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Rules of the Garage  (Updated Aug 31, 2022.)

In 1999, the "Rules of the Garage" replaced the long-standing HP Way and Corporate Objectives.

Principles like "...job security based on performance..." and "...share in the success that they make possible" were no longer applicable -- due to massive layoffs, early retirements, and elimination of profit sharing.

The "Rules of the Garage" were developed by an ad agency in 1999 and used in a $200 million worldwide advertising campaign. The ads, which starred new CEO Carly Fiorina, were shown on network TV, including the Super Bowl in January, 2000. They didn't mention any HP products -- and must have mystified the vast majority of the audience.


The Garage. Bill Hewlett was dismayed when 367 Addison Avenue -- with the decrepit one-car garage -- was declared an historical landmark in 1989. Packard told one employee "You know, this is the first time I've been back here in fifty years..." and quietly told another: "I am tired of that damn garage."

Hewlett-Packard, under new CEO Carly Fiorina, purchased the property in October 2000.


The ad campaign.

"...a $200 million global brand initiative... The new image turns on the company's legacy of invention, and the vision of founders David Packard and William Hewlett, who conceived HP in a garage... Ms. Fiorina describes the company's birthplace as a 'one-car garage'... The spots will air heavily in network TV programming... They also will air on the pregame portion of Super Bowl XXXIV in January on ABC"

--Tobi Elkin Advertising Age, November 1999

"Fiorina quickly identified her rallying point: the original Palo Alto garage where Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard founded the company in 1939... She engaged a local ad agency, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, to reposition HP to the world. Goodby creative manager Steven Simpson sat down with Packardís autobiography, The HP Way, and, working from the text, produced a manifesto that he called 'Rules of the Garage' ...

"Fiorina loved the concept. But she and Susan Bowick, HPís head of human resources, decided the draft rules didnít capture the companyís current direction. Soon the allusions to next-bench engineers and topflight performance had disappeared..."

"More rejiggering lay ahead. Goodby and HP executives wanted to showcase the garage in HPís new television commercials, but Packardís old house had changed hands multiple times, and the shed in back was being leased for $100 a month by a florist. So the ad team picked out a back corner of HPís corporate campus and built an ersatz garage. The lawn in front of the building was made to look like a rutted driveway. Sport-utility vehicles rumbled back and forth until they wore down a 100-foot stretch of grass.

"Ad-agency camera crews arrived and ultimately produced a dazzling commercial with Fiorina herself telling people, 'The company of Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard is being reinvented. The original startup will act like one again. Watch!' "

--George Anders "The Carly Chronicles. An Inside Look at Her Campaign to Reinvent HP." Fast Company, January 2003 

1. Believe you can change the world.
2. Work quickly, keep the tools unlocked, work whenever.
3. Know when to work alone and when to work together.
4. Share -- tools, ideas. Trust your colleagues.
5. No Politics. No bureaucracy. (These are ridiculous in a garage.)
6. The customer defines a job well done.
7. Radical ideas are not bad ideas.
8. Invent different ways of working.
9. Make a contribution every day. If it doesnít contribute, it doesnít leave the garage.
10. Believe that together we can do anything.
11. Invent.

--1999 HP ad displayed in Wired

Travelling Garage TV ad with creative and production credits.

Original Radicals TV ad with creative and production credits.

After a string of disappointing earnings reports, the board asked Fiorina to resign in Feb 2005. She ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 2010 and for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.


References.  CNN   San Jose Mercury   San Jose Mercury   "Bill & Dave"   National Park Service (Mix of original photos and restoration.)

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