Thomas J. Watston, Sr., fully Thomas John Watson, Sr.

Thomas J.
Watston, Sr., fully Thomas John Watson, Sr.

American Founder, CEO and Chairman of International Business Machines (IBM)

Author Quotes

I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.

Less than three weeks before his death, in one of Watson's last public statements about his company, he observed: It's this family spirit-combined with vision and faith-that has been responsible, perhaps more than anything else, for IBM's success.

Sin hath the devil for its father, shame for its companion, and death for its wages

The toughest thing about the power of trust is that it's very difficult to build and very easy to destroy. The essence of trust building is to emphasize the similarities between you and the customer.

We progress because we are willing to change.

A man is known by the company he keeps. A company is known by the men it keeps.

If a man goes to work in the right spirit, work is no hardship.

Let them fear death who do not fear sin

So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because that's where you will find success. On the far side of failure.

The way to succeed is to double your error rate.

What synchronism means to a clock, a convention means to our organization; it enables those of us who are behind to catch up and get in step with the others.

A manager is an assistant to his men.

If joining IBM was commitment, not employment, and the company engaged in something more than business, it had a right to demand of its men unconditional loyalty, Watson believed.

Life isn't all beer and skittles, but beer and skittles, or something better of the same sort, must form a good part of every Englishman's education.

Solve it. Solve it quickly, solve it right or wrong. If you solve it wrong, it will come back and slap you in the face, and then you can solve it right. Lying dead in the water and doing nothing is a comfortable alternative because it is without risk, but it is an absolutely fatal way to manage a business.

The young man requires wisdom as well as knowledge.

What we do with our leisure time has considerable bearing on what we accomplish during our working hours, and very largely determines the degree of our success, Young men who, like yourselves, devote a predetermined amount of their leisure hours to study and to serious thinking, are the men who are going to progress far and fast. The business leaders of tomorrow will be the young men of today-men like you who are preparing now for the great future which lies ahead. You may view the future with confidence, knowing that from the youth of today will emerge the leaders of tomorrow.

Advertising has illuminated the path of progress. . . . In building up desire, advertising has spurred new endeavors. It is their creative work, their dynamic presentations of products, their ability to teach and educate which have made each of us desire better things. And in the fulfillment of our desires, we have reached for and attained higher pinnacles in living standards and a clearer conception of the values of life itself.

If we do not take advantage of our opportunities, it is our own fault.

Life itself is a matter of salesmanship.

Speech celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge, May 24, 1933: It was courage, faith, endurance and a dogged determination to surmount all obstacles that built this bridge.

There is more real need for the pioneering spirit today than ever before.

What we need in this country today is more courage and more belief in the things that we have.

All the problems of the world could be settled easily if men were only willing to think. The trouble is that men very often resort to all sorts of devices in order not to think, because thinking is such hard work.

If you are loyal you are successful, ruminated the company paper at one time. All useful work is raised to the plane of art when love for the task-loyalty-is fused with the effort. Loyalty is the great lubricant of life. It saves the wear and tear of making daily decisions as to what is best to do. The man who is loyal to his work is not wrung nor perplexed by doubts, he sticks to the ship, and if the ship founders he goes down like a hero with colors flying at the masthead and the band playing.

Author Picture
First Name
Thomas J.
Last Name
Watston, Sr., fully Thomas John Watson, Sr.
Birth Date
Death Date

American Founder, CEO and Chairman of International Business Machines (IBM)