1981 – Packard Speeches

Box 4, Folder 32 – General Speeches


November 4, 1981, Data Processing Management Association, San Francisco, CA


11/4/81, Typewritten text of speech


Packard says he would like to make some observations about the future of this [electronics] industry. A future that he says is “tremendous.”


“One of the things I think that we ought to continually remind ourselves is that this industry really has only two basic assets. The most important, of course, is people….the success in the future is going to be very highly dependent on whether the industry is going to be able to attract and develop enough people to do all the jobs that are going to need to be done.


“The other important ingredient in the future, of course, is knowledge and as I look back on what has happened in this industry we find that it’s been some breakthroughs in basic knowledge that provided the foundation on which we could move ahead and in a very rapid way. Of course, the most recent examples – two or three very simple ones – when we were able to move from core memories to solid-state memories, that opened up a whole new ball game of things that you could do….And then, of course, the more fundamental step from individual core corners to the large scale integrated circuits was another breakthrough.


Packard stresses the importance of maintaining good relationships with colleges and universities. “I feel very strongly about this matter because the success of our company was to a very large degree dependent on and determined by the close relationship we had with Stanford University in the early days. That relationship provided two things for us. It provided some new ideas and over the years there sere several instruments that we were able to develop and put on the market because the ideas were generated in the laboratories at Stanford University. The very first one, of course, was the audio-oscillator that Bill Hewlett developed which was the beginning of our company. The other thing that our relationship with Stanford University has done for our business is to provide us a continual supply of bright, young people to come into our business and help build it.


“There has been a good deal of concern in recent years about whether this country is keeping up in its level of research and development and, of course, when we talk about research and development we generally talk about a wide range of things and very seldom are we talking about the same thing. But I think the important element that we need to put more emphasis on is on the field of basic research. Most of our companies, and I say this without intending to be deprecating in any way, but most of our companies develop very little new knowledge. We’re generally users of knowledge, not creators of knowledge. And I think that’s got to be changed. There are some companies that have been creators of knowledge. Of course, the Bell Telephone Laboratories is probably the best example and I feed, since talking about that, as a matter of fact, I’m going to testify this Friday against the government and it will be a very serious disaster to this industry for the telephone company to be broken up because the Bell Labs, as you know, have been the source of a great deal of  knowledge that has benefited all of our companies and the entire electronic industry.”


“Now, the other aspect …is people. And here again, the colleges and universities and schools of all levels are important to us…. Our company has found over the years that if we can develop a close relationship with a number of colleges and universities, we have an opportunity to attract the best people and we also have an opportunity to influence the content and the direction of the courses and I think industry and education working together are going to be a very important element for us to work on to determine our future.”


Packard switches to a discussion of productivity, actually, productivity and reliability “because,” as he says, “they kind of go together. …Our industry has an exceedingly good record in this regard and it’s really because we have had increasing technology….I think that our contribution to productivity and reliability has been very, very important. There’s no question but that computers are going to be more and more pervasive in every aspect of our society and you know that better than I and this, of course, is the thing that makes it so exciting. But it means that for these devices to be effective they’re going to have to be reliable; they’re going to have to be inexpensive and, fortunately, the industry is moving in that direction and I think generating some very, very good progress.


“The question of reliability of course is one that is extremely important. One criticism has been made of our industry – at least some parts of our industry – that we tend to have too short a range in our outlook. This, of course, is encouraged by the investment community that’s looking at your quarterly reports and if your earnings are up a little but, well, the price of your stock goes up and if the earnings are down a little bit….It’s a very bad incentive. We really ought to be thinking about things four or five years out or ten years out. I think most of the companies do that, but I would encourage you to keep that on the agenda and to encourage everyone who’s involved in this business to forget about what’s going to happen next quarter; let’s think about what’s going to be happening the next five or ten years because it’s these long-term commitments that are important.


“Now of course, all of this has something to do with the current worry about Japanese competition and I thought I might say a word or two about that….I might say that our company has had a joint venture in Japan for some 15 years now and we have a little familiarity with the Japanese management practices and some of the things they’re doing. Matter of fact, I’m kind of amused by the current emphasis and enthusiasm about the Japanese management approach because when we joined forces with our Japanese partner, we didn’t really understand very much about Japanese culture and we insisted that we were going to run this joint venture our way, not their way. And fortunately they thought well enough of us or were intimidated or something and they agreed to do so….And it worked out quite well and after a few years our Japanese partner decided that, well, maybe they ought to pick up some of the principles that we had introduced in our joint venture and use those in the parent Japanese company.”


“I do not think that the Japanese threat is anywhere near as bad as a great many people would make it out to be. The real concern came from their invasion in the LSI business, particularly some memory chips and the problem really was that our own industry here kind of fell down on the job. Our companies had a policy to buy American components even at some price differential up to 10 percent or so. If the quality isn’t good, we can’t afford to buy them at any price and in this case there were certain components where the Japanese quality was simply so much better than the American quality that we had no choice but to buy Japanese components in that area….I’ve been doing my best to talk to all of my friends in the LSI very sensitive about it and working very hard and I don’t think that aspect of it is going to continue.”


“Well, you can judge I’m really very optimistic about the future for this industry. I’m kind of jealous that here you fellows are only 30 years along in a course of a long life time and I’m sort of at the end of my professional career….”


