Connecting the Dots
Lessons for Leadership in a Startup World
When Chambers joined Cisco in 1991, it was a company with 400 employees, a single product, and about $70 million in revenue. When he stepped down as CEO in 2015, he left a $47 billion tech giant that was the backbone of the internet and a leader in areas from cybersecurity to data center convergence. Along the way, he had acquired 180 companies and turned more than 10,000 employees into millionaires. Widely recognized as an innovator, an industry leader, and one of the world’s best CEOs, Chambers has outlasted and outmaneuvered practically every rival that ever tried to take Cisco on–Nortel, Lucent, Alcatel, IBM, Dell, and Hewlett-Packard, to name a few.
Now Chambers is sharing his unique strategies for winning in a digital world. From his early lessons and struggles with dyslexia in West Virginia to his bold bets and battles with some of the biggest names in tech, Chambers gives readers a playbook on how to act before the market shifts, tap customers for strategy, partner for growth, build teams, and disrupt themselves. He also adapted those lessons to transform government, helping global leaders like French President Emmanuel Macron and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to create new models for growth.
As CEO of JC2 Ventures, he’s now investing in a new generation of game-changing startups by helping founders become great leaders and scale their companies.
Connecting the Dots is destined to become a business classic, providing hard-won insights and critical tools to thrive during the accelerating disruption of the digital age.
"[Chambers] recently published a book…called Connecting the Dots. In it, he covers his core philosophy on leadership – with many great stories. Chambers boils down his approach to four key areas: anticipate and get ahead of market transitions, find ways to innovate at scale, build a culture that is focused on the needs of the customer and develop a flexible network infrastructure."―Forbes (Oct 20, 2018) Read the full article.
"Chambers, author of the new book 'Connecting the Dots,' serves as a mentor to those tech-minded upstarts trying to change the game. The JC2 Ventures portfolio consists of 12 companies. Chambers told Yahoo Finance he is a month or so away from revealing his next bet."―Yahoo! Finance (Oct 4, 2018) Read the full article.
"A native West Virginian, [Chambers] provides examples of companies, cities and states that failed to evolve and got left behind. Chambers says “it’s better to disrupt or you’ll be disrupted.” He lays out other insights from his decades of experience in his new book, “Connecting the Dots: Lesson for Leadership in a Startup World.”―CBS This Morning Podcast (Oct 5,2018) Listen to the full interview.
"In his new book “Connecting the Dots,” Chambers also argues that the U.S. as a whole is in need of an entrepreneurial reinvention. Silicon Valley no longer has a monopoly on startups, he said, as countries like France and India have explicitly developed tech programs to encourage investment. And Chambers stressed that a comparable movement stateside must include all 50 states — not just existing tech hotspots like San Francisco, New York and Austin."―Recode Decode (Oct 10, 2018) Listen to the full interview.
"'It's easy to assume that America's current advantages will last forever,' Chambers writes in Connecting The Dots: Lessons for Leadership in a Startup World, which was released on Tuesday. 'But even the largest businesses can collapse, as we saw during the financial crisis.' Ostensibly the tale of his journey from a childhood with dyslexia in West Virginia to a historic 20-year run as head of the now-$221 billion networking giant in Silicon Valley, this page-turner is as much about an uncertain future for the U.S. economy as it is a celebration of tech's growing influence over the past few decades."―Barron’s (Sept 29, 2018) Read the full article.
"'I'm not retired, but I am on to my next chapters,' John Chambers told Business Insider in the hours before his new book launched. He's not kidding. First, there's the book: Titled 'Connecting the Dots,' it's part memoir and part business advice book. And then there's the 16-and—counting startups he's advising and/or has invested in, some of which are still in stealth mode — not to mention that he's personally mentoring some of the execs at those companies."―Business Insider (Oct 1, 2018) Read the full article.
"Big tech has got to learn to regulate itself, or else the government will do it for them. That's according to John Chambers, the former CEO and Executive Chairman of networking giant Cisco. He sat down with Cheddar to discuss how tech companies can solve their own issues and avoid the government from stepping in."―Cheddar TV (Sept 27, 2018) Watch the full article.
- "Former Cisco Chairman John Chambers on French President Macron rejecting trade deals with countries outside the Paris climate accord, his new book on Cisco’s rise, free trade and investing in cricket protein bars."―Fox Business (Sept 25, 2018) Watch the full interview.
"John Chambers, JC2 Ventures founder & CEO and former Cisco CEO, weighs in on the global start-up economy."―CNBC Squawk on the Street (Sept 25, 2018) Watch full interview.
- "In a new book set to be released Sept. 25, John Chambers, who stepped down as Cisco chief executive in 2015 but remained executive chairman until late last year and is now 'chairman emeritus,' argues for a comprehensive digital strategy in the United States. In the book, 'Connecting the Dots: Lessons for Leadership in a Startup World,' the 69-year-old, who grew up in West Virginia, explains how he reinvented himself and his company over two decades and shares the leadership strategies that made him one of the last CEOs of a major tech company from his generation to step down."―The Washington Post (Sept 14, 2018) Read the full article.
- "Anyone who listened in to a Cisco earnings call during John Chambers’ 20-year tenure at the helm of the networking company will be familiar with the former CEO’s reassuring, Southern drawl. Even when describing the economy as 'lumpy' during the last financial downturn, back in late 2007, Chambers managed to sound comforting and optimistic. But his latest project, a just-published business book titled Connecting the Dots: Lessons for Leadership in a Startup World, has some sobering words for corporate America and for our government."―Fortune (Sept 25, 2018) Read the full article.
"Former Cisco CEO John Chambers shares his playbook and leadership philosophy in his new book, Connecting the Dots: Lessons for Leadership in a Startup World."―Bloomberg (Sept 28, 2018) Listen to the full interview.