A Brief History of Cisco – A Global Leader in Networking Solutions

When you think of a company that has a net worth of $139 billion (that’s with a B!) and over 74,000 employees, you know you are looking at a huge multi-national corporation. However, when you think about the fact that Cisco is the leader in LAN switching and WAN routing technology, it makes you wonder how a company grew to such major proportions from a humble beginning in the mid 1980’s. The following information is by no means inclusive of the many milestones in Cisco’s lifetime, but just enough to recognise why they insist that any industry partners be well certified in their technology.

1984 – Co-founders Unsuccessfully Seek Venture Capital

Looking back today, those companies that were offered in on Cisco in the very beginning are probably kicking themselves for not providing the funding needed to get the company off the ground. Co-founders Leonard Bosack and Sandra Lerner, a husband and wife team from Stanford University, developed the networking solution that enabled them (their computers that is!) to communicate across 500 yards from one office to the next. They sought financial assistance from a number of known computer companies that all refused. It was up to them to find ways to finance the company they had just incorporated, Cisco Systems, Inc. The first product, a TCP/IP router, was shipped in 1986.

1988 – Venture Capitalist, Donald T. Valentine, Takes the Reigns

Finally, four years later the couple found venture capitalist, Donald T. Valentine, who had the money to invest and was willing to do so under his conditions. The first was that he would be given controlling shares of the company and the second was that he would replace Leonard Bosack as CEO with his man, John Morgridge. The conditions were agreed upon and, without sounding cliché, the rest is history. Some of the moves that Valentine made along the way give being a ‘capitalist’ new meaning, akin to capitalising on a good thing. He singlehandedly went about replacing all of the couple’s key personnel, which by the way, included them!

1990 – Cisco Is Placed on the Public Market

Of course from a business perspective, it probably was a good move on Valentine’s part to place his own team at the helm because from this point on, the upward growth has been astounding. From a small husband and wife venture in a university computer lab to a mega-corporation of international proportions, Cisco Systems, Inc. became the networking presence to contend with. Notice that is not ‘a’ presence to contend with but rather, ‘the’ networking presence to contend with.

One of the aspects from the very beginning of the Valentine/Cisco venture was that the company insisted on any partners/distributors to have extensive training in their networking switches, routers and all other hardware and software. With technology this innovative and ahead of the competition, they knew the only way to hold their place at the head of the line was to demand excellence.

Online training in Cisco technology is available around the globe and one UK company, commsupportnetworks.co.uk, specialises in providing ongoing certification. From entry level networking classes online to the advanced classes requisite to being licensed as a Cisco dealer/installer, it is of utmost importance to have the right training to be certified. To sum it up, Cisco Systems, Inc. is networking technology at its finest and they demand nothing less than excellence from anyone affiliated with the Cisco brand – and rightly so.

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