• Former Cisco CEO John Chambers, now a big angel investor and executive coach, believes a bloodbath is coming in the business world which will kill off many of today’s companies.
  • Amazon, and others that rise in its digital image, are taking their places.
  • He says that Walmart knew Amazon was a threat over 15 years ago, when he was on Amazon’s board, even though Amazon was a pipsqueak upstart in those days compared to the retail giant.
  • His dire prediction also carries within it the seed of success that every manager needs to understand.

Former Cisco CEO John Chambers is now a big angel investor and executive coach. And he’s got a strong message for everyone in business today: your company is probably going to die.

“There’s going to be a new generation of digital players — and it’s going to occur remarkably fast — that will unseat the incumbents,” he told Business Insider. “40% plus of the large incumbents today and probably 70% of small to medium businesses will not exist in 10 years.”

John Chambers
John Chambers
Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

Chambers is of course known for his legendary two-decade-plus reign running Cisco that turned the company into a major tech player worldwide. In 2015 he retired from the CEO job and he stepped off the board in 2017

Since then, he’s started a new career working with startups and is an advisor or executive coach for 14 of them and counting, some of them in stealth mode, he says.

We asked him what advice he gives to his advisees when it comes to competing with Amazon, the shark of today’s business world. Amazon is a digital conglomerate with its teeth in everything from cloud computing and databases to home repair services and entertainment. It is constantly gnawing into new markets and often named as one of the the key reasons why incumbents are struggling….