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This is the autobiography of one of the great entrepreneurs of the 20C. If only for that, it is worth the read of anyone who is interested in understanding business or the fast-food industry. For all his earthy common sense and lack of formal education, the system that Kroc set up can only be described as a work of genius. Afterall, MCdonald's at the moment has surpassed Coca Cola as the most recognized brand in the world: it serves nearly 45 million people every day, commands unparalelled influence in every related industry, and often serves as the symbol of the US itself.

THe great strength of this book is that you get Kroc's view of what makes himself tick: he devoted himself relentlessly to a single business purpose within the capitalist system, was open to suggestions from talent that he cultivated regarding that purpose, and adapted it as he needed to thrive. It is a remarkable story of a man who re-made himself many times, and began what became the McDonald's corporation in his 50s! You simply have to respect what he accomplished at a time when most men would have given up.

The pillars of his business model are well known: 1) it is more an ecosystem of separate companies that grow together with long-term bonds of trust and the highest standards of professional conduct; 2) it pursues operational efficiency while refusing to compromise safety and cleanliness; 3) it is adept at finding innovations pioneered by both its suppliers and owner-operators and then disseminating them into the system; 4) it sticks to its core competency - hamburger and fries - and with few exceptions listens to consumers. That is about it, really, in an idealist version, but it explains why the company's many competitors failed to grow as big and fast.

During the process, furthermore, Kroc did not go for making a quick buck - by selling franchise rights for a killing or gouging his owner-operators by monopolising what supplies they had to buy from him - and focused instead on treating his suppliers and owner-operators fairly, reasoning that if they could thrive, so would he. No other fast-food chain did that.

Of course, as an autobio, Kroc focuses far more on the bright side of what he has done. He does not ask himself any hard questions and comes off, not surprisingly, as distrusting of the motives of his critics as well as the legitimate concerns of many intellectuals and political activists. While open-minded, we see, he was myopically focused on refining his business model and hence unaware of his impact on the wider society.

Moreover, except for some quotes and quirky details, the business issues are also covered better in McDonald's Behind the Arches, by John F. Love. But then, both are authorised versions of the McDonald's view. The reader will need to look elsewhere for more thoughtful critiques.

Recommended. The curious reader can get a lot from this book.
Track athlete, Harvard man. He went to NYC for a trip and found himself blinded by the light, he thought there must be a way to cut down all the glare without diminishing the brilliance of the spectacle. His opportunity for a fortune. Rich parents

He leaves harvard and moves to NYC He does not have a lab so he seeks into Columbia university were he meets his future wife.

He returns to Harvard and the allow him to conduct his studies with his wife there.With one semester left he withdrawls and starts his business with family capital they patent a process for reducing glare. Kodak buys light filters for its cameras, American Optical signs him up to manufacture glare-free sunglasses. The barons of wallstreet give him a million more in capital on terms that he can do what he wants as long as he is in business for ten years.

Prospers for WW2 optical equitment for military.

was an American scientist and inventor,[3] best known as the co-founder of the Polaroid Corporation. Among other things, he invented inexpensive filters for polarizing light, a practical system of in-camera instant photography, and his retinex theory of color vision. His Polaroid instant camera, which went on sale in late 1948, made it possible for a picture to be taken and developed in 60 seconds or less.

In 1932, he established the Land-Wheelwright Laboratories together with his Harvard physics instructor, George Wheelwright, to commercialize his polarizing technology. Wheelwright came from a family of financial means and agreed to fund the company. After a few early successes developing polarizing filters for sunglasses and photographic filters, Land obtained funding from a series of Wall Street investors for further expansion.

The company was renamed the Polaroid Corporation in 1937.

Land further developed and produced the sheet polarizers under the Polaroid trademark. Although the initial major application was for sunglasses and scientific work, it quickly found many additional applications: for color animation in the Wurlitzer 850 Peacock jukebox of 1942, for glasses in full-color stereoscopic (3-D) movies, to control brightness of light through a window, a necessary component of all LCDs, and many more. During World War II, he worked on military tasks, which included developing dark-adaptation goggles, target finders, the first passively guided smart bombs, and a special stereoscopic viewing system called the Vectograph which revealed camouflaged enemy positions in aerial photography.

