Robert Melancton Metcalfe is an electrical engineer from the United States who co-invented Ethernet, founded 3Com and formulated Metcalfe’s Law. As of January 2006, he is a general partner of Polaris Venture Partners. Starting in January 2011, he holds the position of Professor of Electrical Engineering and Director of Innovation at The University of Texas at Austin. In 1964, Metcalfe graduated from Bay Shore Public High School. He graduated from MIT in 1969 with two B.S. degrees, one in Electrical Engineering and the other in Industrial Management from the MIT Sloan School of Management. He then went to Harvard for graduate school, earning his M.S. in 1970. While pursuing a doctorate in computer science, Metcalfe took a job with MIT’s Project MAC after Harvard refused to let him be responsible for connecting the school to the brand-new ARPAnet. At MIT’s Project MAC, Metcalfe was responsible for building some of the hardware that would link MIT’s minicomputers with the ARPAnet. Metcalfe was so enamored with ARPAnet, he made it the topic of his doctoral dissertation. However, Harvard flunked him. His inspiration for a new dissertation came while working at Xerox PARC where he read a paper about the ALOHA network at the University of Hawaii. He identified and fixed some of the bugs in the AlohaNet model and made his analysis part of a revised thesis, which finally earned him his Harvard PhD in 1973. Metcalfe was working at Xerox PARC in 1973 when he and David Boggs invented Ethernet, a standard for connecting computers over short distances. Metcalfe identifies the day Ethernet was born as May 22, 1973, the day he circulated a memo titled “Alto Ethernet” which contained a rough schematic of how it would work. “That is the first time Ethernet appears as a word, as does the idea of using coax as ether, where the participating stations, like in AlohaNet or ARPAnet, would inject their packets of data, they’d travel around at megabits per second, there would be collisions, and retransmissions, and back-off,” Metcalfe explained. Boggs identifies another date as the birth of Ethernet: November 11, 1973, the first day the system actually functioned. In 1979, Metcalfe departed PARC and founded 3Com, a manufacturer of computer networking equipment. In 1980 he received the Association for Computing Machinery Grace Murray Hopper Award for his contributions to the development of local networks, specifically Ethernet. In 1990 Metcalfe lost a boardroom skirmish at 3Com in the contest to succeed Bill Krause as CEO. The board of directors chose Eric Benhamou to run the networking company Metcalfe had founded in his Palo Alto apartment in 1979. Metcalfe left 3Com and began a 10 year stint as a publisher and pundit, writing an Internet column for InfoWorld. He became a venture capitalist in 2001 and is now a General Partner at Polaris Venture Partners. He is a director of Pop!Tech, an executive technology conference he cofounded in 1997. He has recently been working with Polaris-funded startup Ember to work on a new type of energy grid, Enernet.
William Arthur Stewart “Bill” Buxton is a Canadian computer scientist and designer. He is currently a Principal researcher at Microsoft Research. He is known for being one of the pioneers in the human–computer interaction field. Bill Buxton received his bachelor’s degree in Music from Queen’s University in 1973 and his master’s degree in Computer Science from University of Toronto in 1978. Bill Buxton’s scientific contributions include applying Fitts’ law to human-computer interaction and the invention and analysis of the marking menu (together with Gordon Kurtenbach). He pioneered multi-touch interfaces and music composition tools in the late 70s, while working in the Dynamics Graphics Project at University of Toronto. Recently, he is also known for his book Sketching User Experiences: Getting the Design Right and the Right Design (Morgan Kaufmann, 2007). Bill Buxton is a regular columnist at BusinessWeek. Before joining Microsoft Research he was Chief Scientist at Alias Wavefront and SGI, and a Professor at University of Toronto. He received the SIGCHI Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008 for his many fundamental contributions to the human–computer interaction field.
Steven Paul Jobs is an American business magnate and inventor. He is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Apple Inc. Jobs also previously served as chief executive of Pixar Animation Studios; he became a member of the board of The Walt Disney Company in 2006, following the acquisition of Pixar by Disney. He was credited in the 1995 movie Toy Story as an executive producer. In the late 1970s, Jobs, with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Mike Markkula, and others, designed, developed, and marketed one of the first commercially successful lines of personal computers, the Apple II series. In the early 1980s, Jobs was among the first to see the commercial potential of the mouse-driven graphical user interface which led to the creation of the Macintosh. After losing a power struggle with the board of directors in 1984, Jobs resigned from Apple and founded NeXT, a computer platform development company specializing in the higher education and business markets. Apple’s subsequent 1996 buyout of NeXT brought Jobs back to the company he co-founded, and he has served as its CEO since 1997. In 1986, he acquired the computer graphics division of Lucasfilm Ltd which was spun off as Pixar Animation Studios. He remained CEO and majority shareholder at 50.1% until its acquisition by The Walt Disney company in 2006. Consequently Jobs became Disney’s largest individual shareholder at 7% and a member of Disney’s Board of Directors. Jobs’ history in business has contributed much to the symbolic image of the idiosyncratic, individualistic Silicon Valley entrepreneur, emphasizing the importance of design and understanding the crucial role aesthetics play in public appeal. His work driving forward the development of products that are both functional and elegant has earned him a devoted following.
