Robert Metcalfe
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Dr. Robert M. ("Bob") Metcalfe is a venture capitalist at Polaris Venture Partners in Waltham, Massachusetts.

Polaris partners are early-stage investors in information and medical technologies. Metcalfe specializes in Boston-based information technology start-ups.

Metcalfe serves on the boards of IDG, IDC, MIT, MediaLabEurope, Kelmscott Rare Breeds Foundation, Camden Technology Conference, Avistar, Narad, Avaki, and Ember.

Metcalfe had three careers before becoming a venture capitalist on 1/1/1:

While an engineer-scientist (1965-1979), Metcalfe helped build the early Internet. In 1973, at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, he invented Ethernet, the international local-area networking standard on which he shares four patents.

While an entrepreneur-executive (1979-1990), Metcalfe founded 3Com Corporation, the billion- dollar networking company where at various times he was Chairman, CEO, division general manager, and vice president of engineering, marketing, and sales.

While a publisher-pundit (1990-2000), Metcalfe was CEO of IDG's InfoWorld Publishing Company (1992-1995). For eight years, he wrote an Internet column, From the Ether, read weekly by 629,000 information technology professionals. He also wrote for American Spectator, Forbes, Technology Review, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Wired Magazine. He gave frequent speeches, appeared on radio and television, and hosted his own weekly webcast. He held entrepreneurship salons and produced conferences including ACM97, ACM1, Agenda, Pop!Tech, and Vortex.

Metcalfe's books include:

  • Packet Communication (Computer Classic Revisited). San Diego, CA: Annabooks, 1996. ISBN: 1573980331.
  • Denning, Peter and Robert M. Metcalfe. Beyond Calculation: The Next Fifty Years of Computing. New York, NY: Copernicus, 1997. ISBN: 0387949321.
  • Internet Collapses and Other InfoWorld Punditry. Foster City, CA: IDG Books Worldwide. ISBN: 076453503X.

Metcalfe was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1946. He graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1969 with degrees in electrical engineering and management. His 1973 Harvard PhD dissertation was entitled Packet Communication. He was consulting associate professor of electrical engineering at Stanford, where he taught computer programming and networking 1976-1983. He was a 1991-92 visiting fellow in the Computer Laboratory at the University of Cambridge, England.

Among numerous awards, Metcalfe received the Grace Murray Hopper Award in 1980 from the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). In 1988, he received the Alexander Graham Bell Medal from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). In 1995, Metcalfe was elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1996, he received the IEEE's Medal of Honor. In 1997, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering. And in 1999, he was elected fellow of the International Engineering Consortium.

After 22 years in Silicon Valley, Metcalfe now lives with his family on a farm in Maine and a townhouse in Boston.


flag The Enernet
as author at  MIT World: One Host Fits All,
flag Leadership in a Complex, Technology-Driven World
as author at  MIT World Series: Nobel Laureate Speakers,
together with: Rosalind Williams, Robert S. Langer, Phillip A. Sharp,
flag Placing Your Bets: Where Will the Smart Money Land?
as author at  MIT World Series: Enterprise Forum,
together with: Ann Winblad, Guy Kawasaki,
flag Lecture 3: Next Big Thing: Video Internet
as author at  MIT CMS.930 / 21F.034 Media, Education, and the Marketplace - Fall 2001,
flag Introducing the TR100
as moderator at  MIT World Series - 2002 TR100 Symposium,
together with: Bill Nguyen, Christina Lampe-Onnerud, Stephen O'Connor, Andrew Barrows,