Tom Perkins is the Real Face of Silicon Valley

Tom Perkins is the Real Face of Silicon Valley

September 12, 2006

As I read the news this morning about the pending resignation of H-P Board Chair Patricia Dunn I found myself feeling a bit defensive about Silicon Valley’s reputation. And then I remembered the real story here. And it is not the story we’ve been reading about over the last week or so. No, the real story, the one that matters, is the tale of how Tom Perkins put his personal reputation, which he surely knew would come under attack, on the line to unmask behavior that he thought was wrong. The easy thing for Mr. Perkins to do would have been to look the other way and sweep the matter under the rug, as it appears everyone else in the know at H-P was apparently willing to do.

Instead, when Perkins was confronted with evidence of wrong-doing he resigned immediately, disassociated himself from the conduct and then did everything he could within the rules to bring the law-breaking to light. I’ve never met Tom Perkins. But I did have a chance to meet H-P’s legendary founders, Bill Hewlett and David Packard, the latter of whom once wrote me a treasured letter of support. I’m certain they would be embarrassed by the recent scandal at H-P. But my best guess is that they would have done what Mr. Perkins did. And that is the real story: that Silicon Valley still has people like Tom Perkins.

About the Author /

hplotkin@plotkin.com

<p>My published work since 1985 has focused mostly on public policy, technology, science, education and business. I’ve written more than 600 articles for a variety of magazines, journals and newspapers on these often interrelated subjects. The topics I have covered include analysis of progressive approaches to higher education, entrepreneurial trends, e-learning strategies, business management, open source software, alternative energy research and development, voting technologies, streaming media platforms, online electioneering, biotech research, patent and tax law reform, federal nanotechnology policies and tech stocks.</p>

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