An Interview with Bill
Hewlett

Gemperlein: Did you ever blow anything up?
Hewlett: Oh, sure. . . I think it was a doorknob. . . A doorknob is compact. . . . you can put explosives in it, use it as a bomb.

Gemperlein: When did you do that? When you were a little boy...?

Hewlett: (It was) a college prank.. .'Course, I didn't get caught.

Shroff: What advice would you give to better prepare a teenager for this high-tech world?
Hewlett: Well, I would say be computer literate. That's an ambiguous term, but that's all I can say. The whole world centers around the use of computers.
Shroff: What role do you see for the computers in education and in the world?
Hewlett: I think we're going to see more and more use of computers. That's why it's essential that you get introduced (to them) at an early age.

It was interesting. We went to Europe with our computers -- not our calculator,


I can't think of any occasion when an instrument has been as quickly obsoleted as the slide rule.
our computers. And that was very important because those calculators were very simple to use and people got used to using them. And the computer was not so much of a mystery for them because programs were simpler.

I can't think of any occasion when an instrument has been as quickly obsoleted as the slide rule. You know, in 4 years, I'd say that the slide rule was obsoleted (by the calculator.)

Gemperlein: Did you ever read about young people or people starting out in business who spend all night on the computer? Or are so very interested in computers and technology that they really don't relate to people in any way except in the computer? How did you balance your interest in science and technology with family and friends?
Hewlett: Well, you've got to make a balance. Most people I know in this field work all night on a problem.

Gemperlein: Did you?

Hewlett: When I got to reading, I did, because I read so slowly. I'd have to get up at 4 o'clock in the morning and do my homework. But now as an adult, I get this much to read, and I had to learn how to read that amount.

Gemperlein: So, how would you tell young people to balance their science and technology career, which can be very stressful and very competitive?

Hewlett: Just do it. Just do it. I had to do it. For reading. And there's no reason why other people can't do it for science. Science is not tough.


And I couldn't take notes. Come to write, I couldn't remember how to spell. So I learned how to just listen, and to listen to what people say, and say, that's important, I want to remember that. So you learn that way. What you learn (is) you have a great memory.
It's certain principles and basics and that's based on facts, and observations. Once you get the idea, the rest is not as surprising.
Shroff: I was wondering what advice do you have for people who are a little slow? Because, me, personally, I'm not that great of a writer. . .
Hewlett: Learn how to listen. I had the same problem. And I couldn't take notes. Come to write, I couldn't remember how to spell . . . So I learned how to just listen, and to listen to what people say, and say, that's important, I want to remember that. So you learn that way. What you learn (is) you have a great memory.