The Internet was developed over many years by many great entrepreneurs who toiled in the lab and the market place to develop real innovation. They did this with a passion for the technology they were developing, but great uncertainty with regard to how their technologies in the end would effect society. The true entrepreneurs of the bunch evolved with the market place, discovering new angles and views on how to be successful. They were beat up in the market place, and survived stronger for it. First amongst these Entrepreneurs is Bob Metcalfe, the inventor of Ethernet (as in he has the patent) which is a critical foundational technology for the Internet. His classmates at MIT were key players in Email, FTP, TCP/IP, etc.
Metcalfe went on to found 3Com corporation, a leader in the Internet. He has been around all the key innovations in information technology over the last 40 years. He is now a major investor in all forms of new start-ups, with a particular concentration on Energy.
Metcalfe’s perspective on how to solve the energy problem is a good lesson for us all. Metcalfe, based on his real and successful experience actually doing something that has changed our lives, believes that the pathway to climate salvation will be the development of Clean and Cheap energy. This notion of “Cheap” is critical to his perspective. Rather than restrict, Metcalfe wants to expand and make efficient. Now think about this, computers use to be expensive, over time they became cheaper, new applications were developed, society shifted, the world operates in a different manner. Perhaps in a better manner. Metcalfe suggests that the dire climate predictions will be swept away by entrepreneurs who blow our mind with market derived innovation. For a great summary of Metcalfe’s views, you need to see this YouTube video:
If you listen to Metcalfe, you are compelled to think differently about how to solve the climate problem in a way that meets all our needs.