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Cisco's TelePresence System Named One of Business Week Magazine's Best Products of 2006! (and HSL's Best and Worst of Business Week's Best and Worst!

December 8, 2006 | HSL
Business%20Week%20Cover.jpg Business Week Magazine's annual report hit the newsstand today. The Best & Worse of 2006 takes a look at the best ideas, products, and leaders of 2006. Cisco TelePresence was named one of the best products of 2006.

From the Article:

Cisco Systems hasn't invented a cure for meetings, but with this lifelike, life-size high-definition system, it has at least made them more bearable. No more disembodied voices and fuzzy, start-and-stop visuals. It'll be like your boss is in the same room with you. The price is hefty, but for big corporations it may well be worth it.


Cisco Executives at the Global Launch of Cisco TelePresence on October 23rd, 2007
From front left in San Jose: Lillie Turner (Cisco), Randy Harrell, Head of Marketing TelePresence Business Unit (Cisco), John Chambers, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (Cisco), Unknown;

In New York City via Cisco TelePresence: Marthin De Beer, Vice President - Emerging Markets Technology Group (Cisco), Carl Wiese (Cisco), Unknown, Jennifer Baker, Senior Marketing Manager (Cisco), Unknown, Charlie Giancarlo, Senior Vice-President and Chief Development Officer, Cisco Systems, Inc. and President, Cisco-Linksys, LLC (Cisco)

To help you save time this busy holiday season I have launched my own Best & Worse issue:

The HPL's Best & Worst List of Business Week's Best and Worst List

Of course Cisco's product was the best thing on the list (but hey... we are telepresence bigots)

Here is the Best of the Rest:


The Tesla Roadster - $100,000

Burn rubber, help the environment. This electric-powered two-seater does 0 to 60 in four seconds, can hit 130 mph, and has better torque than cars with gas-guzzling combustion engines. The motor is eerily quiet and goes 250 miles between charges. Tesla promises 100,000 miles of battery life. Order '08 models over the Web or at one of five Tesla outlets. Move fast -- just 1,000 are planned.


Eclipse 500 Jet - $1,500,000

With the very first "Very Light Jet" (VLJ) to win Federal Aviation Administration approval, Eclipse Aviation has already booked 2,500 orders for its five-seater. It weighs less than standard business jets, costs about half as much as the next-cheapest jet, and, the company says, costs much less to maintain. One other VLJ has been approved (the Cessna Citation Mustang). They could become staples of air taxi fleets.
Best Idea: Microloans


Dr. Muhammad Yunus - Founder of the Grameen Bank

Teach a man to fish, and he'll eat for a lifetime. But only if he can afford a fishing rod. More than 30 years ago in Bangladesh, economics professor Muhammad Yunus (right) recognized that millions of his countrymen were trapped in poverty because they were unable to scrape together the tiny sums they needed to buy productive essentials such as a loom, a plow, an ox, or a rod. So he gave small loans to his poor neighbors, secured by nothing more than their promise to repay. Microcredit, as it's now known, became a macro success in 2006, reaching two huge milestones. The number of the world's poorest people with outstanding microloans was projected to reach 100 million. And Yunus, 66, shared the Nobel Peace Prize with the Grameen Bank he founded. The Nobel committee honored his grassroots strategy as "development from below." You know an idea's time has come when people start yanking it in directions its originator never imagined. Some, like Citigroup, are making for-profit loans, contrary to Yunus' breakeven vision. Others, like Bangladesh's BRAC, are nonprofit but have a more holistic vision than Grameen, offering health care and social services in addition to loans.

Worst Idea - TIE - Pretexting - TIE

Pretexting Tied with Affordable Mortgages as the Worst Idea of 2006

What to do about the problem of board members blabbing to reporters? No doubt, leaks can be about anything from a petty annoyance to a serious issue to a means for dissident directors to funnel key information to investors. Whatever the case, it's now clear Hewlett-Packard should have resisted the temptation to act like a Hollywood P.I. After what seemed to be recurring high-level leaks, Chairwoman Patricia C. Dunn launched a probe in which hired investigators used aggressive tactics--most famously, "pretexting," or lying--to get home phone records. It was an astonishing reversal for a company with a spotless reputation for corporate morality. And an object lesson in the hazards of shoddy ethics--or lousy oversight of ethically shoddy behavior.

Worst Idea - TIE - Affordable Mortgages - TIE

Affordable Mortgages Tied with Pre-Texting as the Worst Idea of 2006

With the real estate market's vertiginous climb, many Americans were priced out of home ownership. The lending industry came up with a perfect solution: exotic mortgages. These payment-option ARM loans were a way to allow the working class to pay the smallest amount possible toward their monthly mortgages. But with payments less than the interest owed, borrowers actually increase the total balance, a situation called negative amortization. Once a balance grows to a certain amount, the loan resets at a higher payment. This year, borrowers saw option ARMs' other side: debt bombs in disguise.

Best and Worst Leaders

Worst Boardroom Rivalry: Patricia Dunn and Tom Perkins


Clearly, Patricia C. Dunn and Thomas J. Perkins were never going to be the best of friends. A onetime journalism student who rose to lead Barclays Global Investors, the 53-year-old Dunn comes off as humble, buttoned-down, and ego-less-far more interested in good governance processes than in personal fame. Perkins, on the other hand, is the74-year-old mega-rich co-founder of venture-capital powerhouse Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. He's brash, bold, and never shy about imparting his opinion-or imposing his will.

Given all their differences, it's ironic that Dunn and Perkins will now be inextricably linked in Hewlett-Packard-Gate. She was the one who oversaw allegedly illegal spying to find the source of boardroom leaks, and failed to stop investigators from improperly gaining access to the home phone records of reporters and board members, including Perkins. (Dunn recently pleaded not guilty to four felony charges related to the spying scandal.) It was Perkins, after learning that such "pretexting" had been used, that sicced the feds, the California Attorney General, and the media on Dunn and hp's board.

Their antipathy had been simmering for years. When Dunn became chairwoman after Perkins helped topple former ceo Carleton S. "Carly" Fiorina in early 2005, her pesky obsession with boardroom process got on his nerves. Perkins protested fiercely when Dunn demanded that directors take courses on the latest governance "best practices," and some say he made an overt bid to have her ousted. When Dunn's leak probe fingered Perkins' friend George A. "Jay" Keyworth earlier this year, it was too much. Perkins resigned in a huff. The final irony is that their roles were reversed: Dunn's obsession with proper boardroom conduct led to the most infamous stain on HP's otherwise strong ethical code, and may have been against the law. And it was one of Silicon Valley's most free-wheeling cowboys that called in the feds.


I am in Cali this week. Today I will be at The University of San Diego conducting a site visit with some sponsors of our upcoming global C-Suite conference: TelePresence World. On Wednesday I will be in Hollywood, and Thursday and Friday: San Jose and Palo Alto.

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