When he was the Provost of Stanford (before being credited as the Father of Silicon Valley), tech legend Frederick Terman wanted to help the Army acquire a computer. So, he turned to HP's Bill Hewlett. Problem: Bill was totally clueless.


To be fair, this was a decade before HP debuted their first computer—at the time, they were just in the electronics-testing business. So Hewlett humbly replied, "I have no personal knowledge of computers nor does anyone in our organization have any appreciable knowledge."

Today, it's extremely unlikely that you've never either owned or used a computer that isn't stamped with Hewlett's initial. He quickly came to have some pretty substantial personal knowledge of computers, and is partially responsible for the fact that you do too. [Letters of Note]