Four Lessons for Silicon Valley from Its First Startup

“Thanks to the so-called “HP Way”—a philosophy based on the belief that people want to do a good job, and will do so if upper management trusts them and gives them the tools they need to do theirhqdefault1 best—HP routinely dominated markets with innovative, reliable, fairly priced products.” says Peter Burrows while reviewing a new book on Hewlett-Packard’s management history in his MIT Technology Review article dated November 28.

Peter enumerates the following 4 lessons for any start-up to live a long, happy, and healthy life:

  1. Know when to shrink – Organize your venture to give your business enough oxygen such that good ideas/models don’t get killed – even if it means contracting and not expanding!
  2. Don’t let the board of directors get stale – Be open to new and fresh perspectives. It also means not to let a “group think” to set in as a result of long association.
  3. Make sure “culture” is about values, not practices – Not to let the core corporate values turn into worthless rituals. Rituals that perhaps originate to re-enforce values, quickly lose their ability to guide the behavior in a positive way in a way values do.
  4. Groom successors—then groom more – Next generation is your guaranty against mortality. 


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