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Optical/IP

Tony Li Returns to Cisco

Routing guru Tony Li has returned to Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), the company has confirmed.

It's a homecoming for the software expert, who joined Cisco in 1991 and went through stints at Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR), and Procket Networks, leaving Procket early this year for semi-retirement. Having Li on the team is no small potatoes; in fact, his presence at Procket helped propel that company to stardom above a stack of failed router startups (see Procket Processes a Dream Team and Li Finally Quits Procket).

Rumors started to swirl late Tuesday on Light Reading's message boards. Li, previously a very prolific poster on the boards, had not been heard from in some time. Some readers speculated that a new contract with Cisco forbids him from posting on the boards.

Mike Volpi, senior vice president of Cisco's routing division, confirmed that Li is now a Cisco employee, but Volpi said he is not prohibited from posting to message boards. Li is forbidden from leaking confidential information, says Volpi.

Volpi explained it this way: "Tony's a very digital thinker. If you tell him not to talk about the things he's not supposed to talk about -- he stops talking. But that's a Tony issue, not a Cisco issue."

The hiring brings Li back to the company he left in dramatic fashion. The story goes that Li nailed his resignation to his boss's door; Li won't confirm details but admits it wasn't his best moment (see New Kid on the Cisco/Juniper Block and Tony Li).

On a side note, it turns out there are now two employees at Cisco named Tony Li. One can only speculate whether the "other" Tony Li has gotten a voicemail box full of misdirected messages from well-wishers.

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading




SUPERWEBINAR ALERT
On Thursday, December 9, at 12 noon New York / 9 a.m. California / 5 p.m. London time, during a free hour-long live Web seminar, representatives from Light Reading, EANTC, Agilent, and Cisco will present the results of the Light Reading CRS-1 test and answer questions about them. Telecom Italia will also be participating.

To register for the December 9 Webinar click here
dmw_qqqq 12/5/2012 | 12:59:19 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco Agreed...this topic is becoming real old, like Bill Parcells ( i am not too crazy about the Eagles , either :) )...time for a new one.

Tony is a great guy for sure, but he is getting more than he deserves.
freetoair 12/5/2012 | 12:59:26 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco The simple reality is that:

1) Cisco did not want him working for a competitor - for good reason. As such I am sure he got a very lucrative deal - a can't say NO deal.

2) Given 1) Tony does not have much to lose - he can always quit :) and he most likely can work on anything he wants, does not have to take crap from anyone and work how he wants. Big place to get lost in -- or a lot of resources to use to get something done. Maybe he can light a spark - god knows they need it - has become another Nortel RTP or Richardson.

It is that simple.

Time for a more interesting thread.
zingaro 12/5/2012 | 12:59:27 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco sorry...meant to say "people there"...I'm not an employee.
lightbay 12/5/2012 | 12:59:28 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco =============================================
From what I hear, certain people here are
not all that happy with his return...fear
of displacement and being overshadowed
after all their years of hard work.
================================================

Does he return to the Procket group ?
zingaro 12/5/2012 | 12:59:28 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco Li seems like a dog running back home with his tail between his legs.

From what I hear, certain people here are not all that happy with his return...fear of displacement and being overshadowed after all their years of hard work.
pxf 12/5/2012 | 12:59:29 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco brahmos:

...........
my spies report he even has the old employee# back which is < 500. dont know if its normal for people returning to the Collective.
.................

Thats not unusual. From what I know even BCN guys got there old Cisco ID

pxf
lightbay 12/5/2012 | 12:59:30 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco > You could get rid of the entire HR
> department at Intel and not
> miss them. The only time they get
> active is when someone needs to be fired.