“Let me just close by passing on a comment that my father made to me early in my life that I’ve remembered and used on many occasions: You men and women have made a tremendous contribution in your industry and just remember that good work deserves still more good work. Thank you very much.”


11/2-4/81, Copy of printed program for the conference

5/12/81, Internal HP memo to Packard from Roy Verley saying that the Data Processing Management Association would like to nominate Packard as one seven candidates for their annual ‘Distinguished Information Sciences Award.’ Verley mentions that Paul Ely thinks it would be advantageous from a marketing stand point.

5/19/81, Copy of a note from Packard to Verley saying he is not anxious for any more awards, but if he and Ely think he could be of help he would be willing to be nominated.

6/29/81, Copy of a letter to Donald E. Price from Lane Webster of HP Public Relations submitting a nomination form.

7/29/81, Letter to Packard from Roger Fenwick President of the DPMA informing him that he has been selected as the recipient of DPMA’s Distinguished Information Sciences Award for 1981

7/29/81, Letter to Packard from Edward J. Palmer Executive Director of the DPMA congratulating him on being selected as the 1981 recipient of the Distinguished Information Sciences Award, and giving information on the conference.

8/19/81, Copy of a letter from Packard to Roger Fenwick thanking him for the selection.

8/25/81, Copy of a letter from Lane Webster of HP to Roger Fenwick sending the required registration form

8/20/81, Memo from Roy Verley to Packard offering to help with Packard’s speech if need be

9/18/81,Copy of a memo from Packard to Roy Verley suggesting they give him a short memo listing a few subjects they think would be of interest to the Data Processing Management Association people

10/13/81, Memo from Roy Verley to Packard telling him that the Business Computer Group is about to release 20 new products that are designed to simplify computer use to the extent that everyone in the office can use computers. He adds that DPMA staff has told him that many of their membership are ‘old line computer gurus’ and are resisting the decentralization of data processing and fear the advance of minicomputers.

10/22/81, Copy of an HP memo from Betty Gerard to the Public Relations staff giving information about the conference

10/30/81, Letter to Packard from John Diebold of  ‘The Diebold Group, Inc., congratulating him on the award



Box 4, Folder 33 – General Speeches


November 18, 1981, County Supervisors Association of California, Fresno, CA


11/18/81, Typewritten text of Packard’s speech


No written text of Packard’s luncheon speech was retained. He was invited by Quentin Kopp, President of the Association, to speak at their 87th Annual Meeting. In his invitation to Packard, Kopp mentions ‘pressures’ which California counties are facing, such as affordable housing, efficient transportation, jobs need for skilled workers, health care, capital financing,  and he suggests Packard talk about ways ‘the public and private sectors can forge new alliances to meet these challenges.’


The Sacramento Newsletter, commenting on the meeting quotes Packard as saying “Let’s work together to solve our problems, “ and they add that he called for greater involvement by business in helping to solve economic and social problems, & recommended generous use of “good old common sense.”


The Fresno Bee newspaper says that Packard called for “greater involvement by business leaders in helping to solve government problems,” and a better public-private dialogue leading to “something seriously lacking – good old common sense.”


The paper adds that, when talking to reporters after the luncheon, he said “Fresno has a lot of qualities his company looks for as a place to do business,” but he added that, “we’re trying to limit our expansion in California.”


11/18-20/81, Copy of the program for the meeting

8/18/81, Letter to Packard from Quentin Kopp, President of the County Supervisors Association and Denny Valentine, Executive Director. They invite Packard to speak at the annual meeting of their association.

8/25/81, Copy of a letter from Packard to Quentin Kopp and Denny Valentine saying he accepts their invitation

10/28/81, Letter to all speakers at the meeting from Peggy Brownlow, PR Director, asking for an outline or a copy of remarks they plan to give at the meeting

11/13/81, Internal HP memo from Dave Kirby to Packard discussing members of his staff who will accompany him to Fresno

11/17/81, Internal HP memo from LaJune Bush to Packard giving information on public-private relationships

11/19/81, Clipping from The Fresno Bee newspaper referred to above

11/30/81, Copy of the Sacramento Newsletter referred to above

Undated, unnamed newspaper column clipping mentioning a humorous problem involving Packard at the County Supervisors Association meeting when a photographer was trying to take his picture but someone else was inadvertently blocking the view

Box 4, Folder 34 – General Speeches

6/24/81, Letter to Packard from James W. Glanville, Chairman of The John Fritz Medal Board of Award, informing Packard he has been selected to receive this award and asking that he select which of the member engineering societies he would like to make the presentation.

7/10/81, Copy of a letter from Packard to James W. Glanville saying he feels “humble” and “pleased” to have been selected to receive the John Fritz Award. Packard suggest he receive the Award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers “since that is my profession.”

7/2/81, Letter to Packard from Eric Herz of the IEEE saying that they are pleased to hear that he has been selected to receive the John Fritz Award, and expressing the hope that he will ask the IEEE to make the presentation.

7/10/81, Copy of a letter from Packard to Eric Herz  saying it would be “most appropriate” for the IEEE to make the presentation – and the date of May 23, 1982, at the week of ‘ELECTRO’ in Boston would be appropriate.

7/20/81, Letter to Packard from John A. Zecca, of the Board of Award, asking for a biography

7/22/81, Letter to Packard from James W. Glanville saying they have noted his request to have the IEEE present the award

8/21/81, Another letter to Packard from John A. Zecca following up on the request for a biography

9/17/81, Copy of the program from the 1981 annual meeting