Artifact Details


Cisco oral history panel : John Morgridge and Don Valentine

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This two-part joint oral history with John Morgridge (CEO) and Don Valentine (lead venture investor) offers a truly unique picture of how a fabulously successful company got its start. Although neither of these men were part of the initial startup of the company, they describe how that happened, the factors that Don Valentine, founder of Sequoia Capital, considered before making his initial investment, and the reasons for bringing John Morgridge in as the first true CEO.

The two then jointly tell the story of how Cisco attacked the market, the development of a company culture, the challenges of product development and competitive forces. They described how difficult decisions were made, how the company dealt with the forced exit of the founders, and so many of the other challenges faced by the company as it raced to $1B in revenue. This was not only an important monetary milestone, but it was also the target set by Morgridge when he first joined the company. Don related the interchange when John first came on board, “And John softly told me – and I didn't get it – he said, ‘I’m going to leave when we hit sales of a billion dollars’. And I thought to myself, you’ve got to be kidding me. I won’t live that long.” John left six years later when revenue hit $1.5B.

Its a fabulous story of success due to an exploding market and the clear and firm guidance of John and Don.


2014-11-19; 2014-12-08


Hollar, John C., Moderator
Morgridge, John, Panelist
Valentine, Don, Panelist


Computer History Museum

Place of Publication

Mountain View, CA, USA



Copyright Holder

Computer History Museum




Cisco Systems; Internet; Switch; Lerner, Sandy; Bosack, Len; 3Com; SynOptics; Cabletron; Wellfleet; Ethernet; Sequoia; Mazzola, Mario; Hancock, Ellen; TCP/IP; Chambers, John

Collection Title

Oral history collection

Series Title

Silicon Valley 360 : Cisco


Computer History Museum

Lot Number