A little more than three years later, on February 21, 1947, Land demonstrated an instant camera and associated film to the Optical Society of America.[7] Called the Land Camera, it was in commercial sale less than two years later. Polaroid originally manufactured sixty units of this first camera. Fifty-seven were put up for sale at the Jordan Marsh department store in Boston before the 1948 Christmas holiday. Polaroid marketers incorrectly guessed that the camera and film would remain in stock long enough to manufacture a second run based on customer demand. All fifty-seven cameras and all of the film were sold on the first day of demonstrations.

During his time at Polaroid, Land was notorious for his marathon research sessions. When Land conceived of an idea, he would experiment and brainstorm until the problem was solved with no breaks of any kind. He needed to have food brought to him and to be reminded to eat.[6] He once wore the same clothes for eighteen consecutive days while solving problems with the commercial production of polarizing film.[6] As the Polaroid company grew, Land had teams of assistants working in shifts at his side. As one team wore out, the next team was brought in to continue the work.

Elkan Blout, a close colleague of Edwin Land at Polaroid, wrote: "What was Land like? Knowing him was a unique experience. He was a true visionary; he saw things differently from other people, which is what led him to the idea of instant photography. He was a brilliant, driven man who did not spare himself and who enjoyed working with equally driven people."[8]

Contributions to photo intelligence[edit]

Beginning in the early years of the Cold War, Dr. Land played a major role in the development of photographic reconnaissance and intelligence gathering efforts. Projects included: the Genetrix balloon borne cameras, the U-2 program, Corona and Samos photographic satellites, and the Manned Orbiting Laboratory. He was a frequent advisor to President Dwight D. Eisenhower on photographic reconnaissance matters.[9]
and his brother, Maurice James "Mac" McDonald (November 26, 1902 - December 11, 1971) were early American fast food pioneers, who established the first McDonald's restaurant at 1398 North E Street and West 14th Street in San Bernardino, California (at

34.1255°N 117.2946°W) in 1940.[1]The McDonald brothers began franchising their successful restaurant chain in 1953, beginning in Phoenix, Arizona with Neil Fox.[1] The brothers' goal was to make one million dollars before they were fifty. At first, they only franchised the system, rather than the name and atmosphere of their restaurant. Later, the brothers started franchising the entire concept.





The McDonald's Museum, Des Plaines, Illinois in the style of an original McDonald's.
Franchised McDonald's Restaurants were built to a standard design, created by Fontana, California architect Stanley Clark Meston and featuring Richard's suggestion of the Golden Arches. In the early days, there were two arches—one on each side of the building. The arches were lined with pink neon that flashed sequentially and, when seen at an angle, formed the letter "M" for McDonald's.

The second franchised restaurant was opened at 10207 Lakewood Blvd. at Florence Ave. in Downey, California (at

33.9471°N 118.1182°W), the same year. As of 2012, the Downey restaurant remains the oldest operating McDonald's franchise.[3] Additional franchises were granted for stores in Azusa, Pomona and Alhambra, California, in 1954.

In 1954, Ray Kroc became inspired by the evident financial success of the brothers' concept, immediately grasping the restaurants' enormous potential. He partnered with the brothers, and within a few years turned their small idea into the huge franchise that would become the McDonald's Corporation.[4] The franchiser took 1.9 percent of the gross sales, of which the McDonald brothers got 0.5 percent.[4]

Kroc became frustrated with the brothers' desire to maintain only a small number of restaurants. In 1961, he purchased the company from the brothers for $2.7 million.[4]

Legacy[edit]
is an American businessman and philanthropist. The former President and CEO of Dell Inc., in 2006 Rollins was named by London's CBR as the 9th Most Influential person in the Enterprise IT sector.[1]

