updated January 22, 2006
Other than the book, The HP Way, written by David Packard
and the comments written by William Hewlett in the forward to the
book, Inventions of Opportunity, there is little formal
history written about the two men who truly lived the American
dream of starting a company in their garage and becoming
billionaires. There ought to be a book but there is not
one. However, the combination of John Minck's HP
Narrative, the articles on The Southwest Museum site, and other
links above comprise just about a complete book. The story of
these two men and the technological innovations of the
Hewlett-Packard Company is an inspiration to everyone but in
particular to electrical engineers. These two men were electrical
engineers, not businessmen. They built a business out of a desire
to make truly exceptional test equipment that technical people
like themselves would want to use. As actual users of their
competitor's equipment they had a perspective of their
customer's point of view that pure business types in general
can never have. Their success was the combination of technical
skill first and business skill second. This order applied to many
of the subsequent products over the decades - market need came
about after the product was introduced. People often talk of
market driven companies and HP certainly responded to the market,
but in many cases they drove the market. The success of the HP35
calculator is a classic example.
I consider the two books in the references below to be
required reading - not just once but numerous times to absorb
everything. Both books are out of print although a paperback
version of The HP Way may still be available. I am
fortunate to own both books. Any reasonable size library should
have at least one of these books.
Hewlett, William R. (introduction by), Inventions of
Opportunity: Matching Technology with Market Needs, Selections
from the pages of the Hewlett-Packard Journal,
Hewlett-Packard Company, 1983.
Packard, David, The HP Way, First edition,
Harpercollins Publishers, Inc., 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022, 1995.
Other books of interest: These books
make numerous references to the Hewlett Packard Company as an
example of management doing things right. All of these
books contain interesting bits of HP history too.
Peters, Thomas J. and Waterman Jr., Robert H., In Search of
Excellence, Harper and Row, Publishers, New York, 1982.
Collins, Jim and Porras, Jerry I., Built to Last, Successful
Habits of Visionary Companies, HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
New York, 1994.
Franson, Paul, High Tech, High Hope, Turning Your Vision of
Technology into Business Success, John Wiley and Sons, Inc.
Malone, Michael S., The Big Score, The Billion Dollar Story of
Silicon Valley, Doubleday & Company, Inc. Garden City,
New York, 1985. This book has over two dozen pages of HP
Siebel, Thomas M. and Malone, Michael S., Virtual Selling,
Going Beyone the Automated Sales Force to Achieve Total Sales
Quality, The Free Press, 1996.
Malone, Michael S., Infinite Loop, How Apple, the World's
Most Insanely Great Computer Company, Went Insane, A Currency
Book, published by Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc.
New York, 1999. In any discussion of Apple Computer,
linkages to HP inevitably arise and numerous linkages are found
throughout the book.
Malone, Michael S., The Valley of Heart's Delight, A
Silicon Valley Notebook 1963 - 2001, John Wiley and Sons, Inc. 2002. This book
is a collection of short articles written by Malone and includes his articles of
tribute to Mr. Packard and Mr. Hewlett after their deaths. The book is an
excellent short history of Silicon Valley and how the technology developed there
changed the world.
Leath, Charles L., 40 Years of
Chronicling Technical Achievement, Hewlett Packard Journal, October,
1989. This is a history of the HP Journal and has a good summary of
instruments developed by HP over the years. This was the 40th anniversary
issue of the HP Journal which began publication in 1949.
entire final issue of Measure, May-June 2000 is over 60 pages and is a
great history including many pictures of HP over the years. This magazine
was a publication of HP for employees and associates. This issue which was
subtitled, Wrapping it up, marked the end of an era and the beginning of a new
era at Agilient Technologies.
Links to other web pages on this site
http://www.kennethkuhn.com/hpmuseum This link takes you to
the main HP Museum page.
http://www.kennethkuhn.com This link takes you to the main
page of my personal web site where you can access a variety of