A lot of crazy things at Intel were
proposed and decided by Andy Grove (another
example was everyone has to go to work by
8:30AM), the old man who rode the Pentium
wave to fame, and people used to worship ....
He was wrong in just about every decision
and when he took other people's proposal
(like develope Intel micro-processor),
he became famous.
sigint 12/5/2012 | 12:59:32 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco The fact that somebody has time to (1) come up with such a rule, and (2) time to enforce it, is a definite sign that there's not enough work to do. Time for a layoff in HR.
__________________________________________________

I concur. You could get rid of the entire HR department at Intel and not miss them. The only time they get active is when someone needs to be fired.
fgoldstein 12/5/2012 | 12:59:33 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco I've been at companies that supposedly had policies against multiple rehire, but they were not aimed at top people -- essentially somebody that a VP personally wants to see hired.

I can see Tony getting his badge number back. Oddly enough, when I rejoined BBN after a 14-year absense, I would have been happy with my old 4-digit number, but got a lower number, below 1000. Good timing, I guess -- they had just exhausted the 4-digit numbering space, had hard-coded 4-digits into their systems, and were recycling numbers from the bottom. That was eventually fixed. I guess there's a lesson there about hard-coding field lengths, or something.
flush_meat 12/5/2012 | 12:59:34 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco niblick:

can you e-mail me at [email protected]?
I have a question for you.
Stevery 12/5/2012 | 12:59:38 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco > How many times can one quit and get in
> again? Is there a limit?

Intel has a limit of 2.


The fact that somebody has time to (1) come up with such a rule, and (2) time to enforce it, is a definite sign that there's not enough work to do. Time for a layoff in HR.
lightbay 12/5/2012 | 12:59:38 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco > How many times can one quit and get in
> again? Is there a limit?

Intel has a limit of 2. Microsoft/Cisco/Juniper
have no limit. If you are a heavy weight,
there is no limit anywhere. Just wonder
why Tony Li did not join Cisco via BCN ?
sigint 12/5/2012 | 12:59:41 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco niblick:
I've been in and out of Cisco couple of times and got my old number and picture back. Your name, number, picture, etc is all in the database.
__________________________________________________

How many times can one quit and get in again? Is there a limit?

Thanks,
sigint
niblick 12/5/2012 | 12:59:43 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco I've been in and out of Cisco couple of times and got my old number and picture back. Your name, number, picture, etc is all in the database.

sigint 12/5/2012 | 12:59:43 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco I think this happens at Intel too. However, they only take someone back once, unless it's through an act of acquisition. Can someone confirm?
__________________________________________________
my spies report he even has the old employee# back which is < 500. dont know if its normal for people returning to the Collective.
brahmos 12/5/2012 | 12:59:43 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco my spies report he even has the old employee# back which is < 500. dont know if its normal for people returning to the Collective.
change_is_good 12/5/2012 | 12:59:44 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco >> The management team looks strong, and should have been successful like at Nexabit.

what, like the loser sales management that went to juniper when nexabit folded years ago?

LOL
zingaro 12/5/2012 | 12:59:45 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco Tony Li...talk about overrated.
light-headed 12/5/2012 | 12:59:45 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco That should take a couple of hours max...

--------------------------------------------------
I hear Tony's first action item is to come up with something more diabolical than Juniper/Pradeep's infranet initiative.
rjmcmahon 12/5/2012 | 12:59:48 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco It's not really hero worship - more like peer recognition.

Well it seems like hero worshipping to me, but then I think the engineering field could use a bit more celebrity if that's what it takes to get people excited and involved ;-)

All of us crave that a little, and it doesn't hurt to recognise another engineer's achievements.

Along those lines, your posts on these boards have been of excellent quality and have been helpful to this engineer.
okee 12/5/2012 | 12:59:49 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco I hear Tony's first action item is to come up with something more diabolical than Juniper/Pradeep's infranet initiative.
dmw_qqqq 12/5/2012 | 12:59:49 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco Totally agreed..
sysco 12/5/2012 | 12:59:49 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco Tony will be a straight line to Paul Traina. Paul will be a dotted line to Michael Volpi. Paul will have approval authority of Tony's expense reports and final review Tony's IETF trip plans.
ironccie 12/5/2012 | 12:59:51 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc177...

Tony:

Everything you can imagine is real.