Rollins was born and raised in Utah and met his wife Debra while attending Brigham Young University (BYU).[2] While at BYU, Rollins earned a bachelors in Humanities and Civil Engineering in 1983 and an MBA a year later.[3] Before joining Dell in April 1996, Rollins was vice president and partner of Bain & Company where he specialized in strategies and management for high technology and consumer product clients. He helped develop strategies that propelled Dell into a commanding position in the direct selling of computer systems in the United States.[2]

Rollins and his wife have four children and seven grandchildren.[2]

Rollins became the chairman of the American Enterprise Institute's Board of Trustees on January 1, 2009.Rollins worked at Dell for over a decade in various positions, including Senior VP of Corporate Strategy (1996), president of Dell Americas (1996-2001) overseeing operations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Latin America, COO (2001-2004), president (2001-2007), and CEO (2004-2007).[3] During the last four quarters of his leadership, the company employed approximately 50,000 workers worldwide and reported revenues of $45.4 billion.[2]

While at Dell, Rollins oversaw company plans to spend more on staff training and customer services, and sales increased $14.2 billion—up 6% year on year with a net income of $762 million. He also announced that Dell would add support for AMD chips. In 2006, Forbes magazine listed Rollins as the 18th highest compensated CEO in the world at $39.31 million for achieving a 9% decline in stock performance during his tenure with a stock performance that was 81 percent that of the S&P 500.[4] He also oversaw amongst one of the largest layoffs that Dell had until then (2006-2007) of 8000 people worldwide. [5] There was resentment at his below-par decisions and execution, which could have contributed to his removal from Dell. Rollins was fired from Dell in January, 2007.[6]

Upon leaving Dell in 2007, Rollins was paid $48.5 million in cash related to expired stock options.[7]
Polaroid is an American business that has passed through several corporations and, as of 2015, is a brand licensor to companies that distribute consumer electronics and eyewear. It is best known for its Polaroid instant film and cameras.

The original company was founded in 1937 by Edwin H. Land, to exploit the use of its Polaroid polarizing polymer.[1]:3 Land ran the company until 1981. Its peak employment was 21,000 in 1978, and its peak revenue was $3 billion in 1991.[2] The Polaroid business passed through bankruptcy twice in the 2000s.

Polaroid's initial (dominant) market was in polarized sunglasses — spawned from Edwin H. Land's self-guided research in light polarization. Land, having completed his freshman year at Harvard University, left to pursue this market, resulting in Polaroid's birth. Land later returned to Harvard in continuing his research further.[citation needed]

Polaroid developed an instant movie system, Polavision, based on the Dufaycolor process. The product arrived on the market when videotape-based systems were rapidly gaining popularity. As a result, Polavision was unsuccessful and most of the manufactured products were sold off as a job lot — at great cost to the company. The underlying technology of Polavision was later improved for use in the Polachrome instant slide film system.[citation needed]

The company also was one of the early manufacturers of digital cameras, with the PDC-2000 in 1996;[3] however, they failed to capture a large market share in that segment.

They also made 35 mm and multi format scanners, such as Polaroid SpiritScan 4000 35 mm scanner[4] (the first scanner with a 4000 DPI CCD) in 1999, and the Polaroid PrintScan 120 in 2000. The scanners received mixed reviews and saw heavy competition from Nikon and Minolta products. The entire line was discontinued when Polaroid entered bankruptcy in 2001.[citation needed]

On October 11, 2001, Polaroid Corporation filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Almost all the company's assets (including the "Polaroid" name itself — synonymous with instant photographs) were sold to a subsidiary of Bank One. They went on to form a new company, which also operates under the name "Polaroid Corporation".[5] It stopped making Polaroid cameras in 2007 and discontinued the sale of Polaroid film after 2009 to the dismay of loyal consumers.[6][7]

The renamed "old" Polaroid now exists solely as an administrative shell.[8] Polaroid's bankruptcy is widely attributed to the failure of senior management — unable to anticipate the impact of digital cameras on its film business.[9] This type of managerial failure is also known as the success trap.[citation needed]

