Bob Metcalfe Joins 5X5 Lineup to Deliver Closing Commentary—and Say Goodbye to Boston

Xconomy is extremely pleased to announce that pundit, inventor, venture capital investor, and future professor Bob Metcalfe has joined the keynote lineup for 5X5: Five Cities, Five Big Tech Ideas, our forum in downtown Boston next Wednesday afternoon. Metcalfe, inventor of the Ethernet and (for just a few more weeks, read on) a general partner at Polaris Venture Partners, will close out the afternoon with observations and closing thoughts in his trademark style blending humor, wit, and precision insights.

The event will also be something of a Boston goodbye, or at least a “so long for now,” for Metcalfe. One of the stalwart leaders of the Boston innovation community, Metcalfe shocked folks earlier this month by announcing he was leaving Boston for Austin in January after 10 years as a Polaris general partner—to become Professor of Innovation and Murchison Fellow of Free Enterprise at the University of Texas. He will also hold the more conventional title of professor of electrical and computer engineering. In the process of taking on those positions, he will reduce his role at Polaris to that of venture partner.

5X5 is a unique event that features one main presentation from a startup company representing each of Xconomy’s five cities: Boston, Detroit, San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle. They will be complemented by shorter “burst” presentations from five additional startups—and there will be a cool demo area as well. As Metcalfe sums up his role, “I will do 20 minutes of summary and comment on the day’s presentations and discussions, in my patented format, the terminal keynote.”

MetcalfeHis words to those attending: “There are two kinds of BIG start-ups, fast and slow. The fast kind is like Facebook, where an innovation (e.g., the social network) leverages a huge investment in infrastructure (the Web, the Internet), a platform. The slow kind of big start-up is like (my own) 3Com (and later Cisco), where at the start there were no customers demanding Ethernet for their Internet-connected PCs, mainly because they didn’t have PCs yet, not to mention no Internet either.”

How he adapts and enhances that message for each of our 5X5 presenters—and those in the audience—should be something to see. Get your tickets here now, they are going fast. And come see Bob Metcalfe off to Austin!

Bob is Xconomy's founder and chairman. You can email him at Follow @bbuderi

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