Into the Blue Galaxy


Operation Blue Galaxy
Shifts in the market, like mobile and cloud, and new delivery and pricing models, have increased the power of individual practitioners. They know the technology, and influence purchasing decisions like never before.  To reach them, IBM has launched ‘Blue Galaxy’, an exciting cross-IBM initiative to show the universe of software developers, architects, administrators, and other practitioners that IBM is their rocket ship to success.

What is Blue Galaxy?
It’s a project, it’s a community, it’s a movement within and beyond IBM.  The best part of IBM is the people — the technical experts and practitioners across IBM.  The Blue Galaxy mission is enabling and unleashing the knowledge, passion, and enthusiasm of the IBM technical community, across all brands and disciplines, and from across the globe, to reach out and engage the world’s practitioners.  Whether it be via events, content, or social media networks, the goal is simple – develop relationships, learn from our audience, and show our expertise.

It’s not about messaging
It’s about the power of connections, with a small c.  It’s people connecting with people via social media: IBMers, IBM Alumni, IBM Business Partners, clients, prospective clients, and the merely curious. Our goal is to help you to build those connections in social networks, growing your digital eminence, sharing knowledge, and becoming part of the larger conversation that is already occurring.

It’s about you
It’s about sharing your voice, your thoughts, your content, your work, and your ideas with other developers, inside and outside of IBM.  Developers trust the opinions of other developers.  By connecting with developers, you have the ability to shape their opinions and thoughts about IBM products and services.  You are in charge of your digital social presence, and the difference it makes for both your personal goals and the goals of IBM. Growing your digital eminence, sharing your knowledge, expanding your network both inside and outside of IBM…. the actions you take now will have long-lasting positive effects on your career.

iconNoCommunityPhoto155.pngSo, how do you get started with Blue Galaxy?
Here are some ways that all Greater IBMers can get involved:

  1. Create or contribute to a conversation:
    You can write a blog post, create a presentation or a video that showcases your thought leadership and technical expertise — the topics of focus are IBM’s technical leadership in Agile, Big Data, Cloud Computing, Mobile Development, and Security.  Even if you can’t create new material, you can comment on an article, tweet (microblog) about it to promote cool content you like and strengthen existing conversations that are highlighting IBM technical leadership in the market.
  2. Connect and interact
    Connect, share, and collaborate on the developerWorks community where you can contribute to forums, download free product trials and share what you like about them with your networks.  You may also want to check out related communities (Agile Transformation) and Service Management Connect.
  3. Meet and follow Blue Galaxy stars
    Some of our technical experts have been on their social journeys for a while. They are our social role models, folks engaging both internally and externally, with dedicated followings. Some are blogging on official IBM blogs and communities, others are contributing through their individual blogs or in other organizations’ communities.  You can find and follow them on Twitter here.
  4. Try Blue Galaxy featured downloads and give feedback
    Some of product trial downloads have been featured by Blue Galaxy because we are especially interested in feedback on these.  Check them out and leave your feedback in the comments section on that post.
  5. Become a Blue Galaxy star
    There are several ways to become a Blue Galaxy star.  First, if you undertake any of the missions noted above, tell us about them – share a comment below telling us what you did.  Since stars are innovative thought leaders who have distinguished themselves in one or more social channels, you could be selected to be featured as a Blue Galaxy star.  Here are some other opportunities:


Additional resources:


–Posted by Julie Yamamoto, Program Manager, The Greater IBM Connection

Watson Leadership Lesson 4: Unleashing Potential Through Education

IBM Schoolhouse, Endicott NY, 1930s

IBM Schoolhouse, Endicott NY, 1930s

IBM’s legendary President Thomas J. Watson, Sr., was a leader of unbridled optimism. “This business of ours has a future,” he noted in 1926, just 12 years after he joined IBM. “It has a past that we are all proud of, but it has a future that will extend beyond my lifetime and beyond your lifetime.”

Much of that optimism was based on his faith in the knowledge, abilities, and character of IBM employees. “Very few persons throughout the country have seen our factory, our School, our Laboratory, or our World Headquarters Building, and the only way they have to judge the character of IBM is by the character of those who represent us.” But he recognized that IBMers were not born – they were made. To that end, he believed that one of his chief responsibilities as IBM’s leader was to unleash the collective potential of his workforce. One of the ways he did that was by placing great emphasis on employee development.

Watson was fond of saying, “There is no saturation point in education,” and he backed those words by building an educational infrastructure that was second to none. IBM’s tradition of investing in employee development dates to 1916 with the creation of the IBM Education Program. Over the next two decades the program would expand to include management education, volunteer study clubs, training for the disabled, and the construction of an IBM Schoolhouse in Endicott, New York in 1933. So deeply ingrained in IBM culture was the notion of personal development, that starting in the 1920s, IBMers began forming after-hour study clubs to increase their knowledge of their professions and the company’s business.