On December 18, 2008, the post-reorganization Polaroid Corp. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Minnesota. The bankruptcy filing came shortly after the criminal investigation of its parent company, Petters Group Worldwide, and the parent company founder, Tom Petters.[10]

On January 5, 2010, Polaroid appointed Lady Gaga as "Creative Director" for the company.[11] A press release stated that she would be the "new face" of Polaroid.[12]

Since March 2010, instant film materials for vintage Polaroid cameras have again become available on the market, developed and manufactured by a group called The Impossible Project, at the former Polaroid production plant in Enschede, Netherlands.[13][14
Eastman Kodak Company, commonly known as Kodak, is an American technology company that concentrates on imaging products, with its historic basis on photography. The company is headquartered in Rochester, New York, United States and incorporated in New Jersey.[6] It was founded by George Eastman in 1888.

Kodak provides packaging, functional printing, graphic communications and professional services for businesses around the world. Its main business segments are Digital Printing & Enterprise and Graphics, Entertainment & Commercial Films.[7][8] It is best known for photographic film products. During most of the 20th century Kodak held a dominant position in photographic film. The company's ubiquity was such that its tagline "Kodak moment" entered the common lexicon to describe a personal event that demanded to be recorded for posterity.[9]

Kodak began to struggle financially in the late 1990s as a result of the decline in sales of photographic film and its slowness in transitioning to digital photography, despite having invented the core technology used in current digital cameras.[10] As part of a turnaround strategy, Kodak focused on digital photography and digital printing and attempted to generate revenues through aggressive patent litigation.[11][12] In January 2012, Kodak filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.[13][14][15] In February 2012, Kodak announced that it would cease making digital cameras, pocket video cameras and digital picture frames and focus on the corporate digital imaging market.[16] In August 2012, Kodak announced the intention to sell its photographic film (excluding motion picture film), commercial scanners and kiosk operations as a measure to emerge from bankruptcy.[17]

In January 2013, the Court approved financing for Kodak to emerge from bankruptcy by mid-2013.[18] Kodak sold many of its patents for approximately $525,000,000 to a group of companies (including Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Samsung, Adobe Systems and HTC) under the name Intellectual Ventures and RPX Corporation.[19] On September 3, 2013, the company emerged from bankruptcy having shed its large legacy liabilities and exited several businesses.[20] Personalized Imaging and Document Imaging are now part of Kodak Alaris, a separate company owned by the U.K.-based Kodak Pension Plan.[21][22] On March 12, 2014, it announced that the Board of Directors had elected Jeffrey J. Clarke as Chief Executive Officer and a member of its Board of Directors.[23][24]
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., doing business as Walmart /ˈwɔːlmɑrt/, is an American multinational retail corporation that operates a chain of hypermarkets, discount department stores and grocery stores. Headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas, United States, the company was founded by Sam Walton in 1962 and incorporated on October 31, 1969. As of November 30, 2015, it has a total of 11,598 stores in 28 countries, under a total of 65 banners.[7] The company operates under the Walmart name in the United States and Canada. It operates as Walmart de México y Centroamérica in Mexico, as Asda in the United Kingdom, as Seiyu in Japan, and as Best Price in India. It has wholly owned operations in Argentina, Brazil, and Canada. It also owns and operates the Sam's Club retail warehouses.[1][8]

Walmart is the world's largest company by revenue, according to the Fortune Global 500 list in 2014, as well as the biggest private employer in the world with 2.2 million employees.[who?] Walmart is a family-owned business, as the company is controlled by the Walton family. Sam Walton's heirs own over 50 percent of Walmart through their holding company, Walton Enterprises, and through their individual holdings.[9] It is also one of the world's most valuable companies by market value,[10] and is also the largest grocery retailer in the U.S. In 2009, it generated 51 percent of its US$258 billion (equivalent to $285 billion in 2015) sales in the U.S. from its grocery business.[11]

