Kevin Dorrell, CCIE #20765

21 May 2008

[OT] On loyalty and motivation

Filed under: General — dorreke @ 14:01

A chance comment by someone this morning got me thinking about my relationship with Cisco.  What is it that keeps me studying, blogging, and answering questions on NetPro?  I don’t get paid for it.  In fact it has cost quite a lot of time and money so far, what with three attempts at the CCIE lab, and Networkers every year.  So why do I do it?

The main reason must be because I find it interesting and fun.  Being a member of Cisco communities gives a certain sense of involvement and belonging.  If it weren’t for the participation of people like Russ White, Harold Ritter, and Rick Burts, on the NetPro, it is doubtful I would be locked in quite so comprehensively.

A lot of it has to do with Cisco’s apparent openness with information.  That encourages participation.  Try to get too close to Juniper or Checkpoint, for example, and you soon come up against a brick wall of paranoia.

That is not to say the relationship is always smooth.  There are times when I get decidedly disillusioned with Cisco.  For example:

  • When I tried to warn them that the IPv6 Command Reference had fallen off their documentation site, and I got a frosty response saying they could not help me because I didn’t (personally) have a support contract.
  • When I reported to the TAC that their switches were counting collisions as errors.  The TAC argued back: don’t be ridiculous, why shouldn’t collision errors be counted as errors?  I had to quote chapter and verse from the 802.3 spec before they accepted that I wasn’t mad after all.  That bug was fixed in later versions.
  • The lack of any easily affordable evaluation licences for lab work.  Microsoft have a program called TechNet Plus which offers evaluation licences for geeks like me who want to play with the features of their products.  Cisco want the full whack like I was a commercial customer.
  • When their documentation and training materials contain errors sufficient to confuse any student, and do not provide any way to report them.
  • When it impossible to schedule a CCIE lab test within the expiry date of the written test.

At the end of the day, I should remember that Cisco is a commercial organisation, and so they measure their success by the bottom line of the balance sheet.  Cisco has hit on a winning formula – openness and community – that successfully keeps their advocates on side.  In doing so, they raise expectations.  Loyalty is a two-way process.  Let’s hope they continue to meet those expectations.


Collisions are not errors: they are a normal part of the half-duplex media contention mechanism!



  1. “Collisions are not errors: they are a normal part of the half-duplex media contention mechanism!”

    That would have really blown them 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Great !!!

    Comment by Dara — 22 May 2008 @ 11:17

  2. Hi, there is an offering from cisco for dedicated lab equipment. You can order equipment as “NFR” (not for resale) for a fraction of the price. This is meant to be used by the partners themselves and in the labs for testing etc. If you as an endcustomer want to build a lab out of cisco products, you can also talk to your accountmanager and ask for special discounts.


    Comment by airflow — 10 Jul 2008 @ 09:19

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: