I find it interesting.




I'll bet that virtually everyone here agrees with what that engineer said word for word.

Edited: 6 Mar 2005, 10:22 a.m.


I'll bet that virtually everyone here agrees with what that engineer said word for word.

I certainly do!



Me too (sorry :-)) I can remember when HP products were designed properly. I can remember when they had interesting and useful features. And as I've said before, I consider the 9100B to be the most elegant piece of electronic design I've ever had the pleasure to examine. Period.

When I started, the main worry with an new HP product was 'how the heck am I going to afford one?'. That worry is no more. Not because I have loads of money, but because I don't want the current products. None of them!


If you don't like what Carly did at AT&T and HP, just wait until she becomes World Bank chairman.




Let's hope there are better candidates AND this administration is able to name one of them. Besides, I agree with Katie completely.


At least in a financial institution Carly's decisions will deal with money, profit and there's neither engineering nor R&D unprofitable sections to close...

Sometime ago (more than a year) I posted some of what I think of mixing pure profit to development, and I read good related material posted by brainy guys here, too. Now I read this article (thanks, Joan C.). I hope this sort of thinking becomes more and more a consensus and soon we'll have the right people in their right place, all playing their roles accordingly.

I'm not against CEO's or any financial mannagement staff for as long as their decisions do not crucify development and/or peoples lifes. I can't see a damn thing that's justified for the sake of money except making money itself.


Luiz (Brazil)

Edited: 7 Mar 2005, 12:57 p.m.


Well, maybe with Carly's hard work she can kill off the World Bank.

Might actually save US taxpayers some money, subsidizing loutish countries that don't pay us back and then ask for debt forgiveness.

They can shut it down as far as I am concerned.

Bill Wiese

San Jose CA


Sad to find that leaders are putting priorities in the wrong place.


While easy to blame Carly, she was symptomatic of societal changes for which she was not responsible. The world has changed. Consumers value price over quality more than they did a generation ago. They want more flashy gadgets, not fewer high quality ones. Businesses that compete on price and efficiency win because they meet the needs of the majority of their customers.

No one could have made HP successful by returning it to its engineering roots of the '60s and '70s. Look at Sony, or AT&T's Western Electric. Or the hi-fi industry. In nearly all industries, high quality has become a small niche market, and 90% of customers have gravitated to low-cost flashy goods.

One could even argue that overall, this is a benefit. 10x as many people can afford decent stuff now compared to a generation ago. The HP-35 was out of reach to most of America, due to price. Today's HP calculators, though inferior products, meet the needs of many, and can be purchase by nearly everyone. Decent audio equipment is available to the masses now. Air travel is affordable. Even cars are a bargain (and better quality to boot.)

A reason why the "wow" factor is missing is that many of the gaps have already been closed. The leap from slide rule to HP-35 was a big one. From HP-35 to HP-65 was a big one. From there on, the improvements were incremental. It would be difficult to make one a quantum leap better. I'm not arguing that everything has been invented already; there is still room for innovation. But with the rollout of electronics over the last 50 years, the low-hanging fruit has been picked. The next Wow invention arena may be nano technology. Consumer electronics is reasonably mature. We can count on occasional leaps from Apple and others, but don't expect the huge leaps we saw in years past.


No one could have made HP successful by returning it to its engineering roots of the '60s and '70s.

That depends on what you mean by "successful." Do you think it would have been possible for HP to survive by keeping an emphasis on quality and innovation? I'm not talking about growth, or expansion, or increasing "market share" or any other "bean-counter" concepts. I'm talking about making just enough money to keep the doors open, pay the salaries, and keep the research projects alive, without worrying about whether a dime is left over for any other purpose (like impressing Wall Street). A small company, fanatical about providing a playground for its engineers (and its small, loyal customer base), and spending just enough time and energy on marketing and sales to avoid bankruptcy -- that, in my opinion, would be a very "successful" HP.


Unfortunately however, stock market investors are not interested in the product itself except what short-term ROI potential it offers compared to other investment choices. So although I've toyed with the idea of starting my own company, I won't go public. Still, I think the long-term ROI is worth going after. Linear Technology, maker of integrated circuits for analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog conversion, power supply controllers, op amps, etc. spends 19% of their revenue on engineering. They could give the investors a better immediate ROI if they put that money back in their pockets, but it wouldn't work for long. OTOH, I worked for a company in the 80's that proved you can sell garbage if you have a good enough sales strategy and department. Surely they could successfully sell a _good_ product that way if the owner didn't forbid the engineering department to make such a product by the ridiculous limits he placed on manufacturing cost. He didn't even want to pay enough to get the product assembled correctly to begin, thinking somehow you could "test the quality into it" which is how I got into automated test equipment to extensively test every detail of something that should have been fine with just a simple, manual, functional test.


One aspect of the HP Way was to not lay off employees. I recall many years ago when my wife worked at HP. In those days, the founders still sent wedding gifts to employees. (We were so blessed.) The company went through a tough spell, and instead of laying off employees, lowered everyone's salary 10%, cut hours 10% (every other Friday off), and got the state of California to kick in some unemployment compensation to help with the loss.

Returning HP to a small engineering company would require massive layoffs, and violate the HP way. As others have discussed previously, it would be interesting to spin off the calculator division to a small team of interested people. Perhaps HP would consider that as part of their go-forward strategy which may well include breaking up the company.

I have read elsewhere that Agilent, spun off from HP a few years ago, maintains more of the HP Way than HP does. Perhaps they deserve the HP name.


I have read elsewhere that Agilent, spun off from HP a few years ago, maintains more of the HP Way than HP does. Perhaps they deserve the HP name.

I completely agree. Things haven't been perfect at Agilent -- I believe they went through some layoffs, too -- but they're far more loyal to the HP Way than HP itself has been in years. For instance, the head of Agilent has stated publicly that he always considers "What would Bill and Dave do?" when making decisions. Agilent should have gotten the calculator division and the minicomputer division, along with the Hewlett-Packard name, and the divisions that manufacture the PCs and printers and other generic "me-too" junk should have been the ones that got a new name.


"The leap from slide rule to HP-35 was a big one. From HP-35 to HP-65 was a big one. From there on, the improvements were incremental"

The 41C was also a quantum leap in numerous respects

The HP-28C was also a quantum leap becuase of the symbolics

After _that_ it has been incremental IMO


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