1981 – Hewlett Speeches

Box 3, Folder 38 – General Speeches


February 26, 1981 – “Human Values in a Competitive Environment –A Personal Reflection,” Stanford Business School


2/26/81, Outline of talk handwritten by Hewlett


This is a brief recap of the start of HP. Hewlett says it is not easy to describe this history without sounding self-righteous. But he starts out  “to take you through some of the early formative years, when things were simpler and clearer.” He admits that they did indeed start in a garage – “one car at that time.”


He recalls two important factors that need to be kept in mind:


1)    Both he and Dave Packard were products of the depression

2)    Because they both did all of the work around the place, they had great empathy for their people.


Several factors marked their early period:


1)    They wanted no ‘hire and fire’ policy

2)    Because they were a small, informal, company they had close personal relationships with their people

3)    Had the novel idea of sharing their profits

4)    Followed an ‘open door’ policy

5)    Wrote a statement of corporate objectives in 1957


In a later period they:


1)    Acquired companies

2)    Expanded outside the U.S. and outside California

3)    Certain problems became acute – early employees had peaked – always had worked to “re-pot” before – now had to let go

4)    Willingness to experiment with ideas that would accommodate employee life-style wishes in company  – flexible hours, 4-day work week

5)    9 day fortnight during recession

6)    Communications lunches




“I know that [our practices] were the product of very strong beliefs that Dave and have always shared re the dignity of fellow man. They are a product of our home background, our religious teaching and our ability to observe.”