Fireside Chat with Bob Metcalfe
Internet pioneer and Ethernet inventor, Dr. Robert Metcalfe, will be speaking at a Fireside Chat at SXSW this year on Tuesday, March 13, from 9:30 to 10:30 am, joined by business reporter at the Austin-American Statesmen, Kirk Ladendorf.
Now living in Austin, Metcalfe works at The University of Texas at Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering where he serves as Director of Innovationand teaches the “One Semester Startup”. At the panel, Dr. Metcalfe will share his perspectives on reactivity, new media in Central Texas, young entrepreneurs, venture capital, the tech bubble and other issues.
Robert Metcalfe was there from the beginning; believing in something that was so new and incredible that it sounded ridiculous to some (a.k.a. – AT&T!); attempting to make the intangible tangible; marking the onset of this ever-growing, ever-expanding digital revolution that we know today. Now that would have been an amazing feeling.
Dr. Metcalfe has had the opportunity to travel down several different career paths, learning and growing from each of his experiences. Of his many careers and life lessons, he has learned a few things about choosing a successful career. “Two things about what you choose to do: (1) it has to be fun and (2) be good at it. You cannot get #2 without #1.”
After attending (and earning several degrees, including a master’s and a Ph.D.) MIT and Harvard University–where he studied electrical engineering, mathematics, and computer science–he joined Xerox’s Research Center in Palo Alto, inspiring him to invent the Ethernet.
Metcalfe later left Xerox to launch his own company, 3Com, a multi-billion dollar company that sold commercial versions of the Ethernet and other networking products. After 3Com, he went on to join InfoWorld as publisher, CEO, and weekly columnist, and was also vice president of technology at InfoWorld’s parent company, International Data Group. Shifting gears to venture capitalism, Metcalfe became a partner of Polaris Venture Partners.
There’s a lot a young entrepreneur can learn from Dr. Metcalfe, being a seasoned and experienced entrepreneur. “Hang out with other entrepreneurs and, even better, with your prospective customers. Listen. Listening is key and you have to demonstrate that you are listening, say by using their words back at them.