr during the week was exciting.  He chronicled his journey on Twitter, and it is a fascinating read to learn about him and what he hopes to impact in his community when he returns.

Next, we have the plethora of Cisco personnel you meet.  I got to run into familiar faces from Cisco’s RTP Office in Raleigh, NC; but also individuals I’ve known for years from all over the United States.  Running into an old colleague from Dallas, TX and a few others from California was equally exciting.  However, out of the new faces I got to meet, perhaps the most fascinating ones were inside the TAC support area.  Putting faces to people you’ve dealt with, sometimes for years, over the phone or email was a connection you can’t usually make.  Just like when you watch an actor for years and finally meet them, you almost feel like you know them.

I could continue to share more, but I’ll digress.  From random encounters in the hallway of the Casinos, to the food court, and beyond.  Cisco Live brings you an opportunity to get out of your shell, expand your horizons, and meet new faces.  You never know who you’ll be talking to.  Not to mention interviewing with!  Doing a Cisco Live TV interview on the keynotes/experience at Cisco Live, as well as, a few interviews at booths on my experience over the years with products was equally exciting!

So, to answer the question earlier, why do I love Cisco Live?  I view Cisco Live as a constant evolution of my ability to continue the “7 degrees of separation” and consistently shorten the numbers.  This life is a lot about who you know, and Cisco Live gives you that in abundance.  There are people I’ve not seen since last Cisco Live, like Tim Miller; whom I met last year on the flight home from Cisco Live and recommended I submit an application to the Cisco Champion program.  There are people I will probably not see again until next year’s event in Orlando, Florida.  However, every moment is cataloged in my mind and won’t fade anytime soon.

Therefore, I hope to meet you at the next Cisco Live!


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