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Physics Thomas Watson - founder of IBM

In this article, we will not talk about one person, but about two great people at once, who, if it had not existed on earth, computers, quite possibly, would be completely different today. The names of these people are as follows: Thomas Watson Sr. and Thomas Watson Jr. are two legendary people who have made an indescribable contribution to the development of the computer industry. One of them created the company, the other made this company the most successful in the world, in the history of mankind. Thomas Watson Sr.

The beginning of a great journey

Thomas John Watson, Sr., was born in 1874 in rural New York. His parents were poor but hardworking descendants of Scottish emigrants who once settled these lands. After graduating from school, the young guy Thomas went to study as a teacher, but he soon realized that it was not him and dropped out of school. At that time, his family was having a hard time, and Watson had to go to work.
 He began his working career as a traveling salesman and unexpectedly, he realized that trading is his calling and his environment in which he feels comfortable. As it turned out in the end, he became a very successful person in this particular company, and thanks to this, Watson was rapidly climbing the career ladder. He worked for the American company National Cash Register. His job was that he had to travel around the American outback and sell all sorts of things necessary for Americans in everyday life, such as sewing machines, dishes and much more. After several months of such work, he was promoted to the seller of cash registers. Seeing what dizzying progress Thomas is making, the head of the company made him a personal assistant. The year was 1911.
At this post, Watson Sr. worked for 2 years, after which he was dismissed with a scandal due to non-compliance with the antitrust rule. Despite the fact that he worked in such a high position for only 2 years, during this time he learned how important it is to have a "clean"reputation with the company and how important it is when doing business.
A year later, in May 1914, Thomas Watson Sr. took over as head of a small company Computing Tabulating Recording, which 10 years later, at the initiative of Watson, was renamed International Business Machines (IBM). From 1914 until the end of his days, Thomas Watson Sr. devoted himself entirely to the management of this company.
In many ways, thanks to Watson Sr., IBM owes its achievements and success. No, not to say that in those days, IBM produced something that was not on the market, Watson just managed to build a perfectly working company. He was a brilliant manager and was able to create his own business culture. He knew how to motivate workers to be more productive. For these purposes, he created a system of accumulative incentive points for employees of the enterprise, unique at that time.
As a result, when World War II ended, IBM had an annual cash turnover of $140 million, incredible money for those times.

A little about personal life

While still an assistant to the head of the National Cash Register, Thomas met a girl, Janet Kittredge. They dated for 2 years, after which they decided to get married. On January 14, 1914, their first child was born, who was named after his father: Thomas Watson, Jr. The baby’s father then hardly even suspected that their first-born would replace him in the future at the company’s post and, moreover, lead IBM to even greater heights, or rather, to heavenly heights, unattainable at that time for other companies.
On June 19, 1956, Thomas Watson Sr. died. This man has been at the helm of his company for 41 years...

And what happened next?

Literally a few weeks before his death, Watson Sr. (as if anticipating), handed over the management of the company to his eldest son, Thomas Watson Jr. Although at that time the company was already very successful and brought in multimillion-dollar profits, it produced fairly simple accounting devices, and the success of the company was due to the genius of building a business invented by Watson Sr. The new head of the company understood that no matter how ingenious a business plan his company used, they would not last long in the production of such products and the company would inevitably decline if something was not changed. It was at that moment that Watson Jr. decided to refocus his company on the production of technology that had a future. At that time, not only IBM rushed to conquer the mysterious and alluring sphere of computers, as soon as the company decided to reorient itself purely to the production of computer equipment, they immediately had quite serious competitors in the face of such firms as RCA, HP and others. Despite the rather tough competition, IBM was still able to become a leader in this area in the United States and already in the 70s of the last century, it became almost a monopolist in the production of computers.
Thomas Watson Jr.
By the mid-1980s, IBM's monopoly had been shaken slightly by the introduction of laptops to the general public, but still, to this day, the "IBM standard"is overwhelming for nearly all computers in the world.
Becoming the head of the company, Watson Jr. immediately realized that the company should sell its products not to ordinary users, but exclusively to large firms for which accurate calculations are the key to success. His corporation began to sell its computers to banks, notaries, insurance companies, and other organizations that were willing to pay big money for new and ultra-precise equipment. In other words, Watson saw in computers a universal replacement for many devices (calculators, typewriters), without which the work of a large company would not be conceivable. He understood that it was for such devices that mass demand could appear, and he was not mistaken.

 Big expenses - huge profits

A complete reorientation of production required a fairly large financial investment by IBM management. Young minds were invited to the company: engineers, electronics specialists, marketing and management specialists, and many others. Watson began to be surrounded not by lazy employees sitting in their offices, but by young, active and purposeful people who always insisted on their point of view, could be rude to superiors, disobey orders and decrees, but Watson understood that it was precisely such personnel that was the key to his success. companies.
The head of the company did not strive for his factories to produce computers perfect in their parameters, it was enough for him to produce computers of an average price class and average power. It was important for him that his products be bought, however, nevertheless, he always demanded that the company always keep up with progress and that buyers, if necessary, could purchase the latest computer model, which had no analogues yet.
The company's shares in those days grew in price with great speed. Even ordinary employees of the company became very wealthy people and had salaries many times higher than the average American salary of that time. However, no matter how surprising it may sound, Watson himself never chased money and was never on the list of the richest people in America.
Thomas Watson, Jr., left a truly impressive mark on the development of the computer industry. More than once, IBM and its management in particular have been criticized for the wrong management policy, for monopolizing the market, and so on, but, in the end, it turned out that whatever one may say, the IBM management turned out to be right.

 IBM achievements under Watson Jr.

In general, Watson Jr. began to build a career at IBM back in 1937. However, in those days, only very optimistic minds, which was Watson, could talk about real machines that could really perform various tasks. Even then, he already saw that computer technology could conquer the whole world. And he was right. Moreover, he was sure that in the future he would become a successful businessman who would sell computers. And what do you think, it also turned out to be true, because in the heyday of IBM, the company held 90% of the entire computer market in America.
In those days when IBM flourished, it also happened that they invented truly revolutionary devices, such as a hard drive or, as it is called in another way, a hard drive, which is still in every PC to this day. As the legend says, when the final tests of the new device were carried out, one of the developers accidentally said: "It works as clearly as if it were a hard drive." In general, there were quite a few important innovations for the computer world at IBM, but perhaps the most important device that came out of the assembly line of this company is the IBM PC. This device appeared in the summer of 1981. The computer was based on an Intel processor, and the OS that was installed on those computers was DOS from Microsoft.
Today, the situation in IBM is not so smooth, due to some difficulties, the company's management had to sell all its production to Lenovo, and the company itself should focus on consulting. Of course, IBM today is no longer the player in the computer market that it was two decades ago, but, nevertheless, it is still a very eminent company that everyone reckons with.
The very same successive heads of the company: Thomas Watson and Thomas Watson, Jr., these are the most brilliant people who have represented before and are now of incredible importance for the computer world. It is thanks to them that we know computers for what they are, because it was IBM who came up with something that no one could come up with before.