Bob Metcalfe

Memory Lane
56 minutes, 19.5mb, recorded 2004-08-31
Halley interviews Internet pioneer Bob Metcalfe to learn more about his undergraduate years at MIT, and then his PhD work at Harvard. At this time, he was one of the early engineers wiring up the Arpanet when it was only 14 nodes old and hatching ideas which would later become Ethernet.

Bob tells how he landed a job at Xerox PARC research before graduating, and how Harvard did not accept his thesis at the last minute, but Xerox stood by their job offer.

Xerox needed Bob on a project out in Palo Alto and they didn't want to wait for him. The project involved linking a bunch of PC's on desks so they could communicate with one another -- something that had never been done before. This became Ethernet, and grew to be the new standard in networking at that time.

Working on research at Xerox PARC was interesting for Bob, but after a few years he realized it was time to start his own company to sell Ethernet -- thus 3Com was born.

In the second half hour, they discuss Bob's work as a venture capitalist at Polaris Venture Partners. He has good ideas for entrepreneurs and encourages them to expand their minds in terms of what problems they choose to solve.

Halley challenges Bob to put together a "dream team" for a fantasy start-up company and asks him what famous people, living or dead would be on his team of five. He also dreams up a new product that he feels needs to be created, one in the "save the world" category.

Last but not least, they end with a discussion of Metcalfe's Law.

This program is part of the Memory Lane series featuring Halley Suitt.

This free podcast is from our Memory Lane with Halley Suitt series.