James Bandler and Doris Burke have written an incredibly well-researched deconstruction of why HP is in the toilet today. There are some truly astonishing quotes I could pull from it, but this is one of my favourites:
[Former CEO Mike] Hurd’s early initiatives to pare spending were valuable and necessary. But as time went on it became harder to find waste, and the results became extreme. Employees practically needed an act of Congress to get approval to buy a piece of software. The headquarters of the tech company did not have Wi-Fi. And some minions took Hurd’s edicts to self-defeating lengths. At HP’s office in Fort Collins, Colo., for example, the lights shut off automatically at 6 p.m. every day, effectively forcing workers to go home. An intrepid few brought their own lamps to the office, only to be scolded by facilities managers, who told them to remove the lights.
Just a few years ago, the HP offices didn’t have WiFi.