"Translate your daily experiences into cool stuff to do." Tom Peters
THE FOLLOWING NEEDS NO COMMENTARY. IT SPEAKS FOR ITSELF.
Consider this intriguing excerpt from Richard Farson and Ralph Keyesï¿½
Whoever Makes the Most Mistakes Wins: The Paradox of Innovation:
"FDR's biographer, John Gunther, observed that, "The boys who were the best 'Grotties'[the prep school Groton, which FDR attended] usually turned out to be non-entities later. Boys who hated Groton did much better."
"In his career-long study of millionaires, Thomas Stanley has not only found no correlation between success in school and an ability to accumulate wealth, he's actually found a negative correlation. Few of Stanley's millionaires got good grades or high SAT scores. His wealthy subjects rarely showed up in any ï¿½mostï¿½ category during high school (most talented, most popular, most likely to succeed). After graduating from college (seldom a prestigious one) their lack of sparkling academic records kept many from getting hired by top corporations. As a result, they were forced to start their own enterprises. ï¿½ ï¿½It seems that school-related evaluations are poor predictors of economic success,ï¿½ Stanley concluded in The Millionaire Mind.
"What did predict economic success was a willingness to take risks. By contrast, the success-failure standards of most schools penalized risk takers. As we've seen, in business, sports, science and the arts, there's a certain regard for gallant failure by those who take big chances. In school, however, an F is an F: Bad news. You flunked. You're a failure. Far from rewarding those who take chances, most educational systems honor those who play it safe. They're the ones who get good grades. As a result, those who do well in school find it hard to take risks later on. That's not what won them academic honors. The ones who do take chances have a hard time in school and are often penalized for their independent ways. Many of Stanley's subjects said teachers told them, ï¿½You'll never succeed,ï¿½ or ï¿½That's the dumbest idea for a new business I've ever heard.ï¿½ "
Tom Response: Hmmmmmm.
(P.S./F.Y.I.: Also see the current -- March 25 -- issue of Newsweek. The cover story is on the recovery of Silicon Valley. P53 Headline: "Failure Is the Best Medicine. The Silicon Valley of today is built less atop the spires of earlier triumphs than upon the rubble of earlier debacles." As a 35-year resident, all I can add is ï¿½ Amen.)
To quote my friend and Forbes publisher Rich Karlgaard: VOTE CARLY.
That is, Carly Fiorina, Hewlett-Packard’s CEO. Fiorina has doubtless made her share of mistakes. And the HP-Compaq merger does not solve all of either firm’s problems.
But one thing is for sure: HP cannot survive as it currently is/stands. Same-same Compaq. Case: (1) HP is far too "printer dependent." Dissident David Woodley Packard’s answer: MORE PRINTERS. Bad idea. (2) Consider: Fiorina’s No. 1 ally is Dick Hackborn. (a) He’s brilliant, and once turned down HP’s CEO job. (b) He got ’em into printers -- and he’s for The Deal. (3) PCs may or may not have a great future -- I think they just may. But forget that: Compaq is NOT a "faltering PC company." It has moved relentlessly up market -- with, among many other things, the mostly successful acquisitions of two Great Technology Companies, Tandem & Digital Equipment. (I.e., think of HP+Compaq as HP+Compaq+Tandem+Digital.)
It’s tragic, really. DAVID PACKARD-THE-ELDER WAS ONE OF TECHNOLOGY & BUSINESS’S MOST FORSIGHTED RISKTAKERS. And yet son David Woodley Packard is mired in the past.
I was working with HP 20 years ago when the "instruments firm" made its big push into computers. I was 1980’s David Woodley Packard. (Albeit Powerless.) I didn’t think HP had any business straying so far from the ones who brung ’em. David Packard did. Bottom line: (1) He took a huge risk. (2) He was right. (3) I was wrong.
Which is … again … not to say that the Compaq gamble will work out as well. (Frankly, I doubt it will work perfectly.) (But I’ve been wrong before. See above.)
I do know that the true Spirit of HP is renewal, at times remarkably bold -- not stasis.
Some have threatened to resign from HP’s board if the deal loses. I can’t do that, but I promise I will resign as an HP Friend.
VOTE CARLY. (A vote for Carly is a vote for "Bill & Dave" -- the real Bill Hewlett and, especially, David Packard.)
Tom Peters/San Francisco02.23.2002/New York02.28.02
P.S. Read Karlgaard’s masterful summary of all this in "Digital Rules" in the 18 February issue of Forbes.
P.P.S. R. Karlgaard is the positive reason I’m writing this. My pal (former?), Jim Collins, the Built to Last Guy, is the negative reason. He’s an avowed Fiorina enemy. Collins likes incremental change and con-ti-nu-ity. I LOVE V-E-R-Y CREATIVE & MESSY DESTRUCTION. Ah, well. (See my pal Richard Farson’s latest … Whoever Makes the Most Mistakes Wins: The Paradox of Innovation. Or Dick Foster and Sarah Kaplan’s … Creative Destruction.)
Before blogging became all the rage, Tom was posting book reviews and Observations (essentially early blog posts) to this site. You can find the archives below.