Author(s): Rod Canion
The story of Compaq is well-known: Three ex-Texas Instruments managers founded Compaq with modest venture funding. Just four years later, Compaq was on the Fortune 500 list, and, two years after that, they had exceeded $1 billion in annual revenue. No company had ever achieved these milestones so rapidly. But few know the story behind the story. In 1982, when Compaq was founded, there was no software standardization, so every brand of personal computer required its own unique application software. Just eight years later, compatibility with the open PC standard had become ubiquitous, and it has continued to be for over two decades. This didn't happen by accident. Cofounder and then CEO Rod Canion and his team made a series of risky and daring decisions--often facing criticism and incredulity--that allowed the open PC standard marketplace to thrive and the incredible benefits of open computing to be realized. A never-before-published insider account of Compaq's extraordinary strategies and decisions, "Open" provides valuable lessons in leadership in times of crisis, management decision-making under the pressure of extraordinary growth, and the power of a unique, pervasive culture. "Open" tells the incredible story of Compaq's meteoric rise from humble beginnings to become the PC industry leader in just over a decade. Along the way, Compaq helped change the face of computing while establishing the foundation for today's world of tablets and smart phones.
"Rod Canion reveals the back-room battles, secret alliances, and bet-the-company decisions he made as CEO of Compaq, which he guided from start-up to the Fortune 500 in less than four years. Canion's process for making executive decisions will be of interest to managers in any competitive industry."--Peter H. Lewis, former Senior Writer and technology columnist for "The New York Times""Compaq's early business decisions changed the course of personal computing. This is a detailed inside look at those high-risk, high-reward calls by the executive who made them and holds important lessons for competitive strategy."--Richard Shaffer, former technology columnist for "The Wall Street Journal", "Forbes", and "Fortune""Canion's description of the human side of cobbling together what's needed to create one of these standards is correct -- and a good read, too." --Andy Grove, former CEO of Intel"Yet remarkably, just a decade later, Compaq had successfully toppled IBM as the world's largest PC company. In this fast-paced recounting of how the inconceivable became the actual, Compaq co-founder Rod Canion tells how daunting hurdles were overcome and opportunities seized. "Open" will take you along on this exhilarating ride through technology, innovation, and unprecedented industrial growth."--Ben Rosen, former Chairman of Compaq"This book is a must-read for anyone seriously interested in innovation, investment in startups, or the information industry."--William F. Zachmann, Computer and Communications Industry Analyst and Former V.P. of Market Research at International Data Corp.
Rod Canion cofounded Compaq Computer Corporation in 1982 and served as chief executive officer from its inception through a decade of unprecedented growth and challenges. During his tenure as CEO, Compaq set records for the largest first-year sales in the history of American business and reached the Fortune 500 and the $1-billion-revenue mark faster than any other company in history. By 1991, Compaq employed more than 10,000 people and operated in 65 countries. Since leaving Compaq in 1991, Canion has been involved in a long list of startups and early stage companies as an angel investor, advisor, and director. He helped found the Houston Technology Center in 1999 and the Goose Society of Texas in 2005, two organizations focused on encouraging entrepreneurs and helping early stage companies succeed. He is currently a director of Invesco, Ltd. and ChaCha Search, Inc., and is an advisory director of Encore Health Resources and Dynamics, Inc.