In 1984 William Gibson used the term "cyberspace" in his novel Neuromancer and Cisco had two employees. Twenty years on, Cisco employs 34,466 people and turns over almost $19bn.
Cisco, named for San Francisco, was started by Len Bosack and Sandy Lerner after they met at Stanford University. They worked on how to get different networks, with different protocols, to talk to each other and swap information reliably. In 1985 Cisco got its first company logo and shipped its first product - the MEIS subsystem. The company worked out of the home of one of the founders in Atherton, California.
The company has stayed central to router technology ever since. In 1986, with 6 employees, it started shipping Advanced Gateway Server (AGS) - running a version of Cisco IOS - the code for a later version was stolen last week.
Sales of routers and servers still make up the bulk of Cisco sales but it has also bought into other markets like home networking and VoIP.®