The company was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1972. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the company rose from a regional to a national giant. By 1988, Walmart was the most profitable retailer in the U.S.[12] and by October 1989, it had become the largest in terms of revenue.[13] Geographically limited to the South and lower Midwest up to the mid 1980s, by the early 1990s the company's presence spanned from coast to coast — Sam's Club opened in New Jersey in November 1989 and the first California outlet opened in Lancaster in July 1990. A Walmart in York, Pennsylvania opened in October 1990, bringing the main store to the Northeast.[14]

Walmart's investments outside North America have seen mixed results: its operations in the United Kingdom, South America, and China are highly successful, whereas ventures in Germany and South Korea failed.

Walmart's reputation is for "low prices", compared with Target's for selling "cheap chic" and Costco's for offering low-price, limited-selection "retail treasure hunts", where "one's shopping cart could contain a $50,000 diamond ring resting on top of a 64-ounce vat of mayonnaise".[15]
Dell Inc. is an American privately owned multinational computer technology company based in Round Rock, Texas, United States, that develops, sells, repairs, and supports computers and related products and services. Eponymously named after its founder, Michael Dell, the company is one of the largest technological corporations in the world, employing more than 103,300 people worldwide.[3]

Dell sells personal computers (PCs), servers, data storage devices, network switches, software, computer peripherals, HDTVs, cameras, printers, MP3 players, and electronics built by other manufacturers. The company is well known for its innovations in supply chain management and electronic commerce, particularly its direct-sales model and its "build-to-order" or "configure to order" approach to manufacturing—delivering individual PCs configured to customer specifications.[4][5] Dell was a pure hardware vendor for much of its existence, but with the acquisition in 2009 of Perot Systems, Dell entered the market for IT services. The company has since made additional acquisitions in storage and networking systems, with the aim of expanding their portfolio from offering computers only to delivering complete solutions for enterprise customers.[6][7]

Dell was listed at number 51 in the Fortune 500 list, until 2014.[8] After going private in 2013, the newly confidential nature of its financial information prevents the company from being ranked by Fortune. In 2014 it was the third largest PC vendor in the world after Lenovo and HP.[9] Dell is currently the #1 shipper of PC monitors in the world.[10] Dell is the sixth largest company in Texas by total revenue, according to Fortune magazine.[11] It is the second largest non-oil company in Texas - behind AT&T - and the largest company in the Greater Austin area.[12] It was a publicly traded company (NASDAQ: DELL), as well as a component of the NASDAQ-100 and S&P 500, until it was taken private in a leveraged buyout which closed on October 30, 2013.
is an American privately owned multinational computer technology company based in Round Rock, Texas, United States, that develops, sells, repairs, and supports computers and related products and services. Eponymously named after its founder, Michael Dell, the company is one of the largest technological corporations in the world, employing more than 103,300 people worldwide.[3]

Dell sells personal computers (PCs), servers, data storage devices, network switches, software, computer peripherals, HDTVs, cameras, printers, MP3 players, and electronics built by other manufacturers. The company is well known for its innovations in supply chain management and electronic commerce, particularly its direct-sales model and its "build-to-order" or "configure to order" approach to manufacturing—delivering individual PCs configured to customer specifications.[4][5] Dell was a pure hardware vendor for much of its existence, but with the acquisition in 2009 of Perot Systems, Dell entered the market for IT services. The company has since made additional acquisitions in storage and networking systems, with the aim of expanding their portfolio from offering computers only to delivering complete solutions for enterprise customers.[6][7]

Dell was listed at number 51 in the Fortune 500 list, until 2014.[8] After going private in 2013, the newly confidential nature of its financial information prevents the company from being ranked by Fortune. In 2014 it was the third largest PC vendor in the world after Lenovo and HP.[9] Dell is currently the #1 shipper of PC monitors in the world.[10] Dell is the sixth largest company in Texas by total revenue, according to Fortune magazine.[11] It is the second largest non-oil company in Texas - behind AT&T - and the largest company in the Greater Austin area.[12] It was a publicly traded company (NASDAQ: DELL), as well as a component of the NASDAQ-100 and S&P 500, until it was taken private in a leveraged buyout which closed on October 30, 2013.
ThomasJWatsonJr.jpg
Circa 1980



