Interview with France Rode, Silicon Valley 50 years later

“You need to have courage. Without courage there’s nothing. And hard work. I think today — at least I see it — people don’t have the right interest.”

France Rode

(image source: Val 202)

France Rode, born November 20, 1934 in Nožice, Slovenia, is an engineer and inventor best known for his work on the HP-35 pocket calculator. He was one of the four lead engineers at Hewlett-Packard assigned to the project. Rode also invented and created the first workable RFID products: workplace entry cards, for which he holds several patents. (source: Wikipedia)

on benefits of working for HP:

“What has been a benefit for people like me at HP: the whole warehouse was always open. You could go in and take what you needed. And you could work for yourself which was also nice. As long as you worked.”

The interview, performed by Kristjan Pecanac of Hekovnik Startup School, which was filmed at BoundBreaker’s 4th generation launch is bursting with brilliant remarks and intimate insight into his professional life, achievements, overview of the industry, relationship to his home country and his many experiences living in Silicon Valley. The video is unfortunately available only in Slovene, but hopefully the Hekovnik team will be able to provide English subtitles in the near future. Until then I’ve taken the liberty of translating some of my favorite gems which are too good not to be shared with the rest of the non-Slovene speaking world.

on advice to others on how to build an Eastern Europe version of Sillicon Valley

“I would say they should come in terms with some kind of self-confidence or an idea, that by helping someone you also benefit from it. Because with every such relation, if someone fails it’s not good. And if I return to what you’ve just said — politicians, the university, scientists and entrepreneurs — some sort of symbiosis needs to form between them. Otherwise this can’t go anywhere. And it is very important what kind of policies they write. What kind of restrictions are imposed on you in order to do something. That is why there needs to be a synthesis between these people. There’s no other way of doing that. I think.”

on importance of research:

“You can’t do anything without research. You just can’t. Tell me what can you do, without proving something can be done for the first time? You can’t just go tinkering something!”


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