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December 26, 2006


One of the My Way blogs that I read is 2-Speed by Will Herman.  Today he had a post called Think - A Good Reminder To Do Just That.  I tried to leave a comment, but for some reason I couldn't get it or an email to go through, so I thought I'd just share the story here.

Will tells the story of IBM's "Think" slogan and he has a photo of the very same Think plaque that I have on my desk at work. 

Update 1 The link to Will's photo stopped working, so I'll have to take a photo of mine and post it.  Until then you can click here to see a great webpage of Think plaques and IBM collectables at IBM-Collectables.com.

My dad always had this plaque on his desk at home when I was growing up, and now I have the desk and the plaque in my office.  Reading Will's post reminded me of one of my early lessons in customer service.

My dad was an IBM'er and I have that exact Think plaque on my desk now.  I grew up being reminded to "think" and I learned a lot about integrity and customer service by watching my dad.  When my dad died, he had a printer in pieces at home that he was repairing for a customer.  This was back in the 70s when printers were big mechanical things.  It was long out of support and there was no one else locally who knew anything about it.

Since my mom had helped him disassemble and clean the printer, she offered to put it back together for the customer.  I believe she could have done it too, but the customer insisted that the printer be allowed to pass.  Even though my dad had just died, my mom wanted to keep the commitment that he made, which was to take care of his customer.  I would never expect a Gold Systems person to be that customer-focused, but then IBM didn't either - that was just my dad's nature, and my mom's too.  They believed in keeping their commitments and helping others. 

December 26, 2006 in Entrepreneurship | Permalink


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IBM's "THINK" plaque has reached iconic status, and that's OK - especially in cases like yours or mine, where that plaque is linked to fond family memories.

What is interesting, though, is that what you are mentioning about your parents has nothing to do with THINK, but everything to do with DO....

Posted by: Luca Fabbri | Dec 28, 2006 9:03:22 AM

I'm always reminded of this story when I see an ad for a ThinkPad.

Posted by: Paul Lapan | Dec 28, 2006 10:26:53 PM

Unfortunately people don't seem to believe in keeping commitments these days.

My kids sometimes don't want to do things that they have committed to and I have to remind them of their commitment. They don't understand why I do some of the things I do and I have to explain that since I made a commitment (or it's my job/duty) then I "have" to do it. It doesnt matter if I "don't want to" or if "I don't feel like it" - I simply "have to do it".

I also don't think people take integrity seriously anymore.

Posted by: Marshall Harrison - the gotspeech guy | Dec 29, 2006 8:43:28 AM


Sorry for the difficulty with my blog. I am in the midst of making a big transition and have ignored the inner workings of th ebeast for the last month or so. Thanks for the reference and sharing your memories.

I saw your post when perusing some unread feeds this evening. I wish I had grown up in a family where thinking was at least discussed. I'm afraid that I haven't had the benefit of such environmental factors ;-)

Keep up the great posts. I love your blog.

Posted by: Will Herman | Jan 29, 2007 8:49:19 PM