Bob Metcalfe

Feb. 28, 2012

Bob Metcalfe: Startups: Innovating with the Machinery of Free Enterprise
Cockrell School of Engineering

Bob Metcalfe

Innovation makes the world go round. It gives us freedom and prosperity.

One form of innovation is driven by startups – entrepreneurial, technological innovation at scale – particularly at research universities, such as The University of Texas at Austin.

But the middle three letters of the word “startup” are “art.” There are many questions about how best to foster startup innovation. Bob Metcalfe is working on these questions, hoping to innovate on innovation.

Metcalfe calls the people who start up startups “founderati.” He discussed how to be founderati and how to practice the art of operating the exquisite machinery of free enterprise.


Key Points

Download Metcalfe's takeaways for "Startups: Innovating with the Machinery of Free Enterprise" (PDF). Download Adobe Reader.

About Bob Metcalfe

Professor of Innovation and inventor of today's local-area networking standard, Ethernet, Dr. Bob Metcalfe is the Murchison Fellow of Free Enterprise in The University of Texas at Austin's Cockrell School of Engineering.

Metcalfe has been a partner of Polaris Venture Partners since 2001 and continues as Venture Partner on the boards of five Polaris-backed enertech startups. During the 1990s, he was publisher of InfoWorld and wrote an Internet column with half a million weekly readers. During the 1980s, he founded, took public and grew the billion-dollar computer networking company, 3Com Corp., which merged with Hewlett-Packard in 2010. In the 1970s, Metcalfe was an Internet pioneer at MIT, Harvard and the Computer Science Laboratory of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, where he invented Ethernet.

Metcalfe has received numerous awards and recognitions including the ACM Grace Hopper Award in 1980, the IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal in 1988, the IEEE Medal of Honor in 1996, the National Medal of Technology in 2005, induction into to the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2007 and the Fellow Award from the Computer History Museum in 2008. In 2011 he received Japan's Computers and Communications Prize and was inducted into the Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame.

In November 2010 Metcalfe was recruited to lead innovation initiatives at The University of Texas at Austin's Cockrell School of Engineering. He began his appointment in January 2011.

Meet a Game Changer: Bob Metcalfe