I got to the end of the book ”Bill & Dave", a retelling of the business lives of Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard. (See blogs June 22, July 2, July 9) Here are the last six paragraphs of the book.
”The day before the garage dedication, [December, 2005] a group of thirty people gathered in a Palo Alto restaurant to watch a video. All had been executives at Hewlett-Packard during the Bill and Dave era. It was a Proustian moment: the faces were familiar—Dave Kirby, John Young, Dean Morton, Karen Lewis, Al Bagley, Bill Terry and more—but in the intervening thirty years these once young and ambitious men and women had all grown up. Fong, [Art] the oldest, was eighty-five. Most were in their seventies. Even the youngest, Steve Wozniak, [who was never an executive at HP despite the claim in the second sentence] was now in his mid-fifties.
"As they ate lunch, the group reminisced about the past, told anecdotes from their HP days, compared their current health, shook their heads at any mention of Carly Fiorina, and nodded cautious approval of ”the new guy”. Whatever mistakes had been made in the past were now forgiven. After all, they were family. And, like a family, they mourned all of those who were no longer with them, especially Lew Platt, whose recent and sudden death still shocked them all
”They had been brought together by Hewlett-Packard to be the first to view a new corporate video, produced by an award-winning documentarian , telling the story of Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard. HP had ordered the creation of the video as a way to teach HPers many of whom had never even known the company during the good times — the legacy they were inheriting. Most of the assembled knew it was coming; many had even been interviewed for it. But assembling footage, filming reenactments, and interviewing HP veterans had taken months — and by then, having become accustomed now to disappointment from Hewlett-Packard, many of the veterans assumed the project had been abandoned.
”But now here it was, entitled simply ”Origins”. As the video played, the audience looked on in astonishment. It was all there: the garage, the Redwood Building, company picnics, Packard’s challenge to the stunned gathering of corporate executives, Hewlett cutting off the tool bin padlock — everything that they cherished; everything that they had assumed had been long forgotten by Hewlett-Packard Co and the rest of the world.
”As they watched, they marveled at the footage of an impossibly young Bill and Dave. They laughed one more time at the Bill and Dave stories. And they scrutinized closely the faces of the interviewees who were not among them — Paul Ely, Tom Perkins, Barney Oliver’s successor Joel Binbaum — for the marks of time and toil. The longer the film ran the louder the audience became. Fearful at first of one more insult, one more misrepresentation of the past, they now relaxed , confident that they were at last seeing the realization of what they had long been waiting for. They began to talk back to the screen, add their own side comments, and joke to each other over events a half century gone.
”For those few minutes, it was as if time had rolled back. They were young again. Working once more with Bill and Dave. And proud to be part of the greatest company in the world.”