2013 Distinguished Entrepreneur Speaker Series

Rod Canion Pre-Registration closed, Walk-up Registrations Available at Event 

Distinguished Entrepreneur Speaker Series Featuring Rod Canion
Founder & CEO, Compaq Computers
Author, “Open: How Compaq Ended IBM's PC Domination and Helped Invent Modern Computing"

Thursday, October 3, 2013 
 - Reception
6:30pm - Presentation

7:30pm - Book Signing and Reception

McNair Hall, Rice University
  "Canion's description of the human side of cobbling together what's needed to create one of these standards is correct -- and a good read, too."
—Andy Grove, former CEO of Intel   

Rod Canion:

In 1992, Rod Canion co-founded Insource Technology and now serves as an advisor to the Board. He has been a leading figure in the technology industry since co-founding Compaq Computer Corporation in 1982 and serving as its Chief Executive Officer through a decade of unprecedented growth. During his tenure as CEO, Compaq set records for the largest first-year sales in the history of American business and reached the Fortune 500 and the $1 billion revenue mark faster than any other company in history. By 1991, Compaq employed more than 10,000 people and operated in 65 countries worldwide.

A native of Houston, Canion graduated from the University of Houston in 1966 and 1968 with Bachelor's and Master's degrees in electrical engineering with an emphasis on computer science. He is a member of the Board of Directors of AMVESCAP and BlueArc, and is a member of the Board of Advisors for Sternhill Partners.

Open: How Compaq Ended IBM's PC Domination and Helped Invent Modern Computing

  “An upstart company in Texas, with cows grazing outside its win­dows, bets its future on open standards, only to find itself battling the world’s most powerful technology company for control of the per­sonal computer industry. Rod Canion reveals the back-room battles, secret alliances, and bet-the-company decisions he made as CEO of Compaq, which he guided from start-up to Fortune 500 in less than four years. Canion’s process for making executive decisions will be of interest to managers in any competitive industry.”
—Peter H. Lewis, former senior writer and technology columnist, The New York Times  


"OPEN" is the story of Compaq’s meteoric rise from humble beginnings to become the PC industry leader in just over a decade. Along the way, we helped create the open industry standard for PCs, thereby creating the intense competition that drove prices down and greatly increased market growth. The open PC standard also led to a flood of innovative new products, introduced at a rate that was unprecedented. Then, when IBM attempted to end the standard in the late 80s, Compaq surprised everyone by leading all the other PC companies in a final battle against IBM that saved the standard from certain destruction. That loss left IBM so weakened that Compaq was able to eventually surpass them and become the worldwide PC leader in 1994.

But behind the headlines of record-setting growth and industry-leading product introductions lies an exciting tale of Compaq dodging the bullets that continually came at us from both IBM and the low- priced IBM “clones.” A valuable lesson in management decision-making in times of crisis, OPEN reveals how Compaq was able to avoid damage in every case and continue to strengthen its position as a market leader throughout the 80s. And when IBM threw down the gauntlet with the introduction of their PS/2 line of proprietary PC’s in 1987, Compaq’s decision to go “all in” and fight back provides a vivid example of true leadership in action.

An exciting true story of how Compaq beat the odds to lead the PC industry in its battle to preserve the open industry standard, and in so doing, usher in the golden age of PC technology.

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