HP — Taking the Geek out of Computers

HP Art of Small BusinessYesterday at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Hewlett Packard (HP) put on an event called The Art of Small Business. The purpose was to announce several new products and partnerships for the small business market.

I attended the event and as you probably could guess from the name, the theme was about art. What might not be so obvious is the connection between business and art.

HP used the word “art” to refer to small businesses. In the words of Satjiv Chahil, Senior VP of Marketing at HP, “small business is a fine art that combines passion and expertise.”

But you also could say that art is a metaphor for HP’s approach to designing new products for small businesses. HP announced 12 new products. What struck me about the products is how much HP has done to take the geek out of computers. More features, but easier to use, is how I would describe the offerings.

For instance, one of the new products is a desktop computer with a built-in backup system that automatically backs up your data. The backup consists of a second hard drive. The whole thing is factory-installed, so you don’t have to mess around buying and installing a separate back-up solution. You don’t have to remember to do anything to back up your files, either — the system backs itself up every time you turn it on. The only extra cost involved is the cost of a second hard drive, which could be as little as $75 extra. We all know we should back up data, but most of us don’t have IT staff and we don’t want to take time away from running our businesses to do data backups. So we just don’t back up — until something happens and we risk losing all our data. This new computer makes it so we don’t have to do anything or even think about backing up our data — it’s done for us.

Another new offering is a laptop that automatically encrypts your data. Data encryption is another of those security measures that experts tell us we should do. But few small businesses I know actually do encryption — probably because we don’t have a clue how to encrypt files. With this laptop, your data is encrypted automatically without you having to do anything. Then if the laptop happens to be stolen from your car, at least your data would be protected from unauthorized people.

Other promising offerings announced include an automatic online backup service at about $12 a month. There is also a feature called Total Care which is a dashboard that lets you monitor the health of your computer or put it on auto pilot.

HP is designing new products that minimize or eliminate the need for business owners to install complicated extras, or take action, or even have to think about the systems. They are making computers easier to use in our businesses, for those of us who want to run our businesses and not have to play IT person.

More information here.


Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

4 Reactions
  1. Small business owners are one of a kind as each business has something which provides unique ability to their talent and skill. It will be interesting to see how the public reacts to these products. Just as it is important for products to be user-friendly, users must learn how to operate the device. As an IS/IT person I do understand and appreciate your point of view.

  2. Hi Sue, The thing that struck me about these new computers is how everything is handled for the user. Features such as backups and encryption are ready to go the moment you take the computer out of the box. You don’t have to buy another piece of software or a separate device. You don’t have to take extra steps. Open the box and you’re golden.


  3. “For instance, one of the new products is a desktop computer with a built-in backup system that automatically backs up your data. The backup consists of a second hard drive.”

    What a fantastic feature – I look forward to seeing these items in the marketplace. Maybe others will follow the trend of “ease of use.”

  4. This is brilliant. Why hasn’t security always been so simple? Sure, for an IT specialist encryption and back-up are very basic, very simple means of protecting information, but to a one-person office going out to buy an extra hard drive or searching for encryption software never happens.
    Hopefully more computer manufacturers will follow HP’s ways.