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< All founders' list

Bill Hewlett

Quit Job to Start
Does Code
HP Inc.
Year of founding:
Current age:
Net worth:

1. Background


- Bachelors and M.Sc. in Electrical Engineering


- Massachusetts Institute of Technology

- Stanford University

Previous Career:


2. Origin Story

The Background

When Hewlett was merely three years old, his family moved to California where his father accepted a faculty position at Stanford University. This introduced a young Bill to a growing and vibrant scientific community in the San Francisco Bay Area. Despite being dyslexic, his tinkering nature and curiosity to understand how things worked, along with his strong character, won the admiration of his school faculty, who later encouraged Stanford to admit him. In 1930, Hewlett started college as a freshman at Stanford.

Graduated. Now what?

While studying at Stanford University, Hewlett came in contact with David Packard (the co-founder of HP). After graduating as electrical engineers in 1934, they both went on a two-week camping trip, which deepened their friendship. Bill went on to pursue his Masters in Electrical Engineering from MIT, and later returned to Stanford in 1936.

The Mentor

In 1938, under the mentorship of Frederick Terman, one of Stanford’s most famous professors, Bill and Dave began part-time work in a rented garage with $538 (U.S.) in working capital - which consisted of cash and a used drill press. They built HP's first product, HP Model 200A - a resistance-capacitance audio oscillator, used to test sound equipment.

The Motivation

Their first client, The Walt Disney Company ordered eight of the next-gen HP Model 200B oscillators, to be used in movie theaters for the screening of their latest animated film 'Fantasia'. This served as a catalyst for both the co-founders to formalize their partnership.

The Birth of a Tech Giant

On the 1st of January, 1939, Bill and David formalized their partnership and Hewlett-Packard was formed.

3. Other interesting points

- Hewlett-Packard? or Packard-Hewlett? The founders flipped a coin to decide the company's name.

- HP was Silicon valley’s first major start-up company, and one of the most successful. At the time of Hewlett’s death, it ranked as the nation’s thirteenth largest business.

- 1939 also marked the year when World War II began. Hewlett served in the army from 1939 to 1945 and returned to work at HP from 1947.

- Hewlett was an amateur photographer and botanist. He took many photographs and samples of wildflowers, some of which were donated to the California Academy of Sciences.

4. Quote

“Set out to build a company and make a contribution, not an empire and a fortune.”

5. Company growth & sources (links)

Personal Story

How did they grow the company?