From: Billy Davidow (edited)
In the 1960's I was the first manager of marketing for Hewlett Packard's computer division.
HP's first product was the 2116A -- the heaviest, biggest, slowest, most expensive, and worst architected minicomputer on the market.
The manager of the Los Angeles sales office told every salesman to come back to the office at the end of the day and tell each other about their successes, no matter how small.
Going out on sales calls was torture, as customers explained the products shortcomings.
Winning in Silicon Valley is about technology but it is about culture as well -- determination, discipline, teamwork, commitment, belief that you can overcome adversity.
When the culture is right, other things fall into place.
In 1973, I joined Intel. Intel was a memory company.
The Japanese drove us out of the memory business -- extremely depressing to have the company heritage destroyed.
We went on to win in microprocessors, but it was not easy. Competitors had better architectures. Their products ran on one power supply instead of three.
Our sales force became demoralized as we lost on design after design. Key employees left to start competitive companies.
But Intel had a winning culture.
We worked together. We supported one another. We agreed on a corporate goal that every division supported.
That goal was to make the Intel architecture the industry standard.
Divisions sacrificed their profits and allocated their resources to support the goal. Politics melted away and were subsumed by the corporate focus. In the end, Intel triumphed.
Intel's strong corporate culture powered its market victory.
MORAL: You can win in the long run if you stick around and the company improves its offering. But in the short run you are screwed.