Yesterday evening in CEO Chambers Not Worth a Cent; Lather, Rinse, Repeat I trashed Cisco CEO John Chambers for raking in hundreds of millions of dollars over the last decade while not delivering a dime to shareholders.

Today I received this email response from a Cisco employee.

Hi Mish,

I’m a software engineer at Cisco and I agree with most of your points. The one thing I can’t understand is that many employees are insanely loyal to Chambers and see him as an extremely great and successful leader. This is in spite of the fact that all of the older coworkers who’ve been there for 5+ years and retained their stock options are underwater on them.

Some coworkers who have held and continue to accumulate Cisco shares for the last 10 years will not think of selling them at this point because they are sure Chambers will bring the stock back up to “its proper level” given enough time.

The biggest problem I’ve seen is a lack of any true innovation at the company. We increasingly buy smaller companies for their IP.

Worse yet, Cisco is very top heavy on executives and layers upon layers of management. I have several layers of managers between myself and my director and I honestly can’t figure out what the mid-level managers do at all besides go to an endless series of meetings where they contribute nothing of value.

Meanwhile, there are many talented engineering teams in the company working hard to develop products. They scream for more software engineer contributors but are denied repeatedly in favor of still more management. The result is a lot of our products are delayed or cancelled halfway through development.

I saw the light years ago. I now dump all my stock and options as soon as I can, just like John Chambers does.

Cisco Employee

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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