Terry Eger was the Cisco executive who hired John Chambers

Kirk Lougheed - an original member of Cisco's founding team speaks out.

A year ago I blogged: The mystery of the missing video of Cisco co-founders Bosack and Lerner discussing their termination Fascinatingly this week (at least in my opinion), Kirk Lougheed - who is an original member of Cisco's founding team and a current Cisco Fellow, detailed Cisco's history in the video below. So what caught my attention? Well, at the 3:50 time mark, Lougheed spoke admiringly about Terry Eger - Cisco's former vice president of sales, but he didn't mention the fact that it was Eger who was actually responsible for the hiring of John Chambers:

In 1984, Stanford University engineer Kirk Lougheed helped Len Bosack and Sandy Lerner (the cofounders of Cisco) in their home's living room (199 Oak Grove Avenue in Atherton, California), write code, piece together boxes and assemble cables in order to test prototypes of new routers, often working 100 hours per week. Home of Len Bosack and Sandy Lerner - the cofounders of Cisco Systems in 1984: Cisco began turning a profit of between $250,000 to $350,000 per month as early as 1986. So in that year, Cisco moved into its first office building at 1360 Willow Road in Menlo Park, California. With that move, Kirk Lougheed quit his job at Stanford University in order to help Cisco strip Bill Yeager's original router code and improve its IP support. Lougheed also made other critical improvements that brought the software much closer to being viable as a commercial product. Cisco's First Office Building in 1986: In 1987, Cisco began shipping the software and hardware as a package, which they called a "cisco." So how did I learn it was Terry Eger who was actually responsible for the hiring of John Chambers? Page 17 of John Chambers Oral History Transcript Q: Well, now we’re up to about the latter part of 1990 and you’re talking to some folks at Cisco. How did that relationship begin?

John Chambers: Like many things in life, lots of things that either benefit you or hurt you later in life have to do with what you did earlier. When I was a Wang and we were laying off people I felt that I could just not take a job interview at the time that I was laying off my team and saying let’s charge the mountain again, and then laying off people once we’ve taken the hill. So I told the Wang family and the new leadership that I’d lost confidence in the company and it was time for me to do something else, and I wasn’t going to look while I had the job. So I resigned from the company and I just thought the job offers would come. The first month was very humbling. Within the next two months however, I had 22 very serious opportunities going on and got offers from a number of them. Out of the 22, 21 of them came from networking and from friends, and so it shows you how you treat people at different stages in your life, how that comes back to help you or hurt you later. The job that I got here at Cisco, I would have never got the chance to interview because the search firm who had the search for Cisco had already presented me in another Silicon Valley company and I had the offer to be the number two there. So I had multiple offers here in the Valley and it was purely because of a person from Wang who I had helped when they had problems, and it wasn’t problems of their own fault, they just got sideways on politics, and I gave them a chance and they remembered that, and they were here at Cisco and when they heard that I was looking for a job they told they president this is the person they ought to hire, and that’s how I ended up here.

Q: Now who was that?

John Chambers: It was a guy by the name of Terry [Eger]. Terry had actually-- I had multiple offers here in the Valley and each one of them had called him and asked him for a reference and I didn’t even know he was here. He gave me two great references, and the third one, the recruiter says this--the venture capitalist to this day--she said "John, Terry was giving you a great reference and about half way through he said ‘Ah, he isn’t as good as I thought and I’ve got to go.’” and he hung up and he literally called my wife at home that night and said this is where John ought to be. I interviewed out here and came in contact with a very good individual by the name of John Morgridge who is now our Chairman, and Don Valentine, who is our Vice Chairman, and both of them educated me on what the Internet and networking could be. I took the opportunity and the risk and moved out here when the company was only 70 million in sales.

Perhaps Network World readers can help "color in" more details about Cisco's history for the benefit of our readers by adding your comments below, thanks!

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