RIP HP

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.


John Newton, 1779; last verse by unknown author



It's been an odd week...attending meetings other people have called (I like the ones I call better), working on two contracts, both with short deadlines...I attended a funeral of my friend Peter's kitty who was very much loved by everyone who met her, she had a beautiful ceremony where Peter played Amazing Grace on his violin over her grave at sunset. What a great group of people who attended, I love wakes (the kind that actually celebrate life instead of dwell on the obvious that you'll not be seeing that certain someone ever again) and there was lots of poetry read including my favorite Pilgrim Soul that John read. It was amazing to me that the guys attending became involved in reading poetry for about an hour - such great readers and I haven't had poetry read to me in a long while. I had forgotten how much poetry adds to my life.


Although I didn't know the kitty, I was honored to be there and saddened to see her ceremoniously placed into the ground. There were lots of great words said about Gigi, and there were lots of tears. I was really touched, and it was a beautiful ceremony. You know, if more people were so fond of their companion animals the world would probably be a better place. The stats are as such - 99.9 percent of the people on death row never had pets as children, and those who did killed them. There is something to be said about how the respect for animals learned when one is young translates into respect and openness toward people in later life. And I've never known better boyfriends than adult men who have cats; men with cats seem to be more intuitive and adventurous, and they also seem to be able to just curl up and take a nap at the drop of a hat; and they usually are great lovers of poetry.

Death seems to be the theme this week (when hasn't it been lately)...David Packard posted a note to the general public in his Stanford Theatre this week that saddened me....


Date: Thu, 09 May 2002 18:10:59 -0700
To: Dave Farber
Subject: Obit for HP, written by David Packard

A poster placed in the Stanford Theatre lobby:

Hewlett Packard
1938 -- 2002
R.I.P.

The Stanford Theatre still exists today only because of the employees of
the Hewlett Packard Company. Without their achievements over the years,
there would have been no foundation to purchase and restore this theatre.

Palo Alto might have had one more book store, or perhaps another
restaurant. Architects had plans ready for a new "Casablanca Cafe" at
this location when the Packard Foundation rescued the theater in 1987.

The Hewlett Packard Company was founded in 1938 in a garage on Addison
Street only a few blocks from where you are now standing. Back then, the
Stanford Theatre was showing brand new movies. In 1938 you could have
seen Cary Grant <us.imdb.com/Name?Grant,+Cary> and Katharine
Hepburn <us.imdb.com/Name?Hepburn,+Katharine> in Bringing Up Baby
us.imdb.com/Title?0029947 and Holiday
us.imdb.com/Title?0030241 . You could have seen Errol Flynn
us.imdb.com/Name?Flynn,+Errol in The Adventures of Robin Hood
us.imdb.com/Title?0029843 . You could have seen Alice Faye
us.imdb.com/Name?Faye,+Alice , Don Ameche
us.imdb.com/Name?Ameche,+Don , Ethel Merman
us.imdb.com/Name?Merman,+Ethel , and Tyrone Power
us.imdb.com/Name?Power,+Tyrone in Alexander's Ragtime Band
us.imdb.com/Title?0029852 . You could have seen Jimmy Stewart
us.imdb.com/Name?Stewart,+James and Jean Arthur
us.imdb.com/Name?Arthur,+Jean in Frank Capra
us.imdb.com/Name?Capra,+Frank You Can't Take It With You
us.imdb.com/Title?0030993 . You still can see these same movies
at the Stanford Theatre. Our audiences know that they are truly timeless.

The HP Way also touched many people's lives. Most of us expected that it
would last forever -- that it would prove as timeless as a Frank Capra
movie. But those entrusted with the duty to safeguard it have exercised
their legal right to make another choice. Dura lex, sed lex. The law is
harsh, but it is the law.

HP employees are now on a new ship, being taken on a new voyage. The
company has even changed its stock symbol to HPQ to stress that the
"old" HP is gone. For the sake of the surviving employees, of course I
hope for a good outcome. But it is hard to imagine that their leaders
can invent something better than what they left behind.

David W. Packard
The Stanford Theatre Foundation.


------ End of Forwarded Message

For archives see:
www.interesting-people.org/archives/interesting-people/


And so it goes. I sent a certain unnamed someone a copy of this and he said basically, it's a shame to think that the culture can't be saved just because of the merger. Obviously this is someone from the East Coast who doesn't understand what we who grew up here have gone through. HP has always taken care of its own, it's always built community, it was the first company to offer stock to its employees on a plan. There were lots of benefits that were started there that the rest of Silicon Valley adopted. Bill and Dave gave back to the community like no one else. Each of the Stanford boys gave back the equivalent of what Jane and Leland put into the university originally to start Stanford (in today's inflated value). HP was the last to lay off people when it could cut back elsewhere.

And who put that hag in place anyway? I'll never understand why they put a person in who wasn't qualified to head up that company. The beginning of the end. I hope that the execs who have been accused of vote fixing are brought up on charges by the SEC - what a juicy case for them after the ENRON thing.... And now it's the first time a Hewlett or a Packard has not sat on the board. But, Walter left with his head high, and I'm betting he still has some tricks up his sleeve. But, it is the start of the end. HP will never be the company it was, it will never be part of the community the way it had - deceit and backstabbing have taken place in a company known for its morals and ethics. And I don't want anything at all to do with it. I donated my printer to a rehab org last week so I won't have to look at the logo anymore, and with the push of a button dumped all of my HPQ stock. It is the end of an era in so many ways, and I'm not going to support bad behavior. It's time to play Taps for this company; it will never be extraordinary again.

This morning I mowed my lawn and I have this great cheery tree sapling I've been growing for a few years. Truth be told, I went to take pictures of the old HP orchard out near Lawrence Expressway and Homestead and found that they had cut down all of the cherry trees the day before - it was awful; for someone who used to live in an orchard it is absolutely the most horrifying site imaginable. Massive death of living things with the promise of a new harvest every year. Well, it was a bit too much. I went up to the chainlink fence and stared. This was an orchard I used to walk through to get to junior high school, it was truly a loss. None of my people live in the state anymore and there are fewer and fewer places I can go to that give me any kind of recall into childhood. The landscape hasn't changed slowly; it was eaten wholesale and strip malls This orchard had been one of them. Well, through that chainlink fence I spotted a sapling that had survived the bulldozing. I pushed my car into the fence and it popped the chain locking the fence, I dug up the sapling and brought it home. Today as I mowed around it I noticed that its little leaves are out and it will have blossoms soon. Hewlett and Packard will always be remembered, but the brand that was glued that brand to the company has evaporated. HP is now HPQ the only thing the same is the address; sell your stock and there is much better equipment out there than HP. Abandon this company as it has abandoned the checks/balances, beliefs, and protocols that made it strong at least until they replace the CEO with someone capable and most of the board with people who understand the importance of strong leadership tempered with good business and ethical behavior.

RIP, HP!
That's all the news fit to print on this 11th day of May. Off to Kaboom! fireworks show and hooking up with my posse in San Francisco for a great evening of celebrating good wine and friendships.
Cheers!
sal