Metcalfe, Bob

Bob Metcalfe

While an engineer-scientist 1965-78, Bob Metcalfe was an Internet pioneer at MIT, Harvard, Xerox Parc, and Stanford, inventing Ethernet at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center in 1973.

Today, a billion or two wired and wireless (WiFi) Ethernet ports are shipped annually. While an entrepreneur-executive 1979-90, Bob founded and grew 3Com Corporation, the billion-dollar networking company. 3Com went public in 1984, did $5.7 billion in sales during 1999, and joined HP in 2010.

During the 1990s, Bob was Publisher of IDG InfoWorld, where for eight years he wrote an Internet column read weekly by over half million information technologists. His two books include Packet Communication and Internet Collapses.

Bob was a General Partner of Polaris Venture Partners 2001-2010 and continues as Emeritus Partner of the Massachusetts-based venture capital firm. Bob earned two bachelor’s degrees, in electrical engineering and in industrial management, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1969. He earned a master’s degree in applied mathematics and a 1973 PhD in computer science from Harvard. He served as Consulting Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford 1975-1983, Visiting Fellow at Cambridge University 1991-1992, and is a Life Trustee Emeritus of MIT.

Bob is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and International Engineering Consortium. He received the Hopper Award from the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), Bell Medal from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Public Understanding of Science Award from the Exploratorium, and the IEEE Medal of Honor.

In 2005, Bob received the National Medal of Technology for “leadership in the invention, standardization, and commercialization of Ethernet.” He entered the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2007 and Computer History Museum Hall of Fellows in 2008. In 2016 he received the Shannon Prize from Bell Labs.

Bob is now six years into his 10-year mission of helping Austin be a better Silicon Valley.