|Re: HP 35s on sale in Switzerland|
Message #9 Posted by Larry Holmes on 12 Aug 2007, 6:22 p.m.,
in response to message #6 by Maximilian Hohmann
I've worked for HP. They do, or at least, they did, consider all the things which are mentioned here and elsewhere. But,as with most companies "these days", when considering what to do with their development dollars, there are many competing choices. With pressure from shareholders on the board to make high profits, this gets passed down to senior managers, and on down the line to every employee. This produces the mindset which we have seen for quite some time now, that is, low selling prices mean everything, and, we must compete with others on their level, rather than set standards for THEM to compete against.
Another important consideration is: which project will produce the greatest return on our investment? Their thinking would then be: "why should I put those dollars into a "low volume" product when I can put them somewhere else and have higher volumes, higher margins, and thus, more income and profits? My performance evaluations and bonuses are not determined by what the board expects to happen in the future; they are determined by what the balance sheet says I am doing NOW. So, I will choose that which produces the best results for me, and not for HP's customers; I won't be around when all this impacts the "future".
I have always believed that a company will reflect the values and especially, the profession and orientation of its leaders, right down to the "lowest" employee. If the company's leaders and managers are accountants, for example, the company will be run mostly by what happens to the balance sheet near term. If they are of another profession, the company will be run to satisfy different values. The founders of HP were both PhD engineers, so HP was mostly and engineering company; most of their original product lines were, in fact, made FOR engineering and similar applications. Once HP began entering mass markets, with high volumes and lower profit margins combined with lower revenues due to much lower selling prices per unit, it was inevitable that changes would come about. And the HP we have today is very big in computers, which seems to get most of the attention, even though they still make a lot of engineering instrumentation, etc.
When HP was founded, and up to the time when Bill and Dave retired, HP was run by, and thus dominated by, engineers. They tended to think more like we do here, and that is what made HP successful. Once they were gone, the professional managers and accountants began to have more and more influence, hence, their professions and their values became HP's driving forces, which are much different from the high quality, perfectionistic values which drive the "engineering types", such as myself. That is when HP began straying away from its core values, and more toward what was being taught in business management classes in universities, etc., which is where most of the new people at HP come from. Throughout the electronics industries, this change happened. (Look at Microsoft, for example; they don't innovate much and certainly don't produce software that meets the requirements being suggested for HP calculators, yet, they are almost worshiped by professional managers for their success in spite of this....).
I don't know if the current management of HP is more like engineers or more like "managers" (not to debase management; it is necessary, but it is not the same thing at all as LEADERSHIP. A bank needs a financial manager more than an engineer....). I quit following HP when the F person became president, and sent HP down the path to oblivion. I hope HP learned from that and will veer back toward the kinds of decisions and attitudes that originally made them so successful! I am sure we all do, as there really isn't another company in this market, and many others, who can do what HP could do if they had the right leadership. Perhaps the 35s is the first try at returning to their roots; if so, I applaud it, and will try to understand what made them do what they did with the 35s. Since HP is "populated" by new individuals, it may take them a while, but if they are pursuing the founder's values, more or less, they will get there.
We can only hope...