Rules of the garage

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The rules of the garage are a set of twelve rules that attempt to encapsulate the work ethos that Bill Hewlett and David Packard when they founded Hewlett-Packard. Since Hewlett-Packard was one of the earliest success stories of the information technology sector, it also used to more broadly describe the work ethos of Silicon Valley.


The rules were first formulated by Carly Fiorina in 1999 - during her tenure as then HP CEO - and were later used in a Hewlett-Packard ad campaign. [1] The name was a reference to David Packard' garage in Palo Alto, in which Packard and Bill Hewlett first founded the company after graduating from nearby Stanford University in 1935.[2]

The twelve "Rules of the Garage"

The twelve rules are[1]:

  • Believe you can change the world.
  • Work quickly, keep the tools unlocked, work whenever.
  • Know when to work alone and when to work together.
  • Share tools, ideas. Trust your colleagues.
  • No Politics. No bureaucracy. (These are ridiculous in a garage).
  • The customer defines a job well done.
  • Radical ideas are not bad ideas.
  • Invent different ways of working.
  • Make a contribution every day. If it doesn’t contribute, it doesn’t leave the garage.
  • Believe that together we can do anything.
  • Invent.


  1. 1.0 1.1
  2. Malone, Michael (2007). Bill & Dave: How Hewlett and Packard Built the World's Greatest Company. Portfolio Hardcover. pp. 39–41. ISBN 1-59184-152-6. 


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