Top 14 IBM achievements in the last 100 years

IBM turned 100 earlier this month – a significant achievement for any company, but for one in the constantly shifting sands that is the technology industry, it is particularly notable.

As part of the celebrations, they released the video above outlining 100 of their achievements during that time. The video is beautifully executed and it is a great IBM marketing tool. It is easy to see that the video has a strong sales message towards the end (which tbh, is a tad unnecessary) but the earlier content is definitely worthy of comment.

Some of the highlights for me were:

  1. In 1914, 76 years before the US Disabilities Act, IBM hired its first disabled employee
  2. In 1930 IBM receives its first patent for a traffic signal timing system
  3. In 1932 IBM started education programs for employees and customers
  4. In 1934 IBM introduces group life insurance (in the midst of the Great Depression)
  5. In 1935 IBM opens the first professional training school for women
  6. In 1941, IBM hired a legally blind employee, psychologist Dr. Michael Supa, to make its products more usable by the visually impaired and to assist in the hiring of 181 people with disabilities over the following two years
  7. In 1942 IBM launches a disabled employee training program
  8. In 1943 Ruth Leach Amonette is elected IBM’s first female Vice President
  9. In 1946 IBM hires T.J. Laster, their first black sales representative, 18 years before the Civil Rights Act of 1964
  10. In 1953 IBM chairman Thomas Watson issues the company’s first Equal Opportunity Policy letter
  11. In 1967 IBM employee Benoit Mandelbrot ask’s How long is the Coast of Britain and a new branch of mathematics (fractal geometry) is born
  12. In 1981 IBM introduces the first IBM PC
  13. In 2004 IBM creates the World Community Grid – a public grid computing project to tackle scientific research projects that benefit humanity
  14. And in 2008-9 IBM creates the Smarter Planet and Smarter Cities programs.

Other highlights include inventions of the ATM, the barcode, and DRAM; the fact that at least 3 IBM’ers have won Nobel Prizes; and IBM’s Deep Blue beating world champion chess player Gary Kasparov.

It is easy to criticise this video by saying it is nothing but a sales pitch – but the strong sales message is only really in the final two minutes of the video (from 11:14-13:15) – if you stop the video at that point, you miss nothing and get see for yourself the list of their achievements.

These are just my favourites, what are yours?