BusinessWeek's Spencer Ante has another interview outtake with former Hewlett-Packard board member and Kleiner Perkins cofounder Tom Perkins. In it, Perkins explains how he helped turn around HP. Here's the 100-word version of the harrowing tale of board committees, patent policies and microprocessors oh my!
When I joined the board, the company was spending $5 billion a year on R&D and the board was oblivious. So we established this committee. It met the day before the board meetings and got into the strategic aspect of HP. Made it possible for Carly [Fiorina] and Mark [Hurd] to take risks. HP had had a very liberal technology licensing policy, actually paying out $100 million a year in royalties. At the first meeting of the technology committee we changed that. I insisted that every single license had to be signed by Fiorina. The second thing we did was get serious against Dell Direct. But the most important thing was we encouraged the company to redirect a lot of purchases of microprocessors to AMD from Intel.