Thomas Watson

By: Mandy Leonard

One of the world's largest computer companies, IBM, owes its original success to the vision of one man, Thomas Watson Jr. It was this man who understood that computers were the way of the future and successfully guided the company through the production of its first commercial machine.

Growing up, Watson was plagued with depression and self- doubt at the thought of filling his father's shoes as head of International Business Machines. His father is famous for a quote in 1943 that is smiled at today - "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers ..."!

Stil, after WWII Thomas Jr felt able to join the company and put his skills of shrewd foresight and planning to use rising quickly within the company. Never backing down from conflicts with his father and standing by his convictions meant that IBM became a dominating contender in the computer market. This shift in the company caused the revenue to more than triple in the first 6 years.

Watson maintained this level of growth over his 20 years leading IBM. After he stepped down, IBM has suffered ups and downs, but it has always been one of the world's most innovative and admired companies. IBM has stayed a market leader in a constantly evolving market, moving increasingly succesfully into very broad business services.