||Like it? PLEASE +1 it! Thanks!|
In His Fatherís Shoes: Watson Jr. Takes Over IBM
In his first move as President of IBM, Watson Jr. decided to take what Fortune Magazine would later call the companyís ď$5 Billion GambleĒ. He hired a team of electrical engineers and set them to work designing mainframe computers. Since they would be incompatible with all of IBMís previous products, the risk was obvious. The launch of the first line of the System/360 project in 1964 was delayed but in the end well received. Watson Jr.ís first gamble had paid off.
Watson Jr. had not only given the company a new direction, he had positioned it for long-term success and in the process, had tripled its revenues. Between 1950 and 1956, IBMís revenues grew from $214.9 million to $734.3 million. He had silenced both his critics and everyone within the company who had opposed his decision to invest in computers Ė which was almost everyone.
Despite his sonís initial success, Watson Sr. was reluctant to completely abandon the company he had worked so hard to establish. ďHe wanted to make me head of IBM, but he didnít like sharing the limelight,Ē wrote Watson Jr. in his autobiography. He had to consistently struggle to have his decisions listened to.
Another such disputed decision was Watson Jr.ís inclination towards Research and Development. When he became president, IBM was spending just 3% on R&D, compared to its competitors who were all spending between 6% and 9%. Watson Jr. decided to boost IBMís R&D spending to 9% in order to keep its competitive edge. He recognized that in the modern high technology industry, nothing was more essential to a companyís success than investing in the future. By the 1980s, IBM was perhaps almost a decade ahead of most of its competitors.
Watson Jr. also spent much time focusing on the organizational structure of the company. ďWe had a superb sales organization but lacked expert management organization in almost everything else,Ē he said. Thus, Watson Jr. created five major divisions Ė Field Engineering, Federal Systems, Systems Manufacturing, Components Manufacturing and Research Ė in an attempt to decentralize the company. By the end of Watson Jr.ís reign, IBM had become a properly organized entity, more equipped to meet the changing nature of the industry.
In 1986, Fortune Magazine called Watson Jr. the most successful capitalist in history. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Johnson and appointed as Ambassador to the Soviet Union by President Carter. In the meantime, Watson Jr. continued to pilot and sail, exploring almost the entire Pacific by boat and becoming the first private citizen in 1986 to be allowed by Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev to fly all throughout the Soviet Union.
In 1971, Watson Jr. left IBM after suffering a heart attack. He passed away on New Yearís Eve 1993, leaving behind a legacy that would not only rival his fatherís but most other entrepreneurs since.
Related ArticlesThe Black Sheep of the Family: Thomas Watson Jr.ís Early Years
From Peddling to Profits: How Thomas Watson Achieved Success
Lesson #1: Failure Is Your Friend On the Road To Success
Lesson #2: Always Choose Action Over Inaction
Lesson #3: Follow The Path Of The Unsafe
Lesson #4: Back Your Company With Brain Power
Lesson #5: Strong Management Is The Backbone Of A Strong Company
Lesson #2: Donít Try to Tame a Wild Duck
Lesson #1: Make Your Company a Great Place to Work
ďThe Most Successful Capitalist Who Ever LivedĒ: How Watson Jr. Rose to the Top
The Computer Revolution: IBM Grows Up
Lesson #4: Never Stop Running Scared
Lesson #3: Customer Satisfaction Means Your Satisfaction
Lesson #5: Make Integrity an Integral Part of Your Company
Computer Titan: The Early Years of Thomas Watson
Beat the Path for Your Customers
Lesson #4: Keep Designing
The Managers Most Useful Tool
Lesson #2: Recognize a Need
Happy Independence Day
Home > Famous-Entrepreneurs > Thomas Watson Jr. > In His Fathers Shoes Watson Jr Takes Over IBM > Google +
Free PDF Download
Thomas Watson Jr. Quotes
By Thomas Watson Jr.
Related Forum PostsBuilding credit
5 Entrepreneur's success stories
Re: The Best Method for Online Marketing
Getting links from the giants
Share this article. Fund someone's dream.
Share this post and you'll help support entrepreneurs in Africa through our partnership with Kiva. Over $50,000 raised and counting - Please keep sharing! Learn more.
By: Evan Carmichael
By: Evan Carmichael
||Like this page? PLEASE +1 it!|