United States Ambassador to the Soviet Union

In office
October 29, 1979 - January 15, 1981

President
Jimmy Carter

Preceded by
Malcolm Toon

Succeeded by
Arthur A. Hartman

Personal details


Born
Thomas John Watson Jr.
January 14, 1914
Dayton, Ohio U.S.

Died
December 31, 1993 (aged 79)
Greenwich, Connecticut U.S.

Spouse(s)
Olive Cawley

Children
Thomas John Watson III
Jeanette Watson
Olive F. Watson
Lucinda Watson
Susan Watson
Helen Watson

Parents
Thomas J. Watson
Jeanette M. Kittredge

Education
Brown University

Occupation
Business

Thomas John Watson Jr. (January 14, 1914 - December 31, 1993) was an American businessman, political figure, and philanthropist. He was the 2nd president of IBM (1952-1971), the 11th national president of the Boy Scouts of America (1964-1968), and the 16th United States Ambassador to the Soviet Union (1979-1981). He received many honors during his lifetime, including being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. Watson was called "the greatest capitalist in history" and one of "100 most influential people of the 20th century".[1]

IBM President[edit]

Watson became president of IBM in 1952 and was named as the company's CEO shortly before his father's death in 1956. Up to this time IBM was dedicated to electromechanical punched card systems for its commercial products. Watson, Sr. had repeatedly rejected electronic computers as overpriced and unreliable, except for one-of-a-kind projects such as the IBM SSEC. Tom Jr. took the company in a new direction, hiring electrical engineers by the hundreds and putting them to work designing mainframe computers. Many of IBM's technical experts also did not think computer products were practical, since there were only about a dozen computers in the entire world at the time. Even the supporters of the new technology underestimated the potential. Cuthbert Hurd, brought in from the Atomic Energy Commission's Oak Ridge National Laboratory to determine if there was a market, predicted "... he could find customers for as many as thirty machines."[2]:216

Even so, until the late 1950s the custom-built US Air Force SAGE computerized tracking system accounted for more than half of IBM's computer sales. The company made little profit on these sales but, as Tom Jr. said "It enabled us to build highly automated factories ahead of anybody else, and to train thousands of new workers in electronics."[citation needed]

Tom Jr.'s decision was justified; in the longer term it redirected IBM to its later position dominating the computer market. Even in the short term it paid off; for revenues more than tripled in six years, from $214.9 million in 1950 to $734.3 million in 1956. This dramatic rate of growth almost matched the wartime years; a better than 30% compound growth rate that Tom Jr. maintained for much of the twenty years of his leadership of IBM. It was a record even better than that of his father.

Despite the presence of his son, Thomas Sr. kept a firm grip on the reins until 1955. Tom Jr. described the position of his father as "He wanted to make me head of IBM, but he didn't like sharing the limelight."[2]:182

Tom Jr. took over effective control in a dramatic moment; though the formal handover took place a few months later. The occasion was signing the Consent Decree which was offered by the government after its latest anti-trust investigation. Tom Jr. saw that the Consent Decree, which sought to strip IBM of half its card-making capacity, was largely irrelevant since the future was in computers not cards. There was another condition: IBM had to sell machines outright as well as lease them. This had repercussions in the late 1960s when leasing companies recognized the financing loophole that it created.

Behind this decision was another: spending more on research and development. IBM was only spending 3% on research and development when other high technology companies were spending between 6% and 9%. Tom Jr. learned the lesson, and thereafter — at least until the 1990s (when, even then, Gerstner only dropped it to 6%) — IBM consistently spent 9%. By comparison, the equivalent figure for Japan was 5.1%, though its high technology companies exceeded even the IBM level, with the 1983 spending for Canon being 14.6% and that for NEC being 13.0%.

