I’m fascinated by HP. I really am. There’s a scientific theory “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny” that, if memory serves, suggests the evolution of man can be seen and sequenced from the evolution of two cells to fetus to baby. We started as cells, the theory goes, became fish-like, birdlike, quad- and bi-pedal and finally man.
I think HP is a good metaphor for the evolution of technology.
The company started in a garage, slowly evolved into computer powerhouse, bought a bunch of companies and digested them. The company has dabbled in software, built a huge services business, played and purchased its way into mobile. It has had good years, bad years, amazing years and evolved leadership in a number of ways. In prime time TV ways, sometimes.
Leo Apotheker tried to make a daring left turn into business software and was tossed out (in my opinion due to poor PR advice). Meg Whitman, with web chops and B-school cred is here to move the company into the cloud – but her headlines today are about slashing 27,000 jobs.
I’m not sure I know into what form the HP organism is evolving. It seems an evolution strategy is and has driven them. But this is business. Business needs vision. Business needs to lead that vision. Evolution is passive. Vision is active. Jury is still out on HP if you ask me. Peace.