IBM's Rometty Delivers in First Public Speech as CEO

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2013-03-08 Print this article Print

Marketing budgets are expected to grow about 8 percent in the next 12 months, which is two to three times that of IT budgets, and CMOs owned or influenced $148 billion in IT-related spending in 2012, Iwata said. That’s a lot of opportunity that IBM is targeting. Big Blue, however, is not going after that big piece of the pie on its own. I just spent time at the Adobe Summit, the company’s digital marketing conference, and the folks that brought you Flash and Photoshop are making a big play for those marketing dollars as well. And they have a different mix of skills and approach that is likely to appeal to some over others.

Although in her “speech” Rometty spelled out IBM’s approach, not just to marketing, but overall. “We are an enterprise company and that’s a choice,” she said. “We choose to work with enterprises, not consumers.”

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a proud Baltimorean, so I liked Palmisano – also a proud Baltimorean (just ask him). I can’t say that I knew him, nor would I claim anything more than having been born in the same neck of the woods. I wouldn’t begin to try to glom onto his world -- the man bought a crib up in Kennebunkport, Maine, next to the Bushes for goodness sake. But he also is the son of an auto mechanic. He went to Calvert Hall, a Catholic boys’ school known in Baltimore for its academics, culture and athletics. My son went to a competing school. So I know that mentality. I know where he came from. I know folks from his era and graduating class. My buddy Mike Curreri, an attorney turned tech CEO, graduated from Calvert Hall with Palmisano and remembers him as an all-around good guy with a quick laugh, a kind word and a brilliant smile. Hard work got him into The Johns Hopkins University, from which he graduated to become a salesman at IBM rather than a pro football player or professional saxophonist.

Palmisano counts among his friends numerous philanthropists, dignitaries and luminaries, including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, also a Johns Hopkins alum -- where the school of public health bears his name. Bloomberg’s philanthropy has helped my hometown. He recently gave his alma mater $350 million just because – this after already donating $120 million last year to help build the new Hopkins hospital. In total, Bloomberg has donated more than $1.1 billion to Johns Hopkins, a standout institution certainly in Baltimore, but also the world. That makes him the largest living donor to an educational institution in the history of America. He is like Carnegie, like Mellon, like Stanford.

So, yes, I could identify with Palmisano, a man who holds the respect of a Michael Bloomberg and countless others. I liked Palmisano because he was a living example of what you can become through hard work, diligence and the right opportunities. I could point to him and tell kids in B’more this can be you. He came up right here.


Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel