The always energetic Chambers, 68, is now leading a venture capital firm (backed by his own money) he founded called JC 2. Along with his son John (who had marketing stints at Houzz, Netflix (NFLX) and Walmart's (WMT) e-commerce business) and long-time communications director Shannon Pina, JC 2 is investing in early stage companies ranging from a drone maker to a food company that hawks cricket-made snacks.
TheStreet (TST) talked with Chambers on its latest 'Jolt' podcast about the future of technology, his newest venture and social diversity in the workplace. Chambers had some top thoughts on tech regulation, too.
Below is an excerpt.
TheStreet: I am sure you have been watching the news around Facebook (FB) and data privacy, where does John Chambers stand on whether tech needs more government regulation?
Chambers: This is where I think it's so dangerous to talk about this in one word. I think tech companies owe a social responsibility to their users, to their nation and to the world to just do the right thing. I am more European in my views on privacy. I think companies must disclose what they are going to use the data for, they must get consent to use it that way and they must share how that is going to evolve.
I think this is part of growing pains [for tech]. I think people tend to look at this as black and white. These bumps don't surprise me. In fact, we talked very openly about it three years ago with the Germans and the French about both the job destruction it's going to have and how companies probably needed to interface more effectively to governments. During my 20 years at Cisco, we were very open and transparent with government and talked about concerns they had and how we would work through them.
We managed through two decades of that. This is the digital and social media era, and it has to be learned that you can't just exclude government you have to work toward common goals. If you don't, regulators will tell you they have no choice but to regulate.
High tech runs the danger of moving from being the good guys to the bad guys both on job destruction and lack of transparency. I think Silicon Valley runs the danger of being out of touch with the rest of the nation and the rest of the world.
Listen to the full interview with Chambers below.