“Never fire anybody alone.”
Bob Metcalfe (@BobMetcalfe) is an MIT-Harvard-trained engineer-entrepreneur who became an Internet pioneer in 1970, invented Ethernet in 1973, and founded 3Com Corporation in 1979. About 1.2B Ethernet ports were shipped last year — 400M wired and 800M wireless (Wi-Fi).
3Com went public in 1984, peaked at $5.7B in annual sales in 1999, and after 30 years became part of HP last year. Bob was a publisher-pundit for IDG-InfoWorld for about 10 years and a venture capitalist for about 10 years with Polaris Venture Partners, where he continues as a Venture Partner.
Bob is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a recipient of the National Medal of Technology.
In this conversation, we talk about everything from how he toasts when drinking with friends, how he learned to recruit and fire, what he does to scale businesses, different approaches to talent evaluation, critical decisions and mistakes made, and much more. Please enjoy!
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Want to hear another conversation with a fascinating polymath? Listen to this episode with Kevin Kelly, in which we discuss population implosions, The Long Now Foundation, organizational methods for learning, and much more? — Listen to them here (stream below or right-click to download part 1 | part 2 | part 3):
This episode is brought to you by WeWork. I haven’t had an office in almost two decades, but working from home and coffee shops isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. When I moved to Austin, one of the first things I did was get a space at WeWork, and I could not be happier. It’s dog friendly and serves the best cold-brew coffee on tap I’ve ever had!
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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.
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