Reply to post: Classic Bill Hewlett anecdote

The soap opera continues. HP again tells Xerox: Show us more money!

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Classic Bill Hewlett anecdote

A propos the founders' values, I have always thought the following anecdote perfectly illustrated why HP was so successful - and, for a very long time, such a good company to work for.

"Bill was a tinkerer. He loved to spend his time in the Lab with Barney Oliver, after Barney returned from his work at Bell Labs in the 1950's. They were a perfect match, Barney with IQ of 180, and Hewlett with the technical curiosity of an Einstein, yet the business sense to see technology solutions and products.

"It was not unusual to find Bill in the plant on weekends. Perhaps he was working on an antenna for the fly-in airstrip, on the ranch, he and Dave owned in South San Jose. On one weekend evening, he was working on a radio antenna, and needed some parts from Lab Stock. It was the late 1960's and division management was on a cost saving initiative, which came and went, in cycles. Some manager or bean-counter decided that open lab stock was a license to steal, so the lab stockroom door had a padlock on it, after working hours and weekends.

"Bill called a guard to open the tool room door in the facilities department, to bring him a bolt cutter tool. He cut off the padlock, got his parts, and left a note on the stock room door to the effect, "Don't ever lock this door again," signed Bill Hewlett. Guess how many years that that note prevented lab stock doors from being locked? Such action gets around-everywhere!

"Bill's attitude was that we hire expensive design engineers, to create new products. At the same time, many have hobbies, such as ham radio or audio system design, which teach them new design tricks, useful in their regular HP job. Bill was willing to accommodate the use of HP parts, from the lab stock, to assist the engineers in their off-duty hobbies".

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