DIGITAL CONNECTIONS CONFERENCE
SAN JOSE, CALIFORNA
MAY 4, 2000
© Copyright 2000 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P
All rights reserved. Do not use without written permission from HP.
Thank you, Ken. Good afternoon, everyone.
It's a pleasure to be a part of this conference-a conference
that has done a wonderful job of shining a light on the Digital
Divide and maybe building some bridges to cross it.
I'd like to start my remarks with a story-and this particular
story sends out a particularly relevant message for today.
This morning I had the pleasure of meeting and having breakfast
with a group of HP's scholars-college students who we've given
scholarships to, internships, and an HP mentor.
They're in the audience today-Oscar Banuelos, Marcella Grant,
Andrew Olowu, Steven Romero and Irma Solis-all extremely bright,
extremely ambitious, extremely dedicated individuals.
This is a story is about one of those scholars: Oscar Banuelos.
Oscar-now in his first year at Santa Clara University-was
president of MESA … Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement
… while in high school. He received a number of academic accolades,
including awards from Stanford and the Silicon Valley Mathematics
Association. But Oscar is most proud of the contribution he
made to the employees of Monterey Mushrooms. His parents work
for this company and like many of the other employees, English
isn't their native language.
When it came time to negotiate a new contract between the
employees and the company, Oscar gave his time, his energy,
his translation skills to finalize an agreement that improved
the labor standards for hundreds of workers.
Now, Oscar truly believes being Hispanic in America is great,
but there are times when he's been made to feel differently.
Like the time he walked into an advanced math class ready
to learn-ready to be challenged on the first day of school
-and the teacher assumed he was in the wrong class.
I open my remarks with this story, not to highlight such
a shameful assumption-although it is truly shameful. I share
this story with you more to celebrate the talents and remarkable
individuals that make this world more enriching for us all.
That's the reason we've all convened here today.
This conference has let us to come together to exchange thought-provoking
ideas, develop life-long partnerships, discover truly extraordinary
Isn't it amazing what can happen-the wonderful things-that
can result when diverse groups of people band together for
a common cause?
I believe we are all here for the same reason. We're here
because we don't want any of the gaps Rev. Jackson mentions-education,
workforce, technology, access to capital-to get any wider
than they already are.
We want to narrow the gaps-and hopefully one day-close them
completely. We want to give everybody the tools to work, to
play, to live in the new economy.
We're here because we've heard the echo in this room-and
the echo from other business, civic and political leaders
throughout the nation: "Closing the gaps is not only the right
thing to do, it's good business."
While the so-called Digital Divide is news right now…I believe,
it's not new. It's merely the digital expression of divides
we've had for hundreds of years.
John (Chambers) says we've lived this crisis-the crisis of
the haves and have nots-since the Industrial Revolution.
So, we're all here today not because we've realized there
are new struggles we must tackle. We're here today because
there are new solutions we must create-new solutions that
will endure-that will enable everyone-and I mean everyone-to
participate in this digital world.
While our country may have taken enormous steps toward embracing
a diverse culture, we still have a long way to go before that
embrace enfolds every community, every company, every classroom,
Now, how can the technology industry help?
I believe this industry needs to focus on three things. We
- Stop the rhetoric,
- Recognize the value in diversity, and
- Change through e-inclusion.
One of the biggest contributions this industry can make to
this problem is to convince people it's serious. Of course,
our presence here today is one beacon of hope. But what happens
after today. Tomorrow? The day after?
What happens when Rev. Jackson rolls back out of town-back
to Chicago-taking his courageous message and his wonderful
convictions with him?
What happens when we go back to the day-to-day operation
of our businesses-when we get busy satisfying the needs of
our shareowners, our customers, our employees?
Indeed, what happens next?
STOP THE RHETORIC
Well, like Bob Knowling said today and at an event a few
weeks ago in East Palo Alto, we must stop the rhetoric-in
his words, "the lip service."
I believe we must stop thinking that about this issue not
so much as what "we" can do for "them." But more about what
"they," do for "us."
- Diversity nourishes the soul of our company-and truly
great companies have souls.
- Diversity fills critical roles in our organizations.
- Diversity inspires creativity and inventiveness.
And inventiveness and creativity are core virtues of this
new economy. So to be successful in the 21st century and beyond
we must look at the people around us-and pursue their differences-value
their differences-embrace their differences.
This industry needs to recognize that we need to capitalize
on the momentum created in the last three days. We need to
stop ignoring minorities because, I believe, minorities are
vital to our success going forward.
- We need their skills
- We need their perspective
- We need their diversity
Part of HP's strategy for reinvention has been to hold up
a mirror and take an honest look at ourselves. That's been
one of the hardest things to do-hard because some things we
like, some things we don't like. Our strategy of reinvention
has been to preserve the best, and reinvent the rest.
Now, when we hold up a mirror to our workforce at HP, when
we take an honest look at ourselves, we don't like what we
see. While we may have a reasonable track record, we are far
from being where we want to be; where we should be; where
we need to be-both as an organization and as an industry.
And if we're truly honest with ourselves, which we need to
be in this situation, we will admit that we have a big problem
in the Valley in this regard.
What's at the root of this problem? The virtual wall between
available talent and available jobs. And the fact that diversity
is not a hiring practice nor a hiring priority in many Silicon
Valley companies. And the less-than-open perspective of many
As a result, this industry has far too much conformity.
Companies with a high-degree of conformity are not easy places
to join if you're different.
- Conformity is not productive when you want to attract
- Conformity is not productive when you want to have creativity.
- Conformity is not productive when you want to be inventive.
So, how do we-how does this industry-break the cycle of conformity?
