HP's corporate culture encouraged professional development in sometimes unconventional ways. "The company would encourage employees to do even personal projects using company equipment and parts, like building an amplifier that you needed for your audio system," Gibbons said. "It encouraged engineers to be innovative. It was a generous impulse, but one that has inherent value for the company because the engineer would learn something."
When the business expanded to include satellites outside Palo Alto, Hewlett visited a Santa Rosa site and noticed a storeroom chained with a padlock. "He immediately went to the store, bought a bolt cutter, used it to cut the lock and put up a note reading: 'Please don't chain this again. -- Bill,'" recalled Gibbons. "He wanted people to be able to invent anytime and under any circumstances."
Both Hewlett and Packard shared a disdain for formality and hierarchy and an admiration for creativity and initiative that they incorporated into company policies that later defined many attributes of the Silicon Valley. Many companies worldwide have adopted the people-oriented approach to management, now known as the "HP Way," which has included profit sharing for all employees since the company's inception.
-- from Stanford's William Hewlett obit