You get to do one big thing every 10 years

“You get to do one big thing every 10 years of your career” – MIT Professor William F. Schreiber

I just hit my 10 year anniversary at Cisco. It’s been an amazing decade and I’ve had the opportunity to work with an amazing DevNet team, amazing Cisco colleagues, an amazing DevNet community, and amazing Cisco partners and customers. Together, we created DevNet!

DevNet has become much more than Cisco’s developer program. DevNet is about APIs and software excellence. DevNet is about the industry transformation to automation and digital transformation with an API-first programmable infrastructure. DevNet is about the cloud and applications leveraging a programmable network. DevNet is about creating new jobs and new job roles and DevNet is about transforming workforces.

Most importantly, DevNet is about empowering people to innovate and create this new future. DevNet is about helping people advance and succeed in their careers. DevNet is about the community that you all have formed — I could not be prouder of each and every one of you, the DevNet community, who are driven by heart and purpose, who helped each other and sought help from each other, as you have taken on new challenges to improve your lives, your careers, and your businesses.

My Ph.D. thesis advisor at MIT, Professor William Schreiber, told me “You get to do one big thing every 10 years of your career.” He created major technology innovations that had significant impact in every decade of his career. In his career decades, he:

  • Served in the military where his job was doing math by hand.
  • Created signal processing technologies to transform black-and-white television to color television. 
  • Created imaging technologies to transform black-and-white newspaper printing to color newspaper printing. 
  • Created video compression and wireless technologies and policies to transform analog television to HDTV and create new jobs.

I was Professor Schreiber’s last Ph.D. student as we designed an HDTV system to transform the analog television industry to HDTV.

I have always taken Professor Schreiber’s advice to heart, and my decades look like this:

  • Grew up as an Asian-American in Batavia, NY.
  • Created video compression and wireless technologies to transform the analog television industry to HDTV at MIT; and while at MIT learned about technology, innovation, and teamwork in the MIT EECS department and MIT women’s ice hockey team.
  • Created multimedia technologies to add video streaming to the mobile phone industry and enable life-size video conferencing while at HP Labs working with HP’s Enterprise and Personal Systems businesses; created innovative experiences leveraging client-cloud technologies when leading HP’s Experience Software Business; and created an innovative life-size augmented collaboration experience as the Chief Technology & Experience Officer of Cisco’s collaboration business.
  • Created a developer and innovation platform and vibrant 650K+ developer community with Cisco DevNet, to advance the industry transition to automation and digital transformation with an API-first programmable infrastructure that allows the cloud and applications to leverage a programmable network while enabling innovations from a broader developer community and ecosystem.

Now, it’s time for me to explore my new adventure for the next decade.

I enter this phase with excitement. I do not have a specific job in mind, but it will surely be at the intersection of technology and business innovations that change people’s lives. It will build on various aspects of my experience with developing software, cloud, multimedia, and networking technologies; creating innovations that accelerate business growth, transform industries, and improve lives; and creating communities and ecosystems to grow businesses and help people advance their careers.

I’m excited about taking the opportunity to fully explore what’s out there, and widening my lens to what’s going on across the industry and around the world today and for the next 10 years.

I am forever committed to you and our community and ecosystem. I appreciate how hard you worked for your achievements and contributions. I will continue to follow and help your success in your digital transformation, in growing your businesses, and in advancing your careers. Thank you for all you have done for me and for each other!

Let’s stay in touch as I’m a simple digital click away. I’ll be sharing my journey with you as I enter this next chapter. I look forward to celebrating your continued growth and success!

One Reply to “You get to do one big thing every 10 years”

  1. Susie,

    Thank you so much for your wonderful insights! As of late, I’ve realized that great things are accomplished by long-term arcs. Big picture themes, not short-term gains.

    I applaud you on creating a movement that’s inspired so many people, including myself. My technology journey started with the CCNA, yet I have since realized that value is created when tech intersects with people. DevNet helped me understand that it’s about translating technical architectures into positive outcomes for people and businesses.

    Thank you once again for all you’ve done for the community!

    ~Zain

    Liked by 1 person

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