This training program was to take him, over the next five years, through many of IBM's operating groups. Tom Jr. believed his most important influence was Albert Lynn Williams, a CPA, who became president of IBM in 1961. Although the initiative, and as such much of the credit for the birth of the information revolution, must go to Tom Jr., considerable courage was also displayed by his then aging father who, despite his long commitment to internal funding, backed his son to the hilt; reportedly with the words "It is harder to keep a business great than it is to build it."[citation needed]

Research and development[edit]

Of the two brothers, Tom Jr. made the most obvious impact on IBM as a whole, while Dick ran the international business.

Prior to his time IBM had primarily emphasized the sales organization, with a reasonable range of products. Tom Jr., however, promoted the research and development structure that is essential to modern high technology industry. It was under his supervision that the laboratories were built up, to a point where, in the late 1980s, they contained Nobel Prize winners; and to the point where the research and development function could stand on an equal footing with marketing, true to his original objective.

When Tom Jr. started this process in 1949, IBM was reportedly two years behind its main competitor, UNIVAC. In the 1980s, it was arguably up to a decade ahead of anyone else; though its problems since seem to have destroyed much of its strength in this area. This was not so obvious to the outside world, because the new products still followed the conservative release pattern started in the 1920s (and pursued very profitably until recently). Despite the hype about 'pre-releasing' products which did not yet exist, only when the market was sufficiently developed, and a launch was financially justifiable, did IBM commit its marketing resources. In the labs though, they were able to plan speculatively for the future decades in advance, independent and untroubled by commercial demands. It was an ideal environment for an industrial researcher, and highly productive for IBM.

The first result of this was the IBM 7030 Stretch program to develop a transistorized "supercomputer" a hundred times more powerful than the vacuum tube 704. It failed to meet its price and performance goals, at a reported cost of $20 million. Although embarrassing in terms of the rumors that drifted to the outside world, it would not however be the last IBM computer series to be terminated and the cost was small in IBM's terms; and the experience gained was invaluable. One of IBM's strengths was that, until the 1980s, it really did learn from experience. Most other companies are only too anxious to bury deep their embarrassing mistakes; and never use the invaluable information they have gained. IBM however made very good use of these particularly hard earned lessons.

The three computer families that eventually emerged from 1958 onwards comprised the IBM 7070 and IBM 7090 for large government business, the IBM 1620 for the scientific community and the IBM 1401 for commercial use. Despite the fact that many observers believed that Tom Jr was frittering away the resources his father had built up, these new ranges were remarkably successful, doubling IBM's sales once more over the six years from 1958 ($1.17 billion) to 1964 ($2.31 billion), maintaining IBM's dramatic growth rate virtually undiminished at approaching 30% compound. The effect was that IBM had become independent of outside funding.

In the early 1960s he oversaw the IBM System/360 project, which produced an entire line of computers that ran the same software and used the same peripherals. Since the 360 line was incompatible with IBM's previous products, it represented an enormous risk for the company. Despite delays in shipment, the products were well-received following their launch in 1964 and what Fortune magazine called "IBM's $5 Billion Gamble," in the end, paid off.
was an American businessman. He served as the chairman and CEO of International Business Machines (IBM)[2] and oversaw the company's growth into an international force from 1914 to 1956. Watson developed IBM's management style and corporate culture from John Henry Patterson's training at NCR.[3] He turned the company into a highly-effective selling organization, based largely on punched card tabulating machines. A leading self-made industrialist,[4] he was one of the richest men of his time and was called the world's greatest salesman when he died in 1956

