Thursday, June 16, 2011

IBM is Cool

Tonight I read about Oracle's lawsuit against Google and then HP's suit against Oracle. I got depressed and did a couple of sarcastic Tweets.

Then I opened up the NYTimes and read IBM's essay celebrating their 100 years. While it takes a couple of cheap shots at founder-driven companies (Apple, Oracle and Facebook envy), it is a very aspirational piece.

My favorite quote is:
"I believe that if an organization is to meet the challenges of a changing world, it must be prepared to change everything about itself, except its beliefs." - Thomas Watson, Jr.

I admit, I am a sucker for IBM. My Dad worked there from the mid 1960's until his retirement. I had a summer job in the Glendale Labs where I wrote 11 lines of code that went into all of the company's 300 and 600 lpm band printers in the late 70's. I attended a day long class in the history and culture of IBM, learning the importance of THINK, of respect, and the value of technology. Tom Watson, Jr. wrote my Dad a note when I got a broken leg in 6th grade. My Dad "feared" for me when I took a job at Digital Equipment rather than IBM a couple of years out of college. I competed head-head with IBM's Tony Shaloop (sp?) at the duPont Experimental Station in the mid 80's. I had my respectful differences of opinion with IBM open source guru Bob Sutor in the mid 2000's. The listened to best guy I ever worked with, Al Smith, as he raved over the past 3 years after his company (Princeton Softech) was acquired by IBM. I have the 3 shares of IBM stock framed on the wall next to my home office desk that my Dad gave me with the words "Break in case of emergency" written on the back.

I think Tom Jr.'s words are relevant today as each of us make our daily choices. It is all about core values. Doing the right THINK.

And, yes, I was proud when Watson kicked Ken Jennings and Brad Rutters butts...

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