- Pablo Picasso

IronCCIE
j_adams 12/5/2012 | 12:59:52 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco C'mon guys. Why don't you leave Tony alone?
He probably does not want to waste his time,
was looking for a job and cisco offered him
one.
sigint 12/5/2012 | 12:59:52 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco It's not really hero worship - more like peer recognition. All of us crave that a little, and it doesn't hurt to recognise another engineer's achievements.
opt-out 12/5/2012 | 12:59:54 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco > The grapewine sayeth that BCN will be bought by
> Cisco very very soon. How will the Tony-Beesley
> combo fare ?

Very, very soon indeed. It does not look like Tony-Beesly will be much of a combo at all. Tony is in the CRS-1 world while BCN cooked up a OS for the midrange/edge.

The more intriguing question is how this will play with the existing Cisco engineering staff. Will Tony be welcomed back? He has not been very complimentary of Cisco during his absence. If he can be contained to working with the x-Procket team, it may work until they all do their time and leave.

How well will the Cisco staff work with the richly rewarded BCN team? They were founded in 4/04 and were awarded $34 million 7 months later. The press release indicates that they will get even more cash for meeting milestones. Will there be resentment in the ranks from those who do not get such rich cash rewards for meeting their milestones?

Stay tuned for As Cisco Turns.
ajalgujal 12/5/2012 | 12:59:56 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco
Tony(with his team) delivered a working high end router in procket. Cisco has already announced they want to build a smaller CRS-1 version. Cisco mgmt has hired one of the best(and successful) guys in building routers.

Good luck to Cisco and Tony !!!
jim_smith 12/5/2012 | 12:59:56 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco Descriptions indicate that Nexabit was highly successful ...

My interpretation of the description indicates that when Nexabit was sold, any piece of crap that was packaged in a box with a few muliticolor lights was "successful".

Success is easy when the bar is set that low.

Wake up Rip Van Winkle! Its not that easy any more.
Majid Alghaslan 12/5/2012 | 12:59:58 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco Although I am not a big fan of idolizing people GǪ but come on! The guy does deserve some credit here. After all, the article has HIS NAME and all of us are posting messages about HIM! So instead of bashing the poor guy, maybe try to work with him rather than against him.
marete 12/5/2012 | 12:59:58 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco Rocksolid, my assessment is based on descriptions of biographies of the management team at Axiowave's website. Descriptions indicate that Nexabit was highly successful, and their router was delivered to Lucent. Perhaps Lucent didn't know what to do with the router because they lost all the original designers to Axiowave. Agree?

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Marete, are you out to lunch. Nexabit was a disaster and got shut down by Lucent less than a year after the overhyped, overpaid acquisition.

Axiowave is going where it should never have escaped from - nothingness. Too bad for the employees, but the VCs are getting what they deserve for investing in a market that won't support another vendor, and with a management team that has not delivered before.
rocksolid 12/5/2012 | 12:59:58 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco What is the big deal. I get a sense that the only people who really care where Tony Li goes is a small group of competing silicon valley IP developers that are either at Cisco, Juniper, or have tried a start-up of their own. To them it is a big deal counting the pieces on the chess-board. But the customers don't really care, as long as large systems vendors deliver the products and features on time, and at appropriate cost points. Given that CRS-1 was developed entirely without Tony Li, it goes to show that a large corporation can deliver significant new technology using a team of people, and is not tied to any one individual. Stop counting the chips guys, you are in the wrong game....
rocksolid 12/5/2012 | 12:59:59 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco "should have been successful like at Nexabit".

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Marete, are you out to lunch. Nexabit was a disaster and got shut down by Lucent less than a year after the overhyped, overpaid acquisition.

