1975 – Hewlett Speeches

Box 3, Folder 21 – General Speeches


February 25, 1975 – Shareholders Meeting, Palo Alto, CA


2/25/75, Hewlett’s handwritten notes, in outline form, noting information he intends to cover at the meeting


Hewlett notes that it is a pleasant experience to give a favorable report, and he proceeds to cite data on 1974 performance, the management structure, capital expenditures and employment.




Box 3, Folder 22 – General Speeches


March 12, 1975 – Visit to HP Plant, Boise, ID


3/12/75, Outline of topics to discuss, handwritten by Hewlett


Under the subject of “How did we get from there to here?” Hewlett lists:


Early goals

Did you ever expect to be where you are?

Progress – slow and steady – conservative

Based on new products

Entry into new fields


Up to 1958-59 all HP in Palo Alto

Had made first start in divergence

First time set down corporate objectives

Through 1960s rapid diversification



Computers, calculators, pocket calculators

Group structure

Current organization


What are we doing here?

Part of a plan to expand outside California

Boise chosen for many reasons:

2 hours from SF

Good place to live

Community wanted us


Early period

Good EE, not good ME

Don’t design up on curve

All knowledge not derived from school


The grass is always greener syndrome



Never try to take a fortified position unless essential

Tektronix [Refers to difficulties breaking into oscilloscopes]


Problems of communications

Pay checks [Refers of change in pay system that didn’t go over with employees]

GmbH, Loveland, Japan


Carrot in the wrong spot

Asset management



R&D, growth, marketing


Screw up of acquisitions


How are we doing?

Very pleased indeed, 138% of target in orders

211 employees

Policy of local hire


Look ahead

Boise will be headquarters for electro-mechanical products

Will break ground this month for new building on new site

May have to lease some additional space


The test

If I had to do it again I would chose Boise



Box 3, Folder 23 – General Speeches


April 22-23, 1975 – Talk at University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK


4/22/75, Copy of handwritten outline of Hewlett’s talk


This talk is entirely devoted to his description of HP – its organization, its products, its philosophies. He concludes by talking about where they are today and where they are going. He says they have the “hatches battened down for the current situation,” they are in “good financial shape,” have a “freeze on hiring,” no lay-offs, but taking extra days off at Thanksgiving. [See also speeches dated March 25, 1982, and May, 1992]



Box 3, Folder 24 – General Speeches


June 15-17, 1975 Management Meeting, Napa, CA


6/15/75, Copy of typewritten text of Hewlett’s remarks


This is a general talk about the role of management in the world of today. He titles it “Managing a profitable billion-$ decentralized corporation in a changing worldwide environment.”


Hewlett feels that all over the world we are moving towards an era of “greater concern for the individual both singularly and in groups.” He acknowledges that the interests of the individual are not always consistent with that of the group, nor with that of business. “As people have votes and businesses don’t – this obviously poses problems and it is inevitable that more rather than less restraint will be placed on businesses in the future.”


“Businessmen,” he says, “have never done a very good job of explaining business to the public – the internal selection process did not emphasize this ability. The lack of understanding of the average person on the street is appalling. In a survey conducted by a McGraw Hill subsidiary, the question was asked of a wide cross section of the public: “What do you think is the average profit [as a percentage of sales after taxes] of manufacturing corporations”? The answer came back – an average of 29%…and the actual figure is 4%. It is no wonder that the public thinks that business is an infinite reservoir from which all goodness flows.”


As a result of this general view, Hewlett sees a continuing drift towards socialism. He admits to being prejudiced, but says he doesn’t believe socialism can succeed.


The days of the Robber Barons in the U.S. were accompanied by strong aggressive men who would be considered ruthless by modern standards, Hewlett says. Much has been done, he says,  by Business Schools to perfect the science of management, but the rise of big corporations all too often brought an arrogance and disdain for people and government…..If the free enterprise system is to survive, we need a new criteria in selecting our managers. These managers and leaders must be people who have all the technical skills that their predecessors did, but they must also have the quality to understand their own people, and a quality to understand and participate in the key role that business must play in the prosperity of the country, as well as what its responsibilities are in this respect. “


Hewlett feels the new generation of manager “must be sure that his own employees understand what the company is doing, where it wants to go, and how it wants to get there. But the reverse is also true – management must listen to what its people want, to what their problems are, and to see how their goals and objectives can be met consistent with the framework of the corporation.” He says he is not talking about management by committee, simply communication and understanding.