RECOGNIZE THE VALUE IN DIVERSITY
We need to recognize-truly recognize-the value in diversity.
Not everyone must be the same. In fact, the opposite is true.
To build a great team we need to encourage differences. Whether
as a nation, as an industry, as a company, we must start valuing
differences. All the way. Not just part way.
We need to value differences not just in entertainment, sports
and style. We need to value difference in the world of finance,
the world of technology, the world of corporate management.
This isn't just the business issue du jour -it's a strategic
I believe all-the-way diversity is essential to creating
a winning workforce.
And I mean diversity in all its forms:
- diversity in terms of the color of our skin.
- diversity in terms of ideas
- diversity in terms of style
- diversity in terms of how we express ourselves
- diversity in terms of lifestyle choices
- diversity in terms of our experience
- diversity in terms of perspective
You may have heard me say this before and I firmly believe
Diversity drives creativity. Creativity is at the heart of
If this industry wants to reach its full inventive capability-to
reach its full inventive potential-we must be committed to
It is with this inventive spirit in mind that we need to
accept Rev. Jackson's challenge-the challenge he has issued
to the technology industry:
He said and I quote: "We challenge the industry and public
sector to formulate and implement a three- to five-year plan
to educate, train, prepare and employ 200,000 youth in local
communities." (4/23/00 SJMN: Rev. Jackson editorial)
We need to accept Rev. Jackson's challenge because we truly
believe the echo: "It's not only the right thing to do, it's
We need to accept Rev. Jackson's challenge because our future-the
future of this industry-this inventive and idea-centered industry-greatly
depends on a more diverse workforce. Our companies greatly
depend on a more diverse workforce.
I believe we can achieve great success because of a diverse
workforce, not in spite of it.
Now, I admit we can't solve the workforce diversity issue
overnight. We believe real solutions require real understanding.
Real understanding is a growth process that begins with the
root of the problem.
CHANGE THROUGH E-INCLUSION
At HP, we believe that real growth-and systemic change-starts
with e-inclusion-a small seed that spreads, that enables change,
that grows and gathers momentum until it engulfs every one,
We have a vision of e-inclusion-that is, empowering all people
to participate in society by sharing the benefits of information
and skills through technology, philanthropy and community
We believe in full e-inclusion, not just stop-gaps or giveaways.
In our view, e-inclusion more than bridges the digital divide-a
term that sounds far too remote, far too antiseptic, far too
impersonal for such a people issue. It's not enough to tolerate,
to accommodate differences, we have to include differences-we
have to embrace differences.
And e-inclusion delves deeper -gets more personal with the
issues brought up today.
E-inclusion is not just about technology; yes that's our
livelihood. E-inclusion is about people, it's about relationships,
it's about personal commitment.
We know that to truly get to the root of the problem-to make
a real difference-to be truly committed-we must give more
than technology, more than just money, although these are
essential. But while giving money is important, it's the easy
thing to do. Giving people career development paths, mentoring,
training-that's one-on-one stuff-important stuff. And it's
hard to do.
For example, Steven Romero-another HP scholar I met this
morning-tells us he would have left engineering had it not
been for his HP mentor.
What we hope to achieve with the HP Scholars program-which
is part of HP's Diversity in Education Initiative-is to reach
minority students early in their college careers, so they
have the kind of support and encouragement they need to finish
school … and realize their dreams.
All young people have the right to learn. All young people
have the right to technology. All young people have a right
to an inventive future.
Some years ago, I wrote a graduate thesis on education reform…so
I've been concerned about education for a long time.
Today I'm privileged to be the CEO of a company who's been
passionate about education for many years-a company with a
spirit of giving-a company with a shining soul.
We have a unique, holistic approach to our education programs-to
Holistic in that it involves hands-on assistance. Holistic
in that people get very involved in a very comprehensive way.
Holistic in that it touches people lives. Holistic in that
it empowers individuals to learn for a lifetime not just one
small period in life. Holistic in that our approach conquers
change by challenging the whole person-challenging the heart
as well as the mind-challenging the creative side of the brain
as well as the analytical side. And we believe that educating
the whole person is important to our future.
In order to maximize the full potential of the future, we
need to spark the creativity in all of us to meet the challenges
of the next millenium. We need to begin with e-inclusion-to
make technology available and accessible so that people will
have the tools to explore, to communicate, to collaborate,
We need e-inclusion for everyone-so that everyone can begin
to move forward in the growth process.
We understand the difficulties and challenges ahead. We must
be ready for those challenges. We must be wholeheartedly committed
to them, too. I'll say that again. We must be wholeheartedly
committed to change and the challenges ahead.
We also understand the importance of community, government
and corporate partnerships in our vision of e-inclusion for
all. And that we can't do it alone.
We need all of you.
I'm going to borrow a Spanish word that's a favorite of Oscar
Banuelos. The word is ganas-it means desire for or inclination.
For Oscar, it means and I quote: "The determination, the desire
to achieve, the effort you must provide, the willpower when
necessary, and the perseverance you must act on."
It's up to all of us to embrace and empower a culture where
diversity thrives rather than stalls-it's up to all of us
to have the ganas to change-so that brilliant, ambitious,
inventive minds, like Oscar's and lots more like him, are
not made to feel like outsiders-so that all of us may enjoy
the spiritual richness and economic prosperity that a diverse
It's up to all of us to create an environment that embraces
diversity… rather than one that simply accommodates it.
I know we can do it. If we work together. As partners.
I know we can do it … if we bring passion to this … the same
passion that Rev. Jackson brings.
I know we can do it…because it's the right thing to do.
Visit the National Rainbow/PUSH Coalition Web site for more
details and information. http://www.rainbowpush.org/
Back To Top