Thomas Watson, Jr.

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Watson, ca 1980

Thomas Watson, Jr. (January 14, 1914December 31, 1993) was an American businessman, political figure, and philanthropist and the 2nd president of IBM (1952–1971).


  • Thinking things through is hard work and it sometimes seems safer to follow the crowd. That blind adherence to such group thinking is, in the long run, far more dangerous than independently thinking things through
  • Here's a reminder on accepting Christmas gifts from vendors: don't.
    • Watson Jr. (Dec 8, 1959) cited in: IBM (1988) Thirty years of management briefings, 1958-1988. p. 13.
  • I firmly believe that any organization, in order to survive and achieve success, must have a sound set of beliefs on which it premises all its policies and actions.
    Next I believe that the most important single factor in corporate success is faithful adherence to those beliefs.
    And, finally I believe if an organization is to meet the challenge of a changing world, it must be prepared to change everything about itself except those beliefs as it moves through corporate life.
    Basic philosophy, spirit and drive of an organization have far more to do with its relative achievements than do technological or economic resources, organizational structure, innovation and timing...
    • Watson, Jr. (1962) as cited in: Heather Clark, John Chandler, Jim Barry (1994) Organisation and Identities: : Text and Readings in Organizational Behaviour. p. 355.
  • Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of 'crackpot' than the stigma of conformity.
    • Attributed to Watson Jr. in: "Stand up and be counted" in: Year: encyclopedia news annual (1965). p. 280.
  • If you stand up and be counted, from time to time you may get yourself knocked down. But remember this: A man flattened by an opponent can get up again. A man flattened by conformity stays down for good.
    • Watson, Jr. cited in: Joseph Mancuso (1975) Managing technology products. p. 160.

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