portrait of Thomas J. Watson
From the IBM corporate archives (ca 1920s)

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Quotes of the Day for 17 February 2003 – Thomas J. Watson

Thomas John Watson was born at Cambell, New York on this day in 1874. He went to work for National Cash Register at Dayton, Ohio and was general sales manager at the time he left. He put together three office-equipment and time-keeping firms to form the Computing Tabulating Recording Company in 1914. Ten years later, the company took on the name International Business Machines. Although it was his son who really put the company into computers, the founder had invested in computer research as early as the thirties. It was the elder Watson who caused placards saying "THINK" to appear in offices, and was responsible for the boring, if reassuring, corporate look of IBM engineering, support, and salesmen.

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You will find an expanded profile, photo, additional biographical links, and all quotes from this author on the author's Notable Quotable page.

The quotes:

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

Don't make friends who are comfortable to be with. Make friends who will force you to lever yourself up.

If you want to achieve excellence, you can get there today. As of this second, quit doing less-than-excellent work.

If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.

Praising God is one of the highest and purest acts of religion. In prayer we act like men; in praise we act like angels.

Recently, I was asked if I was going to fire an employee who made a mistake that cost the company $600,000. No, I replied, I just spent $600,000 training him. Why would I want somebody to hire his experience?
     - All from Thomas John Watson, Sr, 1874 - 1956

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