Axiowave is going where it should never have escaped from - nothingness. Too bad for the employees, but the VCs are getting what they deserve for investing in a market that won't support another vendor, and with a management team that has not delivered before.
marete 12/5/2012 | 12:59:59 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco Any news on Axiowave in Marlborough? It's too bad that they had to lay off so many employees. The management team looks strong, and should have been successful like at Nexabit. Anyone know if they developed ASICs for their product?
andropat 12/5/2012 | 1:00:00 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco well guys like pedro and pusateri I wouldn't shrug off either

pat
pxf 12/5/2012 | 1:00:01 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco There is a lot of activity on Cisco hiring/firing product launch and re-positioning.

What I see is cyclical nature of technology. Internet at its current state and design is fairly matured and poised for its next evolution.

My take is that Cisco is taking all possible steps in terms of resource mobilization, market and product evolution and R&D (read acquisitions :)) to position itself for a new onslaught.

Watch out Juniper!!!
Road Trip 12/5/2012 | 1:00:02 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco Who is Tony Li (seriously)?
digerato 12/5/2012 | 1:00:03 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco Suggesting that Cisco might have taken the time and effort to write a custom employment contract that bans posting to LR (note: only LR, not any other msg board) really takes the cake! Get over yourselves, LR.

Secondly: Juniper et al. are probably breaking out the bubbly as I type this. They can get on with developing and marketing routers while Cisco has to deal with the huge drop in productivity that comes from having an arrogant primadonna on the "team". Oh, and I'm sure the very talented bunch of engineers at Cisco who managed to design and ship a very good product without Tony (the CRS-1) are overjoyed about being told how lucky they are to have him. I hear Juniper is hiring...

Digerato
edgecore 12/5/2012 | 1:00:04 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco Early Xmas gift for Tony

http://www.qnx.com/services/tr...

Cheers,

EC
whodunnit 12/5/2012 | 1:00:04 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco The grapewine sayeth that BCN will be bought by Cisco very very soon. How will the Tony-Beesley combo fare ?
steviescmr 12/5/2012 | 1:00:04 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco if lr is any indication, then tony li has some sort of monopoly on IP software engineering. what's the next article going to be: li christens new bathroom in building 16? when is this lovefest going to end?
ChatEnChapeau 12/5/2012 | 1:00:05 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco Pat: "juniper has yakov, ross callon, kireeti, katz, on and on and on..."

Yakov religiously works one or two days a week. Ross is, well, not so special. Kireeti & Dave Katz. That's it - though I agree that's more value than Tony because of both personality and competence, and more than a match for any other vendor. But there is no "on and on and on..."

Name another beyond those.

C-en-C
andropat 12/5/2012 | 1:00:05 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco think about it... this stuff is mostly hype!

juniper has yakov, ross callon, kireeti, katz, on and on and on...

by now these guys are mostly "consultants" who are as smart or more smart than tony. tony being at cisco won't change a thing.

pat
lightminded 12/5/2012 | 1:00:06 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco Ahhh, I was wondering what the spin from Juniper was going to be, naturally they're happy!
andropat 12/5/2012 | 1:00:07 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco It's actually the opposite... Juniper is probably jumping for joy!

He caused all kinds of problems at Juniper early on and many people were involved in cleaning up his messes. He is an outstanding "thinker" and in my opinion a terrible "doer".

I am sure Juniper is hoping he gets full rein to sit and watch the same happen within the core group over there. good luck cisco.

pat
lightminded 12/5/2012 | 1:00:08 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco Gotta make Juniper squirm a bit now. Nice coup for Volpe.
Stevery 12/5/2012 | 1:00:08 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco Gotta make Juniper squirm a bit now. Nice coup for Volpe.

I concur. Congrats to Volpe, it's not easy to reel in a star, and not many leaders have the ability (or sense) to land such talent.

Congrats to Tony, and remember that the shareholders also expect great things now.
optical_man 12/5/2012 | 3:01:03 AM
re: Tony Li Returns to Cisco Guys, I gave you 2 hours to recover from being "scooped" and you didn't post the story!

I couldn't wait, as I know LR fans love Tony.

Tony is now at Portola:

Business Week got it first. Odd. Aren't they an old world legacy print publication? How'd they scoop LR?
(he-he)

http://www.businessweek.com/te...