Rules of the Garage (Hewlett-Packard)

The Hewlett-Packard Garage is the famous birthplace of Silicon Valley where the company Hewlett-Packard (HP) was founded.  It is considered to be the “Birthplace of Silicon Valley.”  In the 1930s, Stanford University and its Dean of Engineering, Frederick Terman, began encouraging faculty and graduates to stay in the area instead of leaving California, and develop a high-tech region. HP founders William Hewlett and David Packard are considered the first Stanford students who took Terman’s advice. The garage has since been designated California Historical Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

As a part of the Hewlett-Packard Annual Report for 1999, the then CEO, Carly Fiorina, included these “Rules of the Garage” that have guided the company ethos.  I was introduced to these rules as part of an executive program management course I attended.  They inspired me and I hope they inspire you too!

  1. Believe you can change the world.

  2. Work quickly, keep the tools unlocked, work whenever.

  3. Know when to work alone and when to work together.

  4. Share – tools, ideas. Trust your colleagues.

  5. No politics. No bureaucracy. (These are ridiculous in a garage.)

  6. The customer defines a job well done.

  7. Radical ideas are not bad ideas.

  8. Invent different ways of working.

  9. Make a contribution every day. If it doesn’t contribute, it doesn’t leave the garage.

  10. Believe that together we can do anything.

  11. Invent.