Charles Ranlett Flint who had engineered the consolidation forming the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company (CTR) found it difficult to manage. He hired Watson as General Manager on May 1, 1914 when the subsidiary companies had about 1,300 employees. Eleven months later he was made President when court cases relating to his time at NCR were resolved.[9] Within four years revenues had been doubled to $9 million.[10] In 1924, he renamed the company International Business Machines. Watson built IBM into such a dominant company that the federal government filed a civil antitrust suit against it in 1952. IBM owned and leased to its customers more than 90 percent of all tabulating machines in the United States at the time. When Watson died in 1956, IBM's revenues were $897 million, and the company had 72,500 employees.[11]

Throughout his life, Watson maintained a deep interest in international relations, from both a diplomatic and a business perspective. He was known as President Roosevelt's unofficial Ambassador in New York and often entertained foreign statesmen. In 1937, he was elected president of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and at that year's biennial congress in Berlin stated the conference keynote to be "World Peace Through World Trade".[12] That phrase became the slogan of both the ICC and IBM.[13] Watson's merger of diplomacy and business was not always lauded. During the 1930s, IBM's German subsidiary was its most profitable foreign operation, and a 2001 book, IBM and the Holocaust by Edwin Black, argues that Watson's pursuit of profit led him to personally approve and spearhead IBM's strategic technological relationship with the Third Reich.[14] In particular, critics point to the coveted Order of the German Eagle medal that Watson received at the Berlin ICC meeting in 1937, as evidence that he was being honored for the help that IBM's German subsidiary Dehomag (Deutsche Hollerith-Maschinen Gesellschaft mbH) and its punch card machines provided the Nazi regime, particularly in the tabulation of census data (i.e. location of Jews). Another study of the matter, however, argues that Watson believed, perhaps naively, that the medal was in recognition of his years of labor on behalf of global commerce and international peace.[6] Watson soon began second-guessing himself for accepting the medal, and eventually returned the medal to the German government in June 1940. German Chancellor Adolf Hitler was furious at the slight, and he declared that Watson would never step on German-controlled soil again. As anticipated, Dehomag went into revolt, its management decrying Watson's behavior and openly wondering whether or not it would be best if the firm separated from its American owner. The debate ended when Germany declared war on the United States in December 1941, and the German shareholders took custody of the Dehomag operation.[6] But during World War II, IBM subsidiaries in occupied Europe never stopped delivery of punch cards to Dehomag, and documents uncovered show that senior executives at IBM world headquarters in New York took great pains to maintain legal authority over Dehomag's operations and assets through the personal intervention of IBM managers in neutral Switzerland, directed via personal communications and private letters. Whether this was with or without Watson's direct involvement is unclear.[14]

During this same period, IBM became more deeply involved in the war effort for the U.S., focusing on producing large quantities of data processing equipment for the military and experimenting with analog computers. Watson, Sr. also developed the "1% doctrine" for war profits which mandated that IBM receive no more than 1% profit from the sales of military equipment to U.S. Government.[15] Watson was one of the few CEOs to develop such a policy.

In 1941, Watson received the third highest salary and compensation package in the U.S., $517,221, on which he paid 69% in tax.[16]

Watson had a personal interest in the progress of the war. His eldest son, Thomas J. Watson Jr., joined the United States Army Air Corps where he became a bomber pilot. But he was soon hand-picked to become the assistant and personal pilot for General Follet Bradley, who was in charge of all Lend-Lease equipment supplied to the Soviet Union from the United States. Watson, Sr.'s youngest son, Arthur K. Watson, also joined the military during the conflict.

Watson worked with local leaders to create a college in the Binghamton area, where IBM was founded and had major plants. In 1946, IBM provided land and funding for Triple Cities College, an extension of Syracuse University. Later it became known as Harpur College, and eventually evolved into Binghamton University. Its School of Engineering and Applied Sciences is named the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, although the IBM plant in the neighboring city of Endicott has since downsized drastically.

After World War II, Watson began work to further the extent of IBM's influence abroad and in 1949 he created the IBM World Trade Corporation in order to oversee IBM's foreign business.[17]

Watson was named chairman emeritus of IBM in 1956. A month before his death, Watson handed over the reins of the company to his oldest son, Thomas J. Watson, Jr.