Dave Packard and Bill Hewlett launched one of the first Silicon Valley startups long before startups became cool or even were called this way. Today, we know Hewlett Packard as a Fortune 500 giant however the company had its beginning in a tiny garage in the Palo Alto suburbs.
Dave Packard was a successful engineer at General Electric, in charge of electronics for industrial motors, but his real passion were microchips. He believed he could design a processor capable of performing complex mathematical calculations immediately, much faster than people. GE didn’t see much potential in this kind of research, and so Dave has decided to part ways. His friend Bill Hewlett has just graduated from Stanford University and wasn’t keen on getting a corporate job.
The two have decide to start a business together. They’ve rented the first floor of a landed house that came with a garage – a perfect arrangement for the founders. Here, they’ve conceived state-of-the-art electronic circuits that powered the early generation of telephone and audio equipment. HP’s breakthrough came when the company launched one of the most important products in the history of technology – the digital Calculator. Today calculators are abundant in every office but at the time they were a real breakthrough that transformed businesses around the world.
If you travel to Silicon Valley to visit glorious campuses of tech companies, take time to drive through the narrow street in Palo Alto and pay tribute to the tiny garage where HP was born. This is the place where the two talented engineers not only started a great company but an entire movement that has made the world the way we know it today.