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Oct 30,1996
Brian Reid, Digital Equipment Corporation
The Internet Business

Title: The Internet Business

Speaker: Brian K. Reid, Ph.D.
Director, Network Systems Laboratory
Digital Equipment Corporation
Palo Alto, California


Because it is fashionable and valuable, the Internet has been yanked out of the research world into the public eye before we were really done inventing it. One of the joys of an industrial research laboratory is that by a simple change of clothing we can convert ourselves from researchers into business people, and back again by lunchtime.

Digital's Network Systems Laboratory in Palo Alto California has been at the vanguard of internetworking since the early 1980's. We have a unique position in the industry, half academic, half entrepreneurial business strategists.

Historically, high-tech phenomena have been bounded by what is possible: by what the technology can do. The Internet is in the odd situation of being bounded by what is interesting: by what its users are willing to do.

In this talk I will tell you what I know about the past, present, and future structure of the Internet. In the past its structure was largely determined by government funding; at the present, its structure is largely determined by technocratic twenty-somethings. In the future its structure will be shaped by forces deriving from the huge amounts of money flowing through it.


Brian Reid is the director of Digital's Network Systems Laboratory in Palo Alto, California. The Internet is concerned with the future and not the past, so his academic pedigree is not included here.


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Dennis Allison
Fri Dec 6 18:10:05 PST 1996