3Com: The unsung saga of the Silicon Valley startup that helped give birth to the Internet - and then fumbled the ball.

3Com: The unsung saga of the Silicon Valley startup that helped give birth to the Internet - and then fumbled the ball.

by Jeff Chase, Jon Zilber


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It's the hottest tech startup that nobody remembers. What went wrong? 3Com's game-changing technology helped make everything from the Internet, WiFi, and email part of our daily lives. The company's founder invented the core networking technology that made it possible to connect every computer, tablet, and phone on the planet—and later famously (and incorrectly) predicted the imminent death of the Internet. 3Com's legacy paved the way for the networked lifestyle—from Facebook to spam—that define our lives today. So what happened? More than just a history of a once-powerful tech powerhouse, readers will take away key business lessons still relevant today. They'll meet a kaleidoscopic cast of characters—people who illustrate how different personalities and leadership styles can shape the trajectory of a company reaching for the brass ring. Stories, drawn from dozens of first-hand interviews with 3Com executives and competitors and featuring tech icons like Steve Jobs, will explore the international skullduggery (real or imagined) involving companies like Huawei, Palm, and 3Com's arch-rival Cisco.Brilliant innovations, bungled mergers, record-smashing IPOs, and record-breaking financial "irregularities" are all part of the sweeping saga of 3Com's 30-year rollercoaster ride.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781733004008
Publisher: BookBaby
Publication date: 06/17/2019
Pages: 294
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Jon Zilber has been the editor-in-chief of tech magazines such as MacUser and PC/Computing. He launched and managed Palm's social media presence, and led communications teams for nonprofits such as the Sierra Club and TechSoup. His teams have been recognized with Emmy, Webby, and duPont-Columbia awards. Jon is also an occasional musician, composer, and playwright.

Table of Contents

Foreword Bob Metcalfe xiii

Foreword Eric Benhamou xvi

Preface xvii

The Nutshell Version 1

Chapter 1 A Dragon Unleashed 3

Chapter 2 What Happened 6

The Leadership Parade 8

Pivotal Decisions 9

Outside Forces at Play 10

The Wonder Years (1980-1989) 13

Chapter 3 Founding Fathers 19

Bob Metcalfe, Father of Ethernet 19

What's Wrong with Floppies? 26

How a Bob Becomes a Law 27

Howard Charney: VP of Operations-and Social Director 30

Bill Krause: The Making of a President 33

Chapter 4 Wiring the Future 41

3Com's DNA 43

Chapter 5 Making Miracles 45

Ship Happens 48

Keep Calm and IPO On 56

Moving-and Moving Onward and Upward 57

The Convergence That Wasn't 59

Sticking to its Knitting (For Now) 61

"Less" is More 62

The Can-Do "Can't Say" Project 62

Chapter 6 The New Kid on the Block 63

A Merger on the Rebound 64

Water Over Troubled Bridges 66

Walls and Bridges 68

A New Competitive Landscape 71

Chapter 7 Rebooting Our Bootstraps 74

The Ethernet vs. Token Ring Horse Race 78

The Wander Years (1990-1997) 81

Chapter 8 Shaking-and Shaping-Things Up 83

The New Echelon in Leadership 84

Three Amigos and Another Horse Race 87

Teenage Angst 88

Chapter 9 The Mother of All Networks 89

Riding the World Wide Web Wave 89

From Science Fiction to Tech Fact 91

Sibling Rivalry in the Community 92

Setting the Stage for Explosive Growth 94

Grand Junction, What's Your Function? 95

Chapter 10 The New Guard 96

A New Bob in Town 98

Personnel and Personality 100

First Steps into the Desert 102

The NetBuilder II Edge 104

Breaking Boundaries 105

Chapter 11 The Acquisitive Years 107

Slick BICC 109

A Noir et Blanc Decision 114

The Synernetics Secret 115

Less Chipper with Chipcom 116

The Nice Guys 119

Chapter 12 3Com's Cash Cow 121

Intel in Sight 121

NeXT Steps 124

Manufacture On 126

Chapter 13 A Cult Culture 128

Corporate Camaraderie 128

Financial Culture 129

Gender Supportive Culture 130

The Six O'Clock News Culture 131

A Classroom Culture 132

A Patent Culture 133

Real Estate Sets the Mood 135

Chapter 14 The Middle '90s 136

Hitting One Outta the Park 136

What's in Your Wallet? 138

Irrational Exuberance 140

War Around the Edges 141

Chapter 15 What Didn't Happen 143

Cascading Between a Rock and a Hard Place 146

Who Said Anything About a Whorehouse? 149

Back in the USR 150

The Winter Years (1997-2009) 155

Chapter 16 USR Aftermath and Aftershocks 157

1998: A Good Year to Get the @#$% Out of Dodge 159

Merger Mania 161

The State After the Union 162

What about Bob (Finocchio)? 164

Making Sense of it All, or Not 167

Slow Progress in Fast Ethernet 168

Forfeiting the Enterprise Prize 171

Chapter 17 Simply Palm 176

Donna's Dismay 178

The Spin on the Spinoff 180

Palm Loses Its Grip 180

Chapter 18 Picking Up the Pieces 184

Life Imitates Art 188

2001: A Claflin Odyssey 193

Death and Destruction 197

Broadcom Broadsides 3Com 198

The Why about WiFi 202

The CTO Role 205

Quid Pro Status Quo 206

¡Ay, Charisma! 209

Bruce Reviews the Boss 210

Reaching a Tipping Point 212

Performance Re-review 213

Chapter 19 Huawei Wowie 214

The China Syndromes 216

Chapter 20 Endgame 219

The Bain of Edgar Masri's Existence 221

A Slow Boat to China 225

The Sege Segue 227

The After Parties 232

Conclusions 239

Chapter 21 So, WTF Really Happened? 241

Chapter 22 Insights 244

Epilogue 246

Appendix A "Does Anyone Have a Toothbrush?" 251

Appendix B Timeline 257

Appendix C Required Reading 261

Index 263

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