Watson’s emphasis on employee education was not the benevolence of a paternalistic leader – he saw clear business value in this investment in his workforce. “When a man stops studying, stops acquiring knowledge about the business or profession in which he is engaged, he doesn’t stand still,” Watson said. “He starts going backwards.” And backsliding was something every IBMer had to avoid … even Watson himself. “I found out years ago that because I gave so much of my time to my own business I was getting into a rut. So I decided to get out and see what other people were doing, to broaden my mind on business in general and see what I could bring back and apply to my own business.”

IBMers took Watson’s edicts to heart. Between 1938 and 1952, 40% of Endicott employees were enrolled in classes, covering 33 subjects. By 1954, IBM Education worldwide was running more than 50,000 students (internal and external) through its programs. In 1961 alone, 17,000 employees participated in voluntary study courses.

“In this day and age, education is the one Master Key we can depend on to open the door to future progress, “ Watson said in 1930. “The future of the International Business Machines Corporation, and of every person connected with the Company, depends not upon the amount of time we spend in study; but upon what we learn and upon our ability to transfer our knowledge to newcomers in the business so that they may keep step with the pace of IBM—a pace which is constantly increasing!” In the 80 years since, little has changed.


Paul Lasewicz, IBM Corporate Archivist

Paul Lasewicz, IBM Corporate Archivist


The January 2013 theme for The Greater IBM Connection is ”leadership”, and The Greater IBM Connection will be sharing various tips, tools, stories, and resources on this topic.

Kicking Off 2013 with The Greater IBM Connection

In this week’s issue:

  • It’s all about leadership

  • IBM Connect 2013 – You still have time to sign up

  • What’s new around The Greater IBM Connection


It’s all about leadership

In the last few weeks, you might have noticed that a lot of our stories, social media posts, tips, and resources have focused on one essential idea: leadership.

After all, the start of a new year is a great time for assessing your life and career and for making new commitments. If one of your goals is to become a better leader, then here are some of the recent posts at The Greater IBM Connection around our central theme, for inspiration.

What are YOUR favorite leadership tips or quotations? Share them with your fellow community members in the Comments.


IBM Connect 2013 – You still have time to sign up

Get Social. Do Business. IBM Connect 2013 is almost here. This large-scale annual event, January 27 – 31 in Orlando, combines the deep technical content that you’ve loved for 20 years with the learning you need to accelerate your move beyond social media to drive real business value with social and collaborative technologies. And there’s still time to register.

connect 2013

Why you need to Connect

At IBM Connect 2013, you’ll have opportunities for:

  • 1:1 executive connections
  • Peer to peer connections
  • Exchanging best practices
  • Networking and partnering

What’s in it for me?

You’ll leave IBM Connect with a clear path on how to go beyond social media and embrace social technologies to drive tangible business value and results. You’ll be ready to start using key technologies such as collaboration, portal, Web experiences, content management, analytics, process management, and commerce to go from simply ‘liking’ on social media to truly leading.

How to register:

Register for this event and identify yourself as an IBM alumnus – we’ll let you know about special alumni networking opportunities at and around this event. When registering, you’ll be asked how you heard about the conference. Select “Other”, and then in the open field, be sure to include the code IBMALUM13. That’s all there is to it.

Register now


Don’t miss this new Web lecture, From Liking to Leading(Note: may require a one-time sign-in)

In this brief video, learn more about what social business means to you and your business:


blogWhat’s new around The Greater IBM Connection

The beginning of the year can be especially busy, with catching up on work missed over the holidays, setting goals for the new year, keeping resolutions. In case you missed these, here’s a roundup of some of the most widely read stories on The Greater IBM Connection blog:

Anything you would like to read more about at The Greater IBM Connection? We always like to hear from you; let us know in the Comments.

IBM CEO Virginia Rometty Shares Her Leadership Philosophy

IBM CEO Virginia Rometty at Fortune's Most Powerful Woman Summit, October 2012 (Photo Credit:  Fortune)

IBM CEO Virginia Rometty at Fortune’s Most Powerful Woman Summit, October 2012 (Photo Credit: Business Insider)

IBM CEO Virginia Rometty shared her leadership philosophy at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit in October 2012.  In a world that is changing so quickly and a workforce that is very bright, the idea of strategic belief becomes more important than strategic planning.  She describes the concept like this:

“…in a nutshell, you know, clients would often say to me, ‘What’s your strategy?’  And I would say, ‘Ask me what I believe first, that’s a way more enduring answer.’ And in the world you and I live in now where everything’s changing so quickly, you can’t predict everything, and — and this is probably the most important “and” — and most of us have workforces that are very bright, very intelligent, that want to be engaged in a broad way. This idea of a strategic belief is saying that you can agree amongst the firm for the future, on some really big arcs of change, I would call them.”

