If you read the online business media or tech websites you will have seen that the board of Hewlett-Packard ousted Carly Fiorina from her position as CEO with immediate effect. Much of the coverage will review the fact that HP merged with Compaq against the best efforts of many board members and has consistently underperformed.What they haven’t focused on was the damage that Carly did to the HP culture, or as they call it the HP Way.
Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard can rightly claimed to have founded Silicon Valley in a garage on Addison Street Palo Alto and became heroes to countless geeks with an idea and some spare space in their home including Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak who founded Apple in a garage decades later.
In addition Hewlett and Packard fostered a unique company culture that influenced how the whole of Silicon Valley wanted to run their business, this even more than the company’s technical achievements was responsible for the growth of the technology sector into the 1980s. HP represented the dream of a company that was not just fun to work for and treated its employees well, but which was built upon a foundation of loyalty, trust and community service. These values together with the hippy counterculture and hacker ethic was what built Apple, Atari, Yahoo, Google and a host of other technology companies.
In his 2002 Salon.com article Losing the HP Way, Silicon Valley native Jeff Goodell outlined how Carly wrapped herself in the HP flag whilst attacking everything that it stood for. Now the media is talking about a demerger of the business.