Making it Matter

7/7/2014 | Blog Post | 0 Comments |

As you may have noticed, we have been playing, “Guess the Desk” on our social media channels. If you haven’t been playing along: the desks belonged to legendary inventors Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard, the founding fathers of what we know today as HP. The place is monumental, and I recently got a sneak peek into its inner sanctum.
Dave Packard was an interesting guy. His office, now a small shrine in Palo Alto, is a place that embodies dissonance – two things contradicting each other. It seems like such a simple place, with so many elements that you would expect to see in everyday life. Yet you know that the ideas that came out of this office changed the landscape of modern day computing. I left it saying to myself, “What about my desk–covered in shuffled papers, my pen cup and my calculator? What is it about me that’s going to be remembered?”

Maybe it doesn’t need to be a patent; maybe it doesn’t need to be any kind of invention. Maybe the real takeaway that I got after visiting Dave Packard’s office at the HP headquarters was their recent campaign tagline, “Make it Matter.”

In the technology industry’s Silicon Valley stronghold (and really, at most startups dotting the U.S.), there seems to be this attitude about “making” whatever it is that you happen to be doing the center of the universe. My apologies to my startup friends – but the next version of Doodle Jump may not have the save gravitas of Dave Packard’s inventions – but it’s still incredibly important.
But whether or not people are working on the newest thing in a renegade, self-funded garage annex, or they in a state of the art R&D facility – what matters is the idea. It doesn’t matter if they’re working on some of the cutting-edge medical technologies I recently saw at HP, or a if they’re working on a simple rough-and-ready tablet to help the “just-returned-to-school-after-having-two-kids-and-being-out-of-the-workforce-for-a-year” mom. What truly matters is they’ve all got their little desk, with their little cup, and their monstrous, brilliant idea.
So as much as I completely admit to being a shameless marketer (including my flashy gimmicks and glitzy landing pages), I feel enriched for having the opportunity to stop by the HP Headquarters last week. I believe I really was able to wrap my head around the simple philosophy that became the marketing slogan, instead of the other way around. I think what we can all take away from Dave Packard is that no matter how humble or grandiose our workplaces, we just need to make it matter.

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