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HP Memories and my HP-80

Posted by Richard Baumann on 12 Apr 2001, 8:32 a.m.

I was very pleasantly surprised to stumble on this website while searching for an Internal Rate of Return program on the Internet.

I worked for HP's Advanced Products Division in Cupertino, CA from 1972 to 1976, when the divison moved to Corvallis, OR. I was hired into the Marketing arm of APD to develop a training program for the HP sales force and customers for the soon-to-be released HP-80. I was a MBA "business type" and, of course, the HP sales force had primarily "engineering types", who needed to learn about financial applications. When the 80 was introduced, customers deluged us with "how can I do this calculation?" questions. I finally got to use some of my college business training helping them and learned a lot in the process. We decided to publish many of these calculations in application books.

As we produced more models, and application books and software, I managed those efforts also. Eventually I became Product Support Manager, managing Training, Applications Software Development, the Users Library and Publications Development. Let me just say that those were by far the best years of my working career! The products were wonderful and outrageously successful. Everyone in HP was "consumed" by these little calculators. Advanced Products was the darling division of the company. Our robust profits for those early years helped finance the development of HP's computer business. The people in my Applications Software Group were always working with Bill Hewlett, other HP execs, and famous name customers...helping them write a navigation progam for the HP-65, finding a way to squeeze a couple steps out of a Math progam or make it faster, etc. What a great job they had!

By the way, Steve Wozniak worked in the R&D arm of Advanced Products Division in those early days. He, of course, went on to design the first Apple computer and co-founded the company with Steve Jobs.

My calculator of choice is still my HP-80. It's a pre-production model that the company gave me for my efforts. With my own engraved nameplate and everything. It still works fine. Had to go out and buy a battery a couple years ago from Battery Works, but that's about it.

I still have some of the old application books and accessories that I keep as mementoes of those halcyon days. I also have an HP-22 as a "reserve" but the HP-80 remains my first love.

Thanks for bringing back some wonderful memories.


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