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Building One of the World's Largest Technology Businesses (and How to Have Fun and Profit from Your Hobbies)

Building One of the World's Largest Technology Businesses (and How to Have Fun and Profit from Your Hobbies)

This video was recorded at MIT Industrial Liaison Program. Anyone who remembers the din of a dot matrix printer at full throttle can appreciate the invention of inkjet printing. For this, we have Frank Cloutier and his prescient Hewlett-Packard team to thank. When HP decided to get into the print market in 1979, "we were called lunatic," said Cloutier. At an early team meeting, someone showed a cover of National Geographic Magazine, featuring a gorgeous, multicolor photograph of a tropical bird. "This is what we want to do," Cloutier remembers everyone saying -- and then set about inventing the technology to make it possible. Through this story, Cloutier presents a prime example of the concept "begin with the end in mind." HP wanted "an invisible ink system -- ink you couldn't see on the hands." The breakthrough notion was using resistors to heat up ink to a point just before it turns gaseous, and forcing it through tiny nozzles onto paper. This kind of "invention by inspiration," as Cloutier puts it, has led HP to the #1 position in the printing and imaging industry—with 300 million printers shipped and $24 billion in business last year. "Don't waste miracles," says Cloutier, but keep in mind the breakthrough invention is just the beginning of the job.

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