Rules of the HP Garage

Rules of the HP Garage

[The garage where Hewlett and Packard started HP, 1939 photo]

by Paul Williams

Founders Bill Hewlett and David Packard had the right idea when they first built their company. They believed if you had passion for what you did – and did it with quality – the money will follow.

This was a pretty radial idea back in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. Their approach to business became known as the “HP Way.” And later the title of the book David Packard wrote about building HP. (The HP Way).

They started their business in a one-car garage in Palo Alto, California. (That garage has been dubbed the birthplace of Silicon Valley).

In 1999, HP CEO Carly Fiorina, summarized the spirit of that HP Way with her Rules of the Garage:

  • Believe you can change the world.
  • Work quickly, keep the tools unlocked, work whenever.
  • Know when to work alone and when to work together.
  • Share tools, ideas. Trust your colleagues.
  • No politics. No bureaucracy. (These are ridiculous in a garage).
  • The customer defines a job well done.
  • Radical ideas are not bad ideas.
  • Invent different ways of working.
  • Make a contribution every day. If it doesn’t contribute, it doesn’t leave the garage.
  • Believe that together we can do anything.
  • Invent.

While HP has had ups and downs in the past years, you can’t take away from the original spirit, values, and soul of the garage.

Did you know their first substantial sale was to Walt Disney. They sold him eight audio oscillators.


Paul WilliamsPaul Williams is a professional problem solver at Idea Sandbox. He can help you create remarkable ideas to grow your business. You may read more at his website and find him Twittering as @IdeaSandbox.

Paul Williams

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