Read the full story and watch the interview below:

(Business Insider, 2012) – Fortune’s Most Powerful Woman Shares Her Leadership Philosophy

(Video Credit:  Fortune Magazine YouTube Video Channel)



– Posted by Julie Yamamoto, Program Manager, The Greater IBM Connection



The January 2013 theme for The Greater IBM Connection is ”leadership”, and The Greater IBM Connection will be sharing various tips, tools, and resources on this topic.

IBM Senior Executives Share Perspectives on Leadership

Randy MacDonald, IBM Senior Vice President of Human Resources

Randy MacDonald, IBM Senior Vice President of Human Resources

As featured in IBM’s Global Careers newsletter, two IBM senior executives share their perspectives on leadership.  Randy MacDonald, IBM Senior Vice President of Human Resources, shared with Fortune magazine what it takes to be a leader at IBM, which includes the importance of business acumen, collaborative skills, and aspiration to create new things.  He includes emotional and intellectual stamina as being important leadership characteristics since being a business leader in the world today is 24/7.

Diane Gherson, IBM Vice President of Talent

Diane Gherson, IBM Vice President of Talent

In an article published by Chief Learning Officer Magazine on leadership development, Diane Gherson, IBM Vice President of Talent, weighed in with perspectives about IBM’s effort to create leaders who can lead with transparency.  That is, think outside their comfort zones, embrace diverse opinions, tap into capabilities from around the globe, and collaborate to get things done.  In today’s ambiguous business environment, it’s critical for leaders to be willing to try new things and help their teams do that too.

Read the full stories below:

–Posted by Julie Yamamoto, Program Manager, The Greater IBM Connection


The January 2013 theme for The Greater IBM Connection is ”leadership”, and The Greater IBM Connection will be sharing various tips, tools, and resources on this topic.

Watson Leadership Lesson 2 – Unbounded Helpfulness

Thomas J. Watson, Sr., IBM President, 1928

Thomas J. Watson, Sr., IBM President, 1928

IBM’s legendary leader Thomas J. Watson, Sr. has long been recognized as one of the world’s great businessmen. As IBM’s president from 1914 to 1952, one of his critical leadership objectives centered on creating a culture of collaboration. In a 1928 speech to employees, he said “I know it is not necessary for me even to suggest cooperation to you, because you know enough about this business to realize that the cooperation that exists throughout our organization is one of the things that have made it the institution it is today.”

For Watson, empowering the individual was key to creating a culture of collaboration. Rather than foster a directive, authoritarian managerial ethos at IBM, one that could restrict individual development, he created a culture of unbounded helpfulness that would free each and every employee to better reach their potential. ““A man, to be a success over other men, must always consider himself not as their boss but as their assistant. … We have no bosses; we do not need them. We could not get along unless we helped each other.”

This assistant ethos to Watson was a two-way street, with benefits for both the helper and the helpee. “Do not be afraid to help the man alongside of you. The best way to grow is to help somebody else grow, because you learn something when you do.” To drive the point home, he once took the unusual step of sending IBM’s sales managers into field to provide hands on assistance to the salesmen in their charge. While these managers were out of the office, Watson had their secretaries to fill in as ‘acting sales executives’. He advised these secretaries to keep their letters short, eliminate red tape, and use this development opportunity as a springboard to better jobs.

Watson very much included himself as one of those assistants. “Whenever you meet me, I want you to come up and talk to me about anything that is on your mind, and that goes for all the executives in the business,” he once said. “The best way for you to learn more about this business is to talk to people who have been in it longer than you.”

The principle of collaboration was one he strove to implement across the entire organization – not just vertically between workers, foremen, and upper levels of management, but horizontally between business units and geographies too. It was a cultural characteristic, he felt, that was one of the things that made IBM great. “All the success of the IBM is not due to me nor to any other man or small group of men,” he said. “It is due rather, to the fine support, cooperation, brain power, and ability in every department of this business.”


Paul Lasewicz, IBM Corporate Archivist

Paul Lasewicz, IBM Corporate Archivist


The January 2013 theme for The Greater IBM Connection is ”leadership”, and The Greater IBM Connection will be sharing various tips, tools, and resources on this topic.

10 Leadership Lessons From IBM Executive School

leadershiplessons(Forbes, March 2012) In 1955, Tom Watson Jr. gave Louis Mobley a blank check to create The IBM Executive School, and one of the first things he did was to hire a testing firm to identify the skills that make great leaders great.  The results were a bit astounding in that the only thing the great leaders seemed to have in common was that they had nothing in common.  What Mobley realized over time was that unlike supervisors and middle managers, what successful executives shared were not skills and knowledge but values and attitudes.   For example, great leaders thrive on ambiguity and blank sheets of paper and are secure and believe in themselves.  Here are the 10 Leadership Lessons that Mobley identified.

–Posted by Julie Yamamoto, Program Manager, The Greater IBM Connection


The January 2013 theme for The Greater IBM Connection is ”leadership”, and The Greater IBM Connection will be sharing various tips, tools, and resources on this topic.