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Chambers Rocks The House At N+I

LAS VEGAS -- They waited in long lines just for a chance to hear him talk, and Preacher John delivered.

Part rock star and part tent-show evangelist, Cisco CEO John Chambers was networking's 60-minute man at NetWorld + Interop Wednesday evening, rocking the standing-room-only keynote-speech crowd with a wide-ranging, huckster-fast pitch that touched far and wide on Cisco's strategy and the role networking will play in the general economic scheme.

But the man was more important than the material.

He probably could have read the phone book, and still gotten applause. It was almost as if the networking geeks were waiting to hear someone tell them that it was cool to be in networking again, and Chambers obliged.

Part of Chambers' appeal is his humble sincerety -- he'll be the first guy to remind you that he failed in the past, if you start to praise him for his current success. He pokes fun at himself, making light of his rapid-fire pitchman delivery. He walks through the crowd Donohue-style duing his talks, looking people directly in the eye when he makes points.

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