In 2000, Internet pioneer Bob Metcalfe published a book entitled Internet Collapses and Other InfoWorld Punditry. Eleven years later, you can buy used copies of Internet Collapses for $0.01 on Amazon.
But while Bob Metcalfe may have been wrong about the collapse of the Internet, he’s been right about many many other things. Metcalfe not only invented the Ethernet in 1973 (and, by extension, wi-fi as wireless Ethernet), but he also has an eponymous Law named after him – the famous Metcalfe’s Law about the power of the network – as well as being the founder of 3COM, a one-time publisher of InfoWorld, a general partner at the Boston based Polaris Ventures and currently a Professor of Innovation at the University of Texas at Austin.
So it was a real thrill for me to sit down with Metcalfe to talk not only about his invention of the Ethernet and Metcalfe’s Law, but also about what most worries him about the robustness of today’s Internet. And while Metcalfe no longer believes that the Internet is about to collapse, he remains worried about its security threats, particularly from organized criminals and hackers.
And check back tomorrow for the second part of this two part interview when Metcalfe explains why there’s a social networking bubble and what sectors of the Internet economy he believes are just about to take off.
Pioneer of the Internet
No, the Internet Didn’t Collapse
Dr. Robert M. Metcalfe joined Polaris in 2001 and is a general partner in our Waltham office. He holds the position of Professor of Electrical Engineering and Director of Innovation at The University of Texas at Austin Experience: Bob had three careers in technological innovation before becoming a venture capitalist: While an engineer-scientist (1965-1979), Bob helped pioneer the Internet. In 1973, at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, he invented Ethernet, the local-area networking (LAN) standard on which he shares four patents. Now,...