Some of the best memories of my time at Cisco are of the people. I was fortunate enough to be at Cisco at a time when the company was truly on fire and experiencing hyper-growth. The atmosphere was all "can do" and satisfied my key drivers – feed my intellectual curiosity (keep learning!), leave things better than I found them (contribution) and work with a team that just keeps hitting the ball out of the park.
One of the people who truly left an impression was Chuck Pease – Chuck was a sales professional in New York and had some of the largest accounts in NYC as his beat.
He was awesome! He was interested in deeply understanding the customer's needs and figuring out how to provide them with solutions that met their needs. This was at a time where customer understanding of network technology was still evolving and as a result, placed a lot of demands for rapid development of new product.
Chuck was a consummate salesman – not just externally to the customer but internally as well. He knew how to make his case, how to get people on his side and how to give credit and kudos to all the unseen players when we won business.
Working with Chuck and my marketing counterpart was one of my best experiences of synergy between sales, marketing and engineering – all focused on the customer and their need.
Chuck knew about the unseen players and deeply appreciated the role they played. So from time to time, he would Fedex a big shipment of New York's finest bagels and schmears to California – bagels for EVERYONE in Cisco California. You could tell when they arrived… you'd see all the people in the building eating bagels and telling their friends, "Hey, Chuck sent us some bagels!" His simple gesture spoke more than words could ever have done – folks knew that what they did was appreciated!
On one visit to California, Chuck came into my office with a CD – "Hey Stu, you gotta listen to this!"… The CD was Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti.
The track was "Boogie with Stu".
I'm listening to that track as I write this and I can see Chuck's grin as if he was here in my office today.
Keep the Boogie going Chuck – we all miss you. The world lost a very Uncommon Man.