Engineers Don’t Start Like Business Folk

I am reading a series of blogs about HP Pheonomenon by Chuck House , thanks to a note sent by a friend, Bill (Mr. Human Glue) Daul of NextNow.

I paused when I came this line:

Engineers don’t start out thinking like, or looking like, business folk.

How true. There is a lot of difference between the companies started and run by Engineers vs Business People. Both seem to be successful in their own way. You need a combination of both to build a successful company. Marketing/Sales/Technology is a key combination. Having said that, look at companies built by engineers and business folk. There is a distinct difference in the culture.

This is an illuminating blog. It takes you back more than 50 years and tells the story of a great company. Chuck says that it is just a few front-end loaded with about 12 small items.

Here is a little snippet of the story on the first laser printer HP produced and the marketing.

We had a poll in marketing on how many we’d sell the first month. The forecast was 75. Actual sales were zero. We also sold zero in January and February. Finally in March, Dan Schwartz sold our first trade unit to AAMC in Washington D.C.

But read this. It will blow your mind.

After the failures, the Boise, Idaho management team had lost enthusiasm for this sector, reducing the development team to five engineers for the third try – which yielded a product called the HP 2686A, later retitled as the HP LaserJet. It was a stunning, and unexpected, success, turning into a product bigger by a factor of five than anything else in HP’s 90 division line-up.

Each post has a telling story. They fill you with wonder and some times make you think, “I know how that feels”. I just can’t wait for the book to appear. Meanwhile, I am going to keep track of this blog.