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buffdad

Joined: 9/1/96 Posts: 15178
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To understand why that is an issue is to understand the culture of IBM


I made a wrong turn (not a big deal) going to an appointment in Palo Alto (Menlo Park) a week ago (the 15th). I happened to get into Facebook Land when I was trying to make a U turn. Of course, I studied it a bit, for 2 minutes, but what I saw met my expectations. It was like disneyland.

People use blue bicycles to go from building top building on the campus. They are overwhelmingly young, and disproportionately asian. Lots of activity, just before lunch (10:30). I could see it all in just a few minutes. I saw a bike rack with 100 or more identical blue bikes, if you need one, grab one. Shuttles everywhere waiting for something.

The IBM success was dependent on the culture. Rochester Minn was very successful as a development site, because people worked long hours during the winter and were dedicated. The culture was largely based on people enjoying their jobs, enjoying the people around them, a question of very, very low anger about what they were doing.


IBM internal said RESPECT FOR THE INDIVIDUAL which meant if you disrespected ANY person (a good looking female, a black/asian etc person?) at ALL you were probably going to get fired THAT DAY. I saw that twice. If you drank on the job and were drunk after lunch, you probably got counselling.

The success of IBM had a LOT to do with the INTENSITY of the tasks to build and maintain the flagship system. It is VERY complex, and there aren't any systems that compete with it in terms of computing architecture today. The system is business oriented, and assumes a VERY high level of skill to even understand it. Experts only. When I went to get my degree at Cal Poly, anther guy and myself were the only two people to get a simple IBM system up and running as part of a systems class, over a three year period. It was called a "sysgen", what happening when Microsoft says "hit enter to load the new system". But the mainframe has NEVER been hacked.

I worked for almost a decade at the Santa Tersesa Lab south of San Jose. I had a great corner office, with a great view of the hills. I was happy.

Pride ran HIGH, and the issue reminds me of a "debate" withing the company about the time that "sharing" in a blog loke fashion became a reality. On the VM system (virtual machne) there was the equivalent of blogs, and like netbuffss, the debates were realtime and centered on topics. A VERY hot topic, and one point, came out of the upper technical echelons of research and software design. It had to do wit the fact that a study showed that the average high tech software developer at IBM was 8 times less productive than the eqiuvalent job in comparible software systems development. And the answer was LEGACY. IBM was ALWAYS backward compatible, and you MUST carry all the history of design forward WITHOUT error, and very high quality. That made for excruciating efforts, like when I spent three years working on System Managed Storage, a rewrite of the PDS (Partitioned data Set) code, with extensions. I was HUMBLED by the vast knowledge of the leaders of the program, who were awesome. I had made it to Advisory level in record time, so I was no slouch, and I work hard, but I could not pick up 10 years of experience overnight (three years!)

So the company was based on this computer system, which is STILL the backbone of MOST large business, in the back home office. It is secure. But development of new products for it other than a huge server are minimal.

So the people that grew up in that environment made GOOD money, not like the hotshots of today in silicon valley, but a good lifestyle. All over New York, Fishkill, Poughkeepsie, Endicott, White Plains, etc, San Jose, and a few other main places.

Add to this the nature of what learning is based on. Kids run machines in shoe factories because you cannot teach an older man (30 years old) in that culture. When I left and went from IBM internals (everything in IBM was internal, the were the world's LARGEST publisher at that time, just for manuals!) to the small computer world of the C language and Unix, I had hurdles, but I was successful. It was NOT easy. I do NOT learn new things much now, I am worn out.

THis is the Santa Teresa lab...

[Post edited by buffdad at 03/26/2018 12:35PM]

(In response to this post by cswilliam)

Posted: 03/26/2018 at 12:28PM



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IBM found to discriminate against over 40 employees -- Buff Fan for Life 03/25/2018 6:14PM
  I didn't realize you are an expert -- buffdad 03/25/2018 6:57PM
  I don’t think you are responding to the issue -- cswilliam 03/26/2018 12:55AM
  Can't tell from the article -- buffdad 03/26/2018 6:12PM
  Thanks CSW I was waiting for someone else to read it -- Buff Fan for Life 03/26/2018 08:59AM
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