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Issue 062: IBM

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Issue 062: IBM

Welcome to the sixty-second issue of De Programmatica Ipsum, about IBM. In this edition, we ask our readers to think about the impact of huge corporations such as IBM in our industry; in the Library section, we review some corporate biographies of IBM by James Cortada, Emerson Pugh, and Louis V. Gerstner, Jr; and in our Vidéothèque section, we watch a psychedelic corporate movie by Jim Henson.


Among the oldest companies still active we can find: a few Japanese corporations founded between 500 and 800 AD, a restaurant in Austria, a French winery, an Italian bell maker, and quite a few hotels scattered all over the Northern Hemisphere. Through a combination of opportunism, luck, corruption, monopoly, perseverance, talent, and ingenuity, these businesses have been able to survive the inevitable chaos of the markets where they operate; in some incredible cases, for longer than a whole millennium.

Jim Henson

There is so much content about IBM online that it became quite complicated to pick an entry for the Vidéothèque section this month. We are talking about a company with monthly marketing budgets bigger in absolute numbers than the average yearly payroll of a small or medium enterprise; and with more than 100 years of history, there are quite a few stories to be told about it.

James Cortada, Emerson Pugh, & Louis Gerstner Jr.

It turns out that IBM has an internal policy forbidding employees to write books about the company while they are employed by it. This is the major common point among the three authors of this month's Library article: they were all IBMers at some point, and they all wrote their books after leaving.

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