Thomas J. Watson built a worldwide industry during his 42 years at IBM, where he served as CEO and Chairman. He was a pioneer in the development of accounting and computing equipment used today by business, government, science and industry.
Starting out as a bookkeeper at age 18, he went on to sell sewing machines and musical instruments, and then joined National Cash Register (NCR) as a salesman.
Eventually Watson worked his way up to general sales manager at NCR, inspiring the sales force with the motto, “THINK,” which later became a widely known symbol of IBM.
Watson developed IBM’s management style and corporate culture from his training at NCR, and turned the company into a highly-effective selling organization. To the surprise of many, one of his most famous sayings was, “If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.”