Bob Metcalfe

metcalfe2Robert (Bob) Metcalfe was a pioneer in computing, creating the first theory about ethernet networking, which has become the industry standard. Born 1946 in Brooklyn, NY, he was sure he wanted to be an electrical engineer and go to MIT by age 10. He enrolled in 1964, leaving five years later with his dream. Subsequently he earned a Ph.D. in computer science from Harvard.

While working at Xerox in 1973, he invented ethernet. In 1979 he formed 3Com, which everyone is familiar with today, and thanks to Metcalfe’s management and marketing skills propelled ethernet to the defacto standard and cemented 3Com as a Fortune 500 company. After leaving in 1990 he began to voice his concerns about problems in computing and networking, and in 1993 he became vice president of International Data Group. In 1995 he caused a debate by declaring that the internet would collapse by 1996.  Although a few ISPs suffered setbacks during that period, they were minor and did not bring the web to it’s knees. Metcalfe responded by eating his words-literally, blending his own magazine column and consuming the beverage at the 1997 Sixth International World Wide Web Conference.

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