I love hearing stories like this - thanks for sharing. I only wish I could have met Bill and Dave myself when they were in their prime (actually it would be nice if I was in my prime also, but we've missed that boat [grin]).
OK, back to the plans for my Time Machine
I had HP as a client in the mid-90's. One of the guys I worked with told about the time he was on a tight schedule - in at 8a, out at 11p. He would spend the first 30 minutes finding his oscope. One day, he left the scope where he could see it and worked later. An old guy came up and started wheeling the scope away. Greg got up and stopped the guy - he said "I don't mind you borrowing the oscope - it was company property - but can you return it here so I don't need to chase it down in the mornings?". The old guy apologized for his inconsideration, and said "Since you are obviously on a tight project, can you use a tech?". Greg said yes, and the old guy said he would be glad to be Greg's tech. Greg asked about the guy's manager, and was told that would not be a problem.
Greg said the guy was the best tech he had ever had.
About a month later, someone pulled Greg aside and asked "How in the world did you get Bill Hewlett to be your tech?"
In the book Bill and Dave it was also pointed out that many of the engineers and other employees came in and worked that Friday anyway, some on "G-Job" projects, many of which contributed to new products for HP so by the time the 80's hit they hit the ground running.
As far as how Bill and Dave would have run the company in today's climate I would suggest that you read the section of the book where Carly Fiorina goes to meet Bill Hewlett.
Bill had here completely figured out in a few seconds.
Bill and Dave always stood for what was right and fair. There is an account of Bill in a meeting where a mistake was made that cost HP big money and in a meeting he asked those responsible for the project what they learned from the mistake and left it at that.
I never worked for HP, but everytime I use an HP instrument I can feel the aura of their integrity.
I started with HP straight out of the Army and Graduate School, and like Max reported, the 'first day' was only 90% salary because of the recession. Seemed like a "fair" arrangement to me, but I ended up working on the "Off Fridays" because Project Dates ddin't get changed. When Bill Hewlett 'found-out" he personally send 'coffee/dougnuts and lunches' to us, out of his own pocket. He would even 'drop bye' to 'personally thank us'. He 'turned' those days into a 'party'. Few realize that the 'every other Fri. only lasted for 3 months' then we went back on 100% work but 90% pay in order to 'build-up 8 paid days so we could take 2 weeks of at Christmas at the 90% pay.
I worked there 28 years and had the opportunity to personally work with both Dave Packard and Bill Hewlett on 'their pet projects'. I retired AFTER they did! If you would like to read "other stories about HP" see:
The best 17 years of my professional life were at HP: Good training, inspirational leaders, supportive co-workers. A shame it all fell apart after Bill & Dave left, but it just shows how remarkable they were individually and together. I recall an HP Divisional Review at which I, as R&D project manager for the 4951 Protocol Analyser, was grilled by Bill Hewlett- he, in two minutes, understood my product better than me!
Hi there -- my Wife bought me Outliers by Malcom Gladwell -- since then I've read several of his books -- they are all extremely interesting and very well written -- I have them in the pile in my office waiting for some time to write reviews of them ...
Clive, Thank you for recommending this book. I've never heard of it. I'm interested in reading it as a story that confirms Malcom Gladwell's book, Outliers, The Story of Success. When you mentioned that they allowed the storerooms to be unlocked so that engineers could experiment, it immediately reminded me of the opportunity given to the young Bill Gates who was allowed to use a computer lab sponsored by a mom's organization at his school. These nuances in management style are what make the difference in building organizations that become scalable multi-national organizations. I wanted to add to the admiration of HP products as well. When I got my first job, I took on an extra internship to pay for my first HP laptop in 2005. I still use that laptop today!