Bill & Dave were giants. I was fortunate enough to go to work for Hewlett-Packard in 1983 after graduating from U.C. Berkeley.
I got to meet Bill & Dave in Palo Alto around 1989. They drove Ford Taurus's to work.
They built that company and for them the company was its employees. They only wanted the best and when they got them, they treated them with respect and let them run. And we ran. We did some great things in the 80s and 90s.
They passed on; Packard in '96 and Hewlett in 2001.
John Young was the first successor to the CEO position. He wasn't at the founders' level, but it would be hard to find anyone who could be. But he held dear to the founders' philosophies. Then came Lew Platt, still in the HP Way mold, but less so than Young.
Then the disaster - and really the responsibility goes to Lew Platt. For 60 years the company had grown its management from within - and it worked. But now Platt couldn't see through the nonsense that was the Dotcom boom, decided HP needed to hire a flashy outsider and so he brought in Carly Fiorina, to replace him. An outsider with a marketing background from AT&T, she knew nothing about technology, nothing about HP, and never ran a major corporation in her life.
I was laid off from HP in 2003, after 20 years at the company.
It's sad for me to see what HP has become.
The giants that built and invested themselves in HP are gone. And since, parasite CEOs and directors have been feeding at the HP trough. HP had impeccable financials. "Pay as you go" was how it had been done for 60 years.
The parasite CEOs went for the quick solutions, fired engineers, overpaid for acquisitions, and loaded the company up with debt, and paid themselves big salaries and bonuses.
What was built in 60 years was brutalized in 5 years and 13 years after the arrival of Carly Fiorina, HP is now just a shell of what it was and is probably now heading towards bankruptcy.