Thursday, June 6, 2013

"Good Design Is Good Business." - Thomas J. Watson

Pure wisdom delivered through a legendary quote from the visionary IBM Founder, Thomas J. Watson, "Good Design is Good Business" is an often cited business and design mantra.

100x100 An inspiring film on a century of achievements that have defined and designed our world

One hundred people each present the IBM achievement recorded in the year they were born. The chronology flows from the oldest person to the youngest, offering more than just a whirlwind history of IBM, it's virtually a chronicle of modern civilization, a record of breakthrough innovations and technological developments over 100 years - (1911 - 2011) - and the prospects for the future.

Paul Rand’s popular Eye-Bee-M poster, a rebus was created in 1981 in support of IBM’s motto, THINK.

Update - July 11: Just found a good one. 7 Rules on Design and Designers. Had to share...


  1. Amar, I thought you might like a different perspective on Thomas J. Watson Sr. for those that might think, with the IBM dress code of his day, that he applied the same philosophy to people. He did not. In one of my favorite management briefs by him (Number 4-60: June 10, 1960) under the title "Object Lesson: The Man Who Grew a Beard." And no, this is not a Dr. Seuss child's book but a very serious note about a man that was fired at IBM because he grew a beard. After researching the situation he wrote the following, "The corporate design program applies to things like products, buildings, publications and interior decor. Not to people."

    I believe it is important to be sure and show both sides of the Watsons and their leadership and I hope this helps.

    Peter E. Greulich
    Author, Speaker and Publisher
    MBI Concepts Corporation

  2. Hi Peter,

    Thanks for sharing your perspective. Your MBI blog shows you are a long-time fan of IBM and the leadership team.

    I read your note on Yahoo! here:- mentioning the Dr. Seuss-style note asking IBMers to lighten up.

    Well... those were the '60s. Even advertising 'Mad Men' wore suits back then. Forget beards, I recently met an IBMer CTO with long, flowing curly hair (which he wore well and suited him to boot. Very scientist :-) Times have changed and Big Blue's keeping pace.

    All that said, one thing still remains: "Good Design is Good Business" is an immortal quote. And it makes business sense.