Prashanth Shenoy, the VP of Enterprise Networks, IoT Networking, and DevNet Marketing at Cisco, shares how he keeps innovative and creative in his workspace.October 26, 2017
The things on a person's desk can say a lot about them. What's On Your Desk is The Network's Q&A series that interviews Cisco's innovators and explores their favorite work objects.
Stephanie: Who are you and what do you do?
Prashanth: I'm Prashanth Shenoy, VP of Enterprise Networks, IoT Networking, and DevNet Marketing. My team and I are responsible for creating thought leadership and awareness for the portfolios mentioned with our customers, prospects, partners, sellers, and influencers.
Stephanie: What is your team working on right now?
Prashanth: EN is the biggest and broadest portfolio at Cisco, so marketing has a huge impact in how we can drive creative and innovative marketing to enable our sellers to sell better, and for our customers to buy and adopt our solutions faster.
We have a globally diverse team, which allows different perspectives to understand all customers, their careabouts, and how Cisco can help them accelerate their IT and business outcomes.
Stephanie: You mentioned you have a team that works around the globe—do you travel a lot?
Prashanth: I have a four-month-old daughter so I've intentionally cut down on travel to be with my family. When I traveled more, I'd always pack swim trunks with the grand illusion that I'd spend some time at a pool and swim or enjoy a drink or two – that generally never happens, but one can hope.
These days, I've empowered my team to go to events and interact with customers, partners, and sales a lot more—that's the beauty of a globally diverse organization.
Stephanie: Where is your desk located?
Prashanth: My desk is in San Jose Building 8, on the first floor. I choose a corner spot because it gets a lot of sunlight and my team sits close by so I can drop in and harass them.
I need sunlight, art, and movement to inspire creativity. Since our job is relatively sedentary, I needed something to get exercise—short of getting a treadmill, I got a standing desk.
The whiteboard for me is an important piece in my office and where creativity is captured. Things don't happen when you sit on your laptop and send emails, things happen when you work with other people and come with creative ideas. It helps me think clearly and articulate my thoughts.
I also like abstract artwork—if you look at my house, there's a lot of different artwork that my wife and I have collected from local artists all around the world over the last 20 years. I use that to provide me inspiration.
Stephanie: How does creativity and art make its way into your work?
Prashanth: One of the fun things about marketing is we get to think creatively and apply our creative skills into fresh new ideas.
A cool thing we did was create the Mars Network Challenge game. We thought, how do we create a fun, interactive, and engaging platform that people can use to actually experience our solution?
With the Mars Network Challenge, we're calling all engineers to help build the first sustainable human presence on the Red Planet. Through interactive game play, they get to experience how our network solutions can actually be deployed.
Players learn a lot more about the value Cisco provides for better network security, analytics, and operations. It's gotten great feedback.
Stephanie: So what's on your desk?
This is where collaboration happens—the DX80 system has video, audio conferencing, and whiteboarding all combined. I get to interact and talk to people all around the world.
Banana and energy bar
It's the breakfast of champions. Since I get to work really early, I need to have good energy. Sometimes when I'm in back to back meetings and can't get to the cafeteria, I have another round of bananas and energy bars. That explains my lean and mean figure, if you will. That and the standing desk. Genes may have something to do with it too.
I wanted a really lightweight, reliable, and intuitive workspace to work on. This satisfies all of that. I'm in love with this since it never crashes on me and helps me do my work more efficiently.
A lot of material we create is localized and more focused on what's happening in that region and country. This is one of the local languages from Latin America—a lot of interesting stories on people, talent, market and techology transformation.
Pack of network cards
We created this a year back when we were thinking of how to explain the value the network brings to our customers. These playing cards tells the value of the network in every card—how it provides better security, how it provides operations, why a Cisco network is better for our customers' business transformation.
The world is full of patterns and sometimes we may think there's only one way of looking at things. Art is to have your own perception, to have your own way to look at things. This piece is one form of that expression, and someone says it could also represent my convoluted mind—that could be true too.
I'm fascinated by the history and culture of communities and societies and how we as a species have evolved. I'm reading Sapiens by Yuval Harari, which gives the history of humankind—it's a fascinating book to understand humans as a species and how being cooperative flexibly in large numbers was key to us thriving as a species.
I actually retain notes that I take using a pencil or pen much better. There are some things technology can't solve and this is one of those things. So when I have meetings, I can always go back and refer to this. It's nice to go back to the age-old technologies of writing on a paper and communicating.
I have a Ricoh Theta 360 camera that I take to our offsites and send films to show our team back at the office.
"The Network. Intuitive." to unveil our intent-based networking was one of the biggest launches in Cisco's history and was done just three months back. Internally, the codename for this launch was of a fictional superhero. This is a reminder of the fun that we had, the challenges that were part of the launch, and the fact that I can use these when I'm not happy in meetings.