Tag Archives: Cisco

A sample of the “values and culture” of leading technology companies

As part of the culture and values post I looked at what were the values & culture statements of the top technology companies. From Amazon to Zynga, the key things that they believe makes their company unique and successful. Some observations:

1. The older the company is the more “traditional” its values are, like integrity, customer focus, etc.

2. If you had to allocate a % to the categories of values, hiring people features in almost all of them.

3. Customer (or User) features next in 70% of them.

4. Innovation (or the commitment to it) features in less than 50%.

5. Interestingly only Apple talks about products.

  1. Google

1)       Focus on the user and all else will follow.

2)       It’s best to do one thing really, really well.

3)       Fast is better than slow.

4)       Democracy on the web works.

5)       You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer.

6)       You can make money without doing evil.

7)       There’s always more information out there

8)       The need for information crosses all borders

9)       You can be serious without a suit

10)   Great just isn’t good enough.

  1. Apple

1)       We believe that we’re on the face of the Earth to make great products.

2)       We believe in the simple, not the complex.

3)       We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products we make.

4)       We participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution.

5)       We believe in saying no to thousands of projects so that we can really focus on the few that are truly important and meaningful to us.

6)       We believe in deep collaboration and cross-pollination of our groups, which allow us to innovate in a way that others cannot.

7)     We don’t settle for anything less than excellence in every group in the company, and we have the self-honesty to admit when we’re wrong and the courage to change.

  1. Facebook

1)       Focus on Impact

2)       Move Fast

3)       Be Bold

4)       Be Open

5)       Build Social Value

  1. Zynga

1)       Love to play

2)       Level Up (Meritocracy)

3)       Be CEO

4)       Zynga Speed

5)       Zynga first

6)       Innovate

  1. Salesforce.COM

1)    Get Your Aspirations Right

2)    Field Your Best Possible Team

3)    Focus on Your Best Customer Segments

4)    Create Your Competitive Advantage

5)    Build Your Sales and Marketing Factory

  1. Amazon

1)       Customer Obsession

2)       Ownership

3)       Invent and Simplify

4)       Are Right, A Lot

5)       Hire and Develop the Best

6)       Insist on the Highest Standards

7)       Think Big

8)       Bias for Action

9)       Frugality

10)   Vocally Self Critical

11)   Earn Trust of Others

12)   Dive Deep

13)   Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit

14)   Deliver Results

  1. Microsoft

1)    Integrity

2)    Honesty

3)    Openness

4)    Personal excellence

5)    Constructive self-criticism

6)    Continual self-improvement

7)    Mutual respect

  1. IBM

1)       Dedication to every client’s success

2)       Innovation that matters, for our company and for the world

3)    Trust and personal responsibility in all relationships

  1. Netflix

1)       Judgment

2)       Communication

3)       Impact

4)       Curiosity

5)       Innovation

6)       Courage

7)       Passion

8)       Honesty

9)       Selflessness

  1. HP

1)       Passion for customers

2)       Trust and respect for individuals

3)       Achievement and contribution

4)       Results through teamwork

5)       Speed and agility

6)       Meaningful innovation

7)       Uncompromising integrity

  1. Zappos

1)       Deliver WOW Through Service

2)       Embrace and Drive Change

3)       Create Fun and A Little Weirdness

4)       Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded

5)       Pursue Growth and Learning

6)       Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication

7)       Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit

8)       Do More With Less

9)       Be Passionate and Determined

10)   Be Humble

  1. Twitter

1)       Grow our business in a way that makes us proud.

2)       Recognize that passion and personality matter.

3)       Communicate fearlessly to build trust.

4)       Defend and respect the user’s voice.

5)       Reach every person on the planet.

6)       Innovate through experimentation.

7)       Seek diverse perspectives.

8)       Be rigorous. Get it right.

9)       Simplify.

10)    ___ it.

  1. LinkedIn

1)       Demand excellence

2)       Take intelligent risks

3)      Act like an owner

  1. SAS

1)       Passion for excellence

2)       Enthusiasm and initiative

3)       Responsibility

4)       Focus on customer

5)       Emphasis on Competence building

6)       Cost consciousness

7)       Team work

8)       Integrity and loyalty

9)       Organizational pride

10)   Knowledge sharing

  1. Cisco

1)       Customer focus

2)       Corporate citizenship

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Dig your well before you are thirsty

I was introduced to this book by Mark Tonneson, my first manager at Cisco. Fresh out of college, I was an eager whip-snapper who would soak up any piece of advice on “getting ahead”. I didn’t read the book, although  Mark bought it for me. It still is in my ‘library”. But the phrase “Dig your well before you are thirsty” has been with me since that day.

Most of us tend to ask for help when needed. Its the “on Demand” way of doing work. I’ll learn something when I need it, until that point of time, learning it is useless. I agree with that principle for knowledge.

For relationships, though, I have always tried to build them way before I’d ever need them. In fact building relationships without the intent of ever using them is a sport of mine. It comes from being interested in people and wanting to know as many people as possible.

As an entrepreneur that principle has helped me more than anything else I have done.

This however, is a story of how I acquired my first customer at my first company. It began 3 years before the customer signed up though. So effectively my sales cycle was “3 years”.

Circa 1995, Rational was hosting an event on Object oriented modelling. It was a free event, sufficient enough excuse for me to show up. The event was to start at 830 am and was scheduled for 2 hours. The venue was the Double Tree hotel in San Jose. I showed up at 815, and was negotiating with the automatic gate (which I felt was unreasonably placed in a position which required you to get down from the car to reach for the button that would give you a printed ticket), which would trigger the proximity sensor to open the gate.

I had to get down. Damm, I hate these poorly designed machines, which don’t really help serve the purpose that they were intended for.

It took me a few minutes to park and make my way back to the entrance. In the meanwhile a few other cars were backed up at the gate, facing the same problem. I was not  “smartly dressed”,  and had on a t-shirt and slacks. I noticed a few more folks struggling with the sensor gate, so I made my way across to that gate, and helped push the button and get the ticket for the first car. The gentleman in the car was in a beige suit and seemed preoccupied with something on his dashboard. He did though, look at me and murmured “thanks”. I was just about to make my way to the entrance when I stopped and realized every one of the cars in the queue would have the same problem.

For the next 3 minutes I pushed the button for 5 or 6 cars and diligently gave them the ticket so the drivers did not have to get down from the car. Noticing it was 825, I decided to make my way to the registration.

The “beige suit” was just behind me at the registration desk. He did a quick double take and asked me if this was the Rational rose event.

I replied in the affirmative and said it was and I was registered for the same event. He introduced himself as Steve and said “I really have to say thanks again, since I did not realize you were helping me even though it was not really your job”. I realized then that he thought I was an attendant whose job it was to “push the button and give the ticket”.

I laughed pretty hard for the next few minutes and we both got talking about my job at Cisco and his. We agreed to keep in touch after the event and “catch up over lunch sometime”. Over the next few months, I would email Steve off and on, sharing some articles and such, and we’d have some email “debates”, that but never really met him for lunch.

3 years later, I left Cisco to start my first company. Steve emailed me a few months earlier saying he had joined Netscape (Actra).

I sent an email to my contact list 2 months after my beta product release, letting them know our product was available for companies to install and try.

The first email response I got back was from Steve. He asked me to come by and give his team a demo.

A month later we started working with the Actra team (Netscape) as part of BuyerXpert product.

You can call it luck. I also call it luck.

I am actually known to be the luckiest guy on this planet.

The only thing I do to get lucky is dig my well before I am thirsty.