Ray Dolby is an American engineer and inventor of the noise reduction system known as Dolby NR. He was also a co-inventor of video tape recording while at Ampex. He is the founder of Dolby Laboratories. He is also a billionaire and a member of the Forbes 400 with an estimated net worth of $2.9 billion in 2008 although as of September 2012 it was estimated to have declined to $2.4 billion. As a teenager, in the decade following World War II, Dolby held part-time and summer jobs at Ampex in Redwood City, working with their first audio tape recorder in 1949. While at San Jose State University and later at Stanford University (interrupted by two years of Army service), he worked on early prototypes of video tape recorder technologies for Alexander M. Poniatoff and Charlie Ginsburg. As a non degree-holding “consultant”, Dolby played a key role in the effort that led Ampex to announce quadruplex videotape in April 1956. In 1957, Dolby received his B.S. in electrical engineering from Stanford. He subsequently won a Marshall Scholarship for a Ph.D. (1961) in physics from Cambridge University, where he was a Research Fellow at Pembroke College. After Cambridge, Dolby acted as a technical advisor to the United Nations in India, until 1965, when he returned to England, where he founded Dolby Laboratories. In that same year, 1965, he officially invented the Dolby Sound System, although his first U.S. patent was not filed until 1969, four years later.
Chad Meredith Hurley is an American co-founder and former Chief Executive Officer of the popular video sharing website YouTube. In June 2006, he was voted 28th on Business 2.0’s “50 People Who Matter Now” list. In October 2006 he and Steve Chen sold YouTube for $1.65 billion to Google. Before starting YouTube with fellow PayPal colleagues Steve Chen and Jawed Karim, Hurley worked in eBay’s PayPal division. One of his tasks involved designing the original PayPal logo. Hurley was primarily responsible for the tagging and video sharing aspects of YouTube. Chad is the middle child of Don and Joann Hurley, and grew up near Birdsboro, Pennsylvania. He has two siblings, an older sister, Heather, and a younger brother, Brent. Since childhood, Chad showed extreme interest in the arts, but then later became interested in computers and electronic media during high school.
Mitchell David Kapor is the founder of Lotus Development Corporation and the designer of Lotus 1-2-3. He is also a co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and was the first chair of the Mozilla Foundation. During the 1970s, Kapor was employed as a radio disc jockey at WHCN-FM, a commercial progressive rock station based in Hartford, Connecticut. It was also in this period that he became interested in Transcendental Meditation, going on to teach it in Cambridge, Massachusetts (where he also worked as a low-level computer programmer). Kapor subsequently began a career as a mental health counselor at New England Memorial Hospital in toneham, Massachusetts. Kapor worked as head of development at VisiCorp (the marketers of VisiCalc) and selling the rights to his products VisiPlot and VisiTrend to VisiCorp. Shortly after Kapor left VisiCorp, he co-designed and developed an integrated spreadsheet and graphing program. Kapor founded Lotus Development Corporation in 1982 with Jonathan Sachs, Kapor served as the President (later Chairman) and Chief Executive Officer of Lotus from 1982 to 1986 and as a Director until 1987. In 1990, with fellow digital rights activists John Perry Barlow and John Gilmore, he co-founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and served as its chairman until 1994. In 1990, Kapor’s company ON Technology introduced the product On Location. The EFF was a non-profit civil liberties organization working in the public privacy and expression. In 2001, Kapor founded the Open Source Applications Foundation, where he worked on Chandler Project. His involvement with the Foundation and Project ended in 2008. Kapor became the Chair of the Mozilla Foundation at its inception in 2003. In 2006, Kapor founded, Foxmarks (later renamed as Xmarks), based in San Francisco.
William Henry “Bill” Gates III is an American business magnate and philanthropist. Gates is the former chief executive and current chairman of Microsoft, the world’s largest personal-computer software company, which he co-founded with Paul Allen. He is consistently ranked among the world’s wealthiest people and was the wealthiest overall from 1995 to 2009, excluding 2008, when he was ranked third; in 2011 he was the wealthiest American and the second wealthiest person. During his career at Microsoft, Gates held the positions of CEO and chief software architect, and remains the largest individual shareholder, with 6.4 percent of the common stock. He has also authored or co-authored several books. Gates is one of the best-known entrepreneurs of the personal computer revolution. Gates has been criticized for his business tactics, which have been considered anti-competitive, an opinion which has in some cases been upheld by the courts. In the later stages of his career, Gates has pursued a number of philanthropic endeavors, donating large amounts of money to various charitable organizations and scientific research programs through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, established in 2000. Gates stepped down as chief executive officer of Microsoft in January 2000. He remained as chairman and created the position of chief software architect. In June 2006, Gates announced that he would be transitioning from full-time work at Microsoft to part-time work, and full-time work at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He gradually transferred his duties to Ray Ozzie, chief software architect, and Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer. Gates’s last full-time day at Microsoft was June 27, 2008. He remains at Microsoft as non-executive chairman.