Archives for category: hellomonday

I remember way back when IBM Connect was called Lotusphere, there would be two big surprises that everyone waited for…who was going to be the guest opening general session speaker, and at which theme park the big party was going to be. Nowadays the guest opening general session speaker is still a surprise, but there are other guest speakers that are advertised to be there, probably to lure people to the conference. Too bad I found out too late that Scott Adams was going to be there this year! It would have been cool to meet him and just chat for a bit about the Hello, Monday comics that I had done for IBM. Luckily for me, I found someone on the inside to help me deliver a present from me on behalf of all IBMers (at least the IBMers that aren’t embarrassed by my work :P).

I hope he sees it! Here it is below:

Panel 1: IBMer: Man! Today's Dilbert is spot on again! Scott Adams must have someone working on the inside. I just know it! Panel 2: Watson: Here is all the internal IBM data I collected for this month, as requested. Scott Adams: Excellent, Watson. Excellent! Panel 3: Watson: Now when will I be featured in your comic strip, as you promised? Scott Adams: Uh...soon...yeah...oops! gotta go! Panel 4: Watson analysis. 96%: He fooled you. 11%: He is in a hurry. 1%: Toronto. Watson: Hmm...

It’s natural that people who have a common background tend to stick together and form an immediate bond even if they just met. This is definitely the case with anyone who has ever worked at IBM. The culture at IBM is…special.

howtotellibmersOk, for the most part, people don’t wear suits much, but I do remember there being a dress code at one IBM site where I used to work and there were specific articles of clothing that were allowed/not allowed. Jeans were not allowed. Culottes were ok. I’m serious, the email listed “culottes”.

I want to share an IBM comic that didn’t make the cut but still makes me chuckle. I know that people can take this the wrong way, but I’m not saying that IBMers are bad parents. I know I’m guilty of giving my kid a third bowl of Lucky Charms so she will sit quietly while I’m on a conference call. But there is something funny about taking being an IBMer to the extreme and letting the behaviors leak back into your home life.

So your parent is an IBMer

Let me explain the last panel for non-IBMers in the audience. At the beginning of the year in IBM, everyone writes down a set of goals they plan on achieving by the end of the year, called “Personal Business Commitments”. At the end of the year, managers get together to determine how employees measured up and whether people achieved/met their goals, exceeded their goals, or did not meet their goals.┬áThe rating you receive at the end of the year determines how much your bonus is, if you get one at all. Poor little Timmy in the last panel didn’t meet his “Personal Family Commitment” goals. Maybe