Executive Spotlight: Larry Birenbaum

Larry Birenbaum gets credit, in a way, for inventing Fast Ethernet—or at least asking the right question, “Can’t we just make Ethernet go faster?” Larry was an early 3Com VP of Engineering and later joined forces with Howard Charney at Grand Junction.


Larry shared a funny story about the first conversation he and Bill Krause ever had about 3Com, “We spoke in 1981, and Bill says to me, ‘I'd like to reconnect you with an old classmate.’ I said, ‘Who's that?’ And he said, ‘Bob Metcalfe.’ I said, ‘Wait a second. Is 'Bob Metcalfe' Robert M. Metcalfe?’ The funny thing is ... Well, there are two funny things here. One is I had known about Ethernet from reading ACM and other technical stuff, and I knew that Ethernet was created by a Dr. Robert M. Metcalfe. I had also gone to school at MIT with a terrific, smart, and funny guy named Bob Metcalfe. We were on the squash team together. He was a lot better than me, but we were technically on the squash team together. I never put those two together, until it was Bill who said, ‘I want to reconnect you.’ I went, ‘Oh, it's the same person, same Robert Metcalfe! Wow.’”


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Larry at Peets Coffee in 2018.

Photo from the 1984 IPO celebration.

Photo from the 1984 IPO celebration.