Rules of the Garage Band

HP GarageBill Hewlett and Dave Packard created what was one of the greatest companies in the world. They had a set of core beliefs and practices that helped HP become the company that helped to form the Silicon Valley culture of entrepreneurship, innovation and ethical business practices. One of the ways they communicated their core beliefs was in a list of simple rules that they brought with them from their first garage home to their corporate headquarters. You can find these rules on Wikipedia, but strangely we could not find them when we searched We will list them here for your convenience.

The twelve rules are:

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

Given how well they are doing lately, HP apparently no longer needs these handy rules. Still, we thought it would make sense to keep them going as best we can. While did not start in a garage, some of our closest acquaintances are members of bands. For their benefit, we have reworked the garage rules for the oldest of cooperative institutions – the Garage Band.

Here are the fourteen (give or take) “Rules of the Garage Band”:

  • Believe you can change the world.
  • Know when to play a solo and when to play together.
  • Fading out is something they do in a studio. End the song with a cymbal crash and the lead guitarist jumping in the air.
  • Share guitar picks, but never reeds or mouthpieces. Trust your colleagues but watch your hygiene.
  • No written music. No metronomes. (These are ridiculous in a garage.)
  • The cute girl/boy next door defines a job well done.
  • Harmonies and time signatures just limt your creativity.
  • Play good or look good. If you can’t do either, move to Seattle.
  • Radical ideas are not bad ideas, but never let the drummer write a song.
  • Anyone can play around on the drums, but you touch my twelve-string and I’ll hurt you.
  • Invent a different cool move for each song. It is better to not move at all than use the same move on each song.
  • Rock every day. If it doesn’t rock, it doesn’t leave the garage.
  • Wear sunglasses.
  • Believe that together we can do anything.
  • Play loud. Have Fun.


Photo:  © BrokenSphere / Wikimedia Commons

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