Old Skool: Bill & Dave (HP) Stanford

In my posting late last week I mentioned that Silicon Valley Reporter Michael S. Malone was exploring Turner’s Frontier Thesis and its applicability to entrepreneurship. After a little research I realized that Michael S. Malone is no joke.

He has been writing for the Mercury News for years and has penned some successful non-fiction books on some of the greatest companies and entrepreneurs in modern US economic and social history.

Check out his book Bill & Dave: How Hewlett & Packard Built the World’s Greatest Company. While I haven’t read the book and don’t know that much about HP, the company’s roots are embedded in Stanford University and in many ways represent the ‘ideal’ archetype of a regional economy where major universities are entrepreneurially engaged; from students to administrators.

Here is an interesting one liner from “S. Witten” a reviewer at Amazon.com (also an HP retiree), “I especially enjoyed the beginning sections about Bill & Dave’s childhoods and the early years at Stanford.”

I have studied Stanford as an entrepreneurial university in some of my classes with David Hart, Zoltan Acs, and Richard Florida. Frederick Terman, a leader at Stanford and a visionary regarding industry/university relations, appears to have played a prominent role in HP’s early years. Packard and Hewlett earned degrees at Stanford and completed fellowships with Terman.

I am definitely going to read Malone’s book to learn more about the role that Stanford played in building such an amazing and world leading company.

I just have to decide if I should check it out of the library and deal with the responsibility of returning it when I will not be on campus much this summer or if I should buy a used copy for $2 at Amazon marketplace (plus a $2-3 for shipping) and have complete freedom? Clearly, freedom is not really free.

I’ll let you know about the great things I learn from Malone’s HP book and see what we can do to improve entrepreneurial opportunities on campuses that don’t have a Frederick Terman.


2 thoughts on “Old Skool: Bill & Dave (HP) Stanford

  1. Diana Huntsberger

    I just started reading, “Bill and Dave” and I cannot put the book down. Fortunately, I knew them both as I was a secretary to Mr. Hewlett in the late 1970’s . I am finding out a lot about these great men in the early years that I never knew. I also knew so many of the people mentioned in the book.

    As I often pass by “Camp Noel Porter,” I always reminisce to myself.

    I laughed when I read the part about Mr. Hewlett wanting his son, Walter, to buy a pair of binoculars for Mrs. Hewlett and only wanted to spend $100.00. I have a similar story. There was a day that some Russian visitors were coming to see Mr. Hewlett and he had some Russian liquore that he wanted to serve them. Since he did not have any liquore glasses at the office, he sat on the edge of my desk while I called different stores trying to locate liquore glasses at just the right price and not a penny more. I recall that he had just given a huge sum of money to Stanford University. He had just dictated a letter to me indicting this amount and I almost dropped my pen.

    These were truly great men and to this I day, I feel so honored that I had worked directly for Mr. Hewlett.

  2. Ravi Raj Sagar

    I have read the first few chapters of the book and its so enjoyable, inspiring and touching. As an employee at HP India, I had the great fortune of experiencing the HP way, a style of running a corporation that they dont teach you at any b-school.

    Can someone give me the email id of the author? I would like to start a group reading of the book at skype and would like to check with him if its ok.


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