Former Verizon CEO Provide Inside Look At Company In New Book

Verizon untethered an insider story of

innovation and disruption tells the

story of how Verizon grew from an

underdog regional phone company in 2002

the global communications giant that it

is today

the Opera that author of that book is a

former chairman and CEO of Verizon Ivan

Seidenberg and he joins me now it's been

a long time as usual in your understated

way your book is not about you as much

as it's about all the other people and

all the decisions that made Verizon a

very strong competitor and company

during of course what was your very

successful tenure why do you always take

a back seat on these things Ivey I don't

think I take a back seat I think the

company is in the forefront of this you

know and the reason I wrote this I

thought Verizon really had a good story

to tell with a lot of lessons to be

learned and after collaborating with 50

of my colleagues and with LOM Chiron and

a professional storyteller in the

history Factory Scot McMurray we

concluded there was a good story to tell

and here it is Verizon untethered and

what is the key takeaway that you'd like

from people to sort of understand as you

go through the history of the company

certainly from well from way back but

from the nine next days of the Bell

Atlantic days right up until the present

or near present day I think a couple of

things I think the first is we had a

self image that we provided a great

reliable network doesn't sound like a

very complicated strategy and it took a

long time for us to get confident enough

to make sure that we told that story all

the time and do it there were two events

that sort of made that happen

the first was 9/11 9/11 said it's okay

to provide a great Network and getting

the stock exchange back up and running

was a great a great achievement I you're

right right not far from here for us

which was partially destroyed and the

work you guys did in those days that's

right 140 West Street and the other

point was the famous commercial can you

hear me now that sort of reinforced our

self-image that our story is all about

providing a great service to our

customers yeah you know it's interesting

and reading that part

and it's hard to have understand exactly

how important that might have been for

the company I mean advertising it really

and marketing becomes that important in

a sense for for the growth that you saw

well that's interesting

yes I think you leverage that once you

achieve what you wanted to achieve with

which was getting the stock exchange

back up and running but since we're on

your show for years analysts would say

to me what you strategy and I always

tell them we don't want to provide great

networks and it never sounded exciting

enough but nine eleven and can you hear

me now reinforce the Shelf image and the

foundation of what the company was all

about right and that still seems to be

the theme though there are some now who

say the horizon well the differential

between you and your competitors in

terms of network quality is not what it

once was

you can't win on that anymore and

certainly your successor Lowell McAdam

has had a more difficult time I would

argue than perhaps you did in terms of

the competitive landscape well I think

the current state in the industry

there's an enormous amount of disruption

of discontinuity Ram Sharan talks about

that in the book so what was facing I

think a harder job than I faced but even

though the competitors may be providing

better networks Verizon continues to

lead the league in all the awards and

all of the the accolades about what

their networks all about and when you

get to 5g it's another game changer tell

me what your thoughts are because

Lowell's actually was here with me a few

weeks ago talking about really

specifically the promise of 5g it does

seem to be an area once again where

Verizon is trying to lead with the

network quality with all the innovation

are they going to be successful no

absolutely I think when you go back in

time and you look at we would first to

go from

3G to 4G now we're going from 4G to 5g

we put FiOS in which now leads to a

whole generation of new fiber-optic

broadband network so I think here's the


Verizon I always thought viewed itself

as an enabler

for other people to create platforms

around a robust network and so I think

the opportunities that will come to the

company once they install and deploy

broad scale 5g will be far greater than

thinking about the limited number of the

companies are there in the universe

today that you can buy so I really like

what they're doing not because that's

the only thing they will do but it's the

first thing they will do now which will

lead to even greater opportunity coming

in the coming years you know it's funny

in looking at the reading the book the

pace of change in technology and pace of

change in terms of decision making how

quickly things can change only continues

to increase you know what do you advise

current CEOs in terms of how to deal

with that well first of all you have to

pay attention to your customers so your

customers are the first ones to tell you

whether or not you're on the right track

or not you can have great strategies you

can have all these mergers and

acquisitions your customers will tell

you so in our case we worried about

sales growth churn quality metrics what

the market tells you exactly what you

need to do the other thing is every

company needs to stick the first

principles and in our case running a

good network is first principles and if

we continue to do that there'll be good

years and bad years but the trajectory

over time will be up Christy won't you

say we you're a Verizon guy through him

for what 45 years I guess at the company

oh yeah

how's life been since you left the the

corner office it's great yeah why Wow

more time with my my family my children

my grandchildren I get to dabble in

projects I don't have to get up in the

morning and show up for work every day

I'm not responsible for other people I'm

responsible for my ideas and my projects

and it's good it's it's it's really good

and it's wonderful to look back at the

industry and see it's a strong industry

and Verizon is a very strong company

well congratulations on the book thank

you it's a great read and certainly

appreciate and nice to see you again yes

sir thank you for having me Porter Ivan

Seidenberg former chairman and CEO of

horizon with this new book Verizon

untethered hey there thanks for checking

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