“If each person within [the U.S.] workforce understood the system and truly felt that there was a partnership between business and its employees, we would have far fewer kooky laws passed by our government. The modern business leader also needs to take a more active role outside the company. This is something we have certainly preached for a long time under the heading of ‘Good Citizenship’. Just as a manager must know and work with his people, so must a manager know and work with his government. Most government people do want to do a good job, but too often they don’t really understand the effect of their actions in the other direction. Most people outside of government don’t really understand the problems that face governments and the people who administer it. There is much that business can learn about some of the facts of life that face governments, and understanding these problems, [might] be more sympathetic with some of the decisions reached. In other words the new facet of management that must be added to be successful in a changing world, in addition to all the other management attributes, must be the ability to communicate both up and down – to communicate and to understand – to understand and be willing to act.”



Box 3, Folder 25 – General Speeches


September 13, 1975 – Dedication of Grenoble Plant, France


9/13/75, Copy of typed remarks


Hewlett says that General Charles de Gaulle visited the United States in 1960. De Gaulle had heard of the Stanford Industrial Park in Palo Alto, California – where high technology companies and a major university existed in close proximity to the benefit of both –  and wanted to see and learn more about this unique development.


De Gaulle visited HP’s plant, its administrative offices, its research laboratories, and its manufacturing areas. Hewlett says he remembers that “on several occasions our employees broke out in spontaneous applause on seeing him pass by.”


Hewlett says he reports this anecdote, not only because it was a matter of pride to have the President of France visit their facility, but also because it provides “an important reference date from which to view the intervening progress of our company. I am sure that none of us at that time conceived that 15 years later we would be dedicating a plant in France. Nor would we have dreamed that our French plant would be fully a quarter the size of all the facilities operated by Hewlett-Packard at that time.”


Since that time Hewlett says HP’s total sales have grown 15 times, but “international sales have grown by a factor of 50.”


“At the time of General de Gaulle’s visit, our product line was limited to electronic test and measuring instruments….However, today we also produce all forms of computational equipment – computers, desktop electronic calculators, and pocket calculators -–as well as medical electronics equipment, instruments for chemical analysis, solid-state components, and some equipment for civil engineering.


“Thus, in these past 15 years we have grown from a company with a relatively small number of products sold almost entirely in the United States, to a much more broadly based company with over 50 percent of our business emanating from outside the U.S.”


Hewlett poses some questions: What brought HP to France – to Grenoble; what will they manufacture here; what are their long range plans; will they be a beneficial influence to Grenoble, and to France.?


In answering these questions Hewlett says France is not only a major market, but it “provides a highly skilled workforce, supported by one of the best educational systems in the world.” Add one of the most stable economies in Europe, and convenient location. “All justification enough to come to your country.”


Hewlett says they were drawn to Grenoble by its physical attractiveness, its ‘livability,’ which is an important factor in attracting and holding top professional and managerial employees. Grenoble is close to technical institutions as well as the University of Grenoble.


Hewlett says they plan to manufacture computers and their peripheral devices at the Grenoble plant, as well to assemble various components into large computer systems.


“At present,” Hewlett says, “about 90 percent of the orders we receive for products manufactured here in Grenoble come from outside France. At the current rate of production, we are contributing a favorable increment of about 40 million francs annually to France’s balance of payments.”


He says the Grenoble facility also has its own research and development staff,  “whose initial responsibility is to develop data entry input terminals for Hewlett-Packard’s entire line of computer products.”


Talking about HP’s management philosophy, Hewlett says “the company operates with a high degree of decentralization. Our basic viewpoint is that decisions can and should be made at the lowest possible operating levels. After all, the people at these levels know first hand what is actually going on, and are well qualified to make many routine operating decisions. But, they need some general guidelines in which to operate. We achieve this by means of broad corporate objectives that are well understood throughout the corporation. This philosophy of distributed management, which we call management by objectives, encourages a broad participation in operating decisions and serves as an excellent training ground for all levels of management.”


Hewlett mentions the staffing of the Grenoble plant. He says, “In keeping with our long-standing policy of managing and staffing local organizations with local people, the next manager in all probability will be selected from our present staff in Grenoble. You might be interested to know that of the 203 people employed here, 186 come from this region. There are only 17 non-French employed, two of whom are from the U.S.”


“I cannot close without saying a word about the tremendous amount of help and cooperation we have received during the startup phases of this operation. This help has come from many sources – the French government itself, from the region as a whole, and certainly from the city of Eybens. Let me express our appreciation for all that you have done to make this operation a success. I also want to pay particular credit to the exceedingly fine workforce we have been able to assemble. In a very short period of time, they have been able to master complicated procedures and are as efficient and dedicated as many of our more mature workforces – a clear vindication for our decision to come here.


“Somehow I feel that if General de Gaulle were with us today, he would heartily approve of our decision to come to France and build a plant in this wonderful and hospitable region. We are pleased and honored to become a corporate citizen of your community, and we look forward to a long and happy relationship.”