Why don’t the Packet Pushers talk to Cisco ? Because Cisco doesn’t talk to us.

Several people have emailed me to ask if I could talk more about Cisco products, design and technologies. Frankly, I wish I could. $God?s knows, I’ve tried. Cisco Router Icon

I’ve reached out to more than thirty marketing people at Cisco over the last six months via different channels. Each one has promised to do something about organising, engaging, discussing and then delivered exactly nothing. Not a follow up email or a “having problems”, just dead air.

Security, Data Centre, Access Switching. Zero, nada, nothing. In sixty episodes we have spoken with a Cisco employee once – Omar Sultan on 12th July 2010 – (thanks Omar!), but that was a result of meeting at Tech Field Day, not because Cisco’s marketing team was doing anything about it.

The stats confirm that there is significant number of listeners at Cisco. I’ve been reliably informed that Packet Pushers is well known at senior levels in Cisco engineering teams. I don’t understand why these people haven’t arranged something. So, in frustration, I’m writing this.

I’m swamped with approaches from smaller companies and their PR/Marketing firms who are hungry to get airtime for their companies. I’m happy to oblige. I don’t really have the time to plan, schedule and organise the show the way I’d like so I’m happy to engage with people who want to engage with me, so much easier.

However, this means that Cisco isn’t being represented which leaves me open to accusations of bias or favouritism to vendors who appear on the show. I’m sensitive to that and, to some extent, agree with you, but what can I do ? I’m tired of repeatedly trying to work / contact / engage with Cisco (and their supposedly excellent “marketing machine”) and getting no response.

So Packet Pushers Fans, if you want Cisco on the show, leave a comment below (because they read this blog and this type of blog post sometimes penetrates the walls) or, if you have contacts, go and shake the tree of people you know.

If you want Packet Pushers to get even better, and to get a more balanced approach, here is your chance to help out.


And please, no more accusations of bias or favouritism. I’m doing the best I can to produce a balanced and accurate show above level seven on the nerd meter. I think that’s a reasonably tough thing to do. It requires a lot of time from me to research, read, learn and be fit to join in the discussion. I don’t need to be dragged down on issues like this.

I depend on vendor’s participation to make the show interesting and need their help to achieve that. If you are a vendor then get in contact [email protected]. I’m happy to look at your products and proposals – we are all in the industry together and partnering for our own success.

I’d be even happier to talk to a vendor who wants to sponsor or advertise :).

  • http://www.network-janitor.net Kurt Bales (@networkjanitor)

    Not to mention Cisco’s “ban” on non-marketing staff from participating in the Packet Pushers Podcasts, even on topics where said person would be considered a subject matter expert!

    C’mon Cisco, open up!


  • http://twitter.com/ziyadb_ Ziyad Basheer

    Cisco, we want you on the show!

  • http://Crankypotato.com Ian

    Personally I’m happy with the content. Like yourself and guests, I predominantly work with cisco and cisco kit and enjoy hearing about other vendor offerings.

    Despite the occasional bagging of cisco, there is plenty of content that should keep their fans happy and informed.

    Just my $0.02 worth

    • Tyler

      I have to agree with Ian here. I like NOT hearing about Cisco. For so long that’s all we’ve had access to and known. You guys do a great job summing up the relevant Cisco news already.

      Cisco’s fading and not innovating. I’m looking at all of the options that have been presented on your show and appreciate learning more about them.

  • http://showbrain.blogspot.com Ben Story

    Greg, thanks for the great show.

    Cisco, wake up and smell the Juniper berries. There was a big mighty company called IBM that once was in every datacenter because no one ever got fired for buying IBM. Not so any more. There are a lot of people that put Cisco in the category of no one getting fired for buying Cisco, but if they ignore their core customers, that might not be true much longer.

  • Edson Soares

    Cisco, we’re waiting you…

  • http://blog.paulleroux.net Paul A Leroux

    Hi Greg, The show is called Packetpushers. not CiscoPushers.

    If people want to hear more about Cisco tell them to go call their local Pre or Post SE. I am sure he or she would be more than happy to talk to them in great lengths about their products. In my honest opinion Cisco gets enough press around the world. And although your show did start off as a bit of a Cisco “love-In” I have only continued to listen because you have moved the show to more of a Network Technology, vendor agnostic discussion forum.

    perfect example. If David Letterman, Jay Leno, and Connan O’Brien only invited the guests and musical acts they wanted to interview or listen to I am certain that people would stop watching very quickly.

    So if it works out that you are getting people from different companies asking to be on your show I do believe that you should bring them on to keep the topics fresh. You put in allot of work to build the show, I don’t think you should be asked to chase people down.

    Paul @paulAleroux

    • Ferro Greg

      You make a good point, but I feel that topics have become unbalanced away from Cisco specific areas. I’m receiving abusive emails about being a HP / Avaya / Juiper / etc fanboi that have the ring of truth about them.

    • Ferro Greg

      Hi Paul

      Those are good points, but it’s also true that the industry marketshare is more than 80% Cisco for networking, and we should try to represent that at least in some way. I don’t plan to let Cisco to dominate the topics, but it’s not balanced the way it is.

      Hopefully you can stay in contact with me and let me know if I get too Cisco-centric and remind me.


