Hewlett and Packard Quotations

William Redington Hewlett / 1913–2001 / Michigan, USA / Electrical Engineer, Entrepreneur, Co-Founder of the Hewlett-Packard Company

David Packard / 1912–1996 / Colorado, USA / Electrical Engineer, Entrepreneur, Co-Founder of the Hewlett-Packard Company

Note: Most of these quotations were originally articulated by Dave Packard. However, Packard acknowledges he developed his business philosophy—which came to be known as “the HP Way”—in close cooperation with Hewlett. For this reason, we have chosen not to attempt to differentiate between the contributions of the two founders of Hewlett-Packard [HP] to the ideas expressed in the quotations below.

Future of Mankind

The most important question we have to deal with, is a combination of population control and the control of our environment—how to utilize the world in as effective a way as we can for the future of mankind.

Statement by Packard, reported by Rushworth M. Kidder, An Agenda for the 21st Century (1987).


{Hewlett] said that more businesses die from indigestion than starvation. I have observed the truth of that advice many times since then. 

David Packard, The HP Way: How Bill Hewlett and I Built Our Company (1995).


Marketing is far too important to be left only to the marketing department!

Statement by Packard, reported by  Philip Kotler in Marketing Management, Millennium Edition (1999).


I want to discuss why a company exists in the first place. In other words, why are we here? I think many people assume, wrongly, that a company exists simply to make money. While this is an important result of a company’s existence, we have to go deeper and find the real reasons for our being. . . . Purpose (which should last at least 100 years) should not be confused with specific goals or business strategies (which should change many times in 100 years). Whereas you might achieve a goal or complete a strategy, you cannot fulfill a purpose; it’s like a guiding star on the horizon—forever pursued but never reached. Yet although purpose itself does not change, it does inspire change. The very fact that purpose can never be fully realized means that an organization can never stop stimulating change and progress.

Statement by Packard from 1960, reported by Bruce Jones in “The Difference Between Purpose and Mission,” Harvard Business Review, hbr.com, February 2, 2016.


A company has a responsibility beyond making a profit for stockholders; it has a responsibility to recognize the dignity of its employees as human beings, to the well-being of its customers, and to the community at large.

David Packard, The HP Way: How Bill Hewlett and I Built Our Company (1995).

Rules for Business Development

  1. The greatest success goes to the person who is not afraid to fail in front of even the largest audience.
  2. Set out to build a company and make a contribution, not an empire and a fortune.
  3. The best possible company management is one that combines a sense of corporate greatness and destiny, with empathy for, and fidelity to, the average employee.
  4. The biggest competitive advantage is to do the right thing at the worst time.
  5. A company that focuses solely on profits ultimately betrays both itself and society.
  6. Corporate reorganisations should be made for cultural reasons more than financial ones.
  7. A frustrated employee is a greater threat than a merely unhappy one.
  8. The job of a manager is to support his or her staff, not vice versa and that begins by being among them.
  9. The best business decisions are the most humane decisions. And, all other talents being even, the greatest managers are also the most human managers.
  10. Investing in new product development and expanding the product catalogue are the most difficult things to do in hard times, and also among the most important.
Reported by Michael S. Malone in Bill and Dave: How Hewlett and Packard Built the World’s Greatest Company (2007).

Rules for Personnel Management

  1. Think first of the other fellow. This is THE foundation—the first requisite—for getting along with others. And it is the one truly difficult accomplishment you must make. Gaining this, the rest will be “a breeze.”
  2. Respect the other man’s personality rights. Respect as something sacred the other fellow’s right to be different from you. No two personalities are ever molded by precisely the same forces.
  3. Give sincere appreciation. If we think someone has done a thing well, we should never hesitate to let him know it. WARNING: This does not mean promiscuous use of obvious flattery. Flattery with most intelligent people gets exactly the reaction it deserves—contempt for the egotistical “phony” who stoops to it.
  4. Eliminate the negative. Criticism seldom does what its user intends, for it invariably causes resentment. The tiniest bit of disapproval can sometimes cause a resentment which will rankle—to your disadvantage—for years.
  5. Avoid openly trying to reform people. Every man knows he is imperfect, but he doesn’t want someone else trying to correct his faults. If you want to improve a person, help him to embrace a higher working goal—a standard, an ideal—and he will do his own “making over” far more effectively than you can do it for him.
  6. Try to understand the other person. How would you react to similar circumstances? When you begin to see the “whys” of him you can’t help but get along better with him.
  7. Check first impressions. We are especially prone to dislike some people on first sight because of some vague resemblance (of which we are usually unaware) to someone else whom we have had reason to dislike. Follow Abraham Lincoln’s famous self-instruction: “I do not like that man; therefore I shall get to know him better.”
  8. Take care with the little details. Watch your smile, your tone of voice, how you use your eyes, the way you greet people, the use of nicknames and remembering faces, names and dates. Little things add polish to your skill in dealing with people. Constantly, deliberately think of them until they become a natural part of your personality.
  9. Develop genuine interest in people. You cannot successfully apply the foregoing suggestions unless you have a sincere desire to like, respect and be helpful to others. Conversely, you cannot build genuine interest in people until you have experienced the pleasure of working with them in an atmosphere characterized by mutual liking and respect.
  10. Keep it up. That’s all—just keep it up!
Presentation by Packard at HP’s second annual management conference, Sonoma, California, 1958.