So, why do I leave ? The answer is that it is for the same reasons I joined and stayed on despite two other career temptations : passion for new ideas and great people. Now, I believe that experience of the HP Way will apply even better to technology start-ups than it can to corporate multinationals. The HP Way was formulated by David Packard in 1957 . He summarized it in an exchange we had the last time we met in 1995 in Geneva :
Claude : it has been an honour for me to work at the Company you founded
Dave : not at all, it has been an honour for me to have employees like you serving at my Company
It was just another practice of the HP Waythat Dave described in his book published the same year. The following quotes are very relevant 50 years later and remain benchmarks for young entrepreneurs :
...an egalitarian, decentralized system that came to be known as 'the HP Way.' The essence of the idea, radical at the time, was that employees' brainpower was the company's most important resource....In more detail, the HP Way included the following 7 corporate objectives
... nothing has contributed more than the policy of management by objective. MBO is the antithesis of management by control .... it refers to a system in which overall objectives are stated and agreed upon, and which gives people the flexibility to work in ways they determine best for their own areas or responsibility. It is the philosophy of decentralization in management and the very essence of free enterprise.
- Profit. To recognize that profit is the best single measure of our contribution to society and the ultimate source of our corporate strength. We should attempt to achieve the maximum profit consistent with our other objectives.
- Customers. To strive for continual improvement in the quality, usefulness, and value of the products and services we offer our customers.
- Field of Interest. To concentrate our efforts, continually seeking new opportunities for growth but limiting our involvement to fields in which we have capability and can make a contribution.
- Growth. To emphasize growth as a measure of strength and a requirement for survival.
- To provide employment opportunities for HP people that include the opportunity to share in the company's success, which they help make possible. To provide for them job security based on performance, and to provide the opportunity for personal satisfaction that comes from a sense of accomplishment in their work.
- To maintain an organizational environment that fosters individual motivation, initiative and creativity, and a wide latitude of freedom in working toward established objectives and goals.
- Citizenship. To meet the obligations of good citizenship by making contributions to the community and to the institutions in our society which generate the environment in which we operate.
So with these lessons from the past, I look forward to my next big thing, a meaningful entrepreneurial activity helping start-ups in Switzerland, on EPFL and beyond as business angel investor and interim management. And I will keep one foot in the mobile communications world as part of my support to Mobile Monday Switzerland.