      • http://blog.paulleroux.net Paul L

        Hi Greg

        Thank you for acknowledging my comment. I only try to call it as I see it. I am a fan of your blog, podcasts and your contributions to the community. Please keep it up.

        and I am sorry to hear you are getting “abusive” emails. That is not fair at all. You have time and production costs to consider. If listeners have problems with your lack of Cisco content she should be contacting Cisco. Not taking their frustrations out on you.

        rise above it my friend….

        and I will gladly continue to listen and offer feedback. Let me know if you ever need anything.


  • http://aconaway.com Aaron Conaway

    Seriously, Cisco? You’re ignoring the best networking podcast on the planet? There are so many opportunities here; please catch up to the rest of the world and help these guys out.

  • http://www.iggdawg.com/blog Ian Bowers

    I think a lot of networking folks either only know Cisco, or are so firmly entrenched in it because all their colleagues are. They’ve simply never heard an authoritative voice expressing counterpoints before. My degree, back when I thought it would be worth something, was in physics. We’re taught never to accept a body of knowledge without know the arguments against it and the arguments for competing bodies of knowledge. It’s a pretty universal way of thinking, but I think in the networking world most people simply never hear arguments against Cisco, or arguments for other competitors. At least not until they’re higher level and have already dug themselves in with Cisco gear.

    Most of your guests are biased for or against Cisco for one reason or another. But like the Pledge of the Network Admin says, “there are many other networks a lot like mine, but none are just like it”. They’re very good at describing the nature of their networks, and it’s usually clear why they favor one technology or another. Can’t fault them on that at all. Personally I think you’re pretty objective about Cisco. When you bash the products, you tend to be right. They’re machines, they have shortcomings. For example, MARS does some really really cool stuff. But it could summon (insert diety of choice here) himself and it wouldn’t make the web interface suck any less. And for a reporting device, that sort of matters.

    I’ll lend you one of my stock sayings I hand out to people when I know I’ve done due diligence on any given matter and people whine about it: “I’ve done the math/tests/debugs/etc on this and I’m right. You might not be very happy about it, but it doesn’t make me any less right”.

    • Ferro Greg


      I think we’ve talked about this somewhere – I seem to remember saying “I’m not a Cisco Engineer, I’m a Network Engineer” so I agree with you.

  • Aaron Willette

    Cisco is missing a huge marketing channel by not sharing their products and future plans with the podcast. Their loss.

  • http://www.candidmotivators.com Dave

    Greg, my only complaint about the packet pushers is that you don’t have a daily radio show where I live :)

    You guys do an amazing job on the packet pushers podcast.

  • Mario Gingras

    Getting to the top is hard but it is harder to stay at the top, may be Cisco think there omnicient and no one is jeopardizing there position. But there are Juniper, Brocade, HP and other that do offer product without any oversubscription at the same price.

    The argument that no one ever got fired from buying cisco will not stand for long.

    To the Packetpushers, continue your great work, can’t wait to get a new podcast to listen during the commute back home. even listen to them a couple of time…

  • Ty_a

    I’m only interested in the technical discussions on the PP podcast. I don’t care about vendors at all. Stuff in the virtualization sector like Arista EOS and soft routers like Vyatta really interest me.

  • http://layer3.wordpress.com Chris Church

    The podcast is great and keeps getting better. I wouldn’t get stressed out over Cisco’s lack of interest. Personally, I’m not interested in listening to a marketing pitch from a vendor. The real world experiences and opinions your guests share during the show is where the value is IMO.

  • Matt Johnson

    Great podcast Greg. If its only Cisco marketing involved, is that going to add value?


  • http://packetu.com Paul Stewart

    I’d like to hear from Cisco, but I wouldn’t ever want them to dominate the podcast. I’m sure you wouldn’t let them dominate anyway. A range of airtime between those out in the trenches and tough interviews with many relevant vendors would be great.

  • http://libertysys.com.au/ Paul

    I have to agree with Matt Johnson: if Cisco will only let marketing people on the show, not technical people, i fail to see the value. Perhaps that’s why they haven’t bothered contacting you: they know that they won’t be able to keep up with you technically, and internal policy prevents them from sending the people who could keep up.

    • http://etherealmind.com Greg Ferro

      For most large companies the marketing team consists of both engineers and liberal arts students. The “liberal arts majors” argue about engagement, colour choices and how to get themselves into the video while the engineers produce white papers, design guides, system architectures and other useful information. It’s possible that the only value the marketing departments have is to find these engineers so that their cost centre isn’t driven from the sales team who would have them pounding the pavement instead of doing something useful.

      We work with the vendors to put a product manager (who are usually knowledgeable) to talk about the marketing _and_ the product specialist/engineer to talk about the technology stuff.

      It’s worked OK so far, so we will keep moving in that direction.

  • raj_sultan

    Nah.. Cisco doesn’t have time to listen to this kind of chatter…. no, they are busy showing off their cars, racing track day photos among themselves – then claiming that expense internally.

    Ah not to forget, participation on this kind of podcasts, doesn’t give any monetary value and marketing team or account team doesn’t get any % on it, so why bother.

    This topic should be on https://learningnetwork.cisco.com/community/connections or https://supportforums.cisco.com/index.jspa then let’s see if anyone replies.