wealth inequality

136. Bob Metcalfe on Free Enterprise, Why Income Inequality is a Good Thing and the Evolution of an Energy Internet

bob metcalfeBob Metcalfe (@bobmetcalfe) is an MIT-Harvard-trained engineer/entrepreneur Internet pioneer who invented Ethernet in 1973 at Xerox Parc, and founded 3Com Corporation in 1979. About 1.2B Ethernet ports were shipped last year — 400M wired and 800M wireless (Wi-Fi). His company went public in 1984, peaked at $5.7B in annual sales in 1999, and after 30 years became part of HP in 2010.

Bob was a publisher-pundit for IDG-InfoWorld for 10 years and a venture capitalist for 10 years with Polaris Venture Partners, where he is still an Emeritus Partner. Bob’s also the Professor of Innovation and Murchison Fellow of Free Enterprise in the Cockrell School of Engineering, and Professor of Entrepreneurship at The University of Texas at Austin.

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In today’s episode we discuss:

  • How Xerox Parc pioneered so much of the early internet
  • Why we need to build an energy “internet” now
  • How to deal with black swan risks and rewards
  • Why Bob believes free enterprise is always the answer
  • The prospect of biotech in health and healthcare
  • What to think about technology pathologies and progress
  • Why Bob quit Twitter and is skeptical of social media
  • The reason education is the future of research
  • Why fake new influences your thoughts more than you think
  • Arguments for libertarianism
  • Why income inequality is a good thing
  • What to do to save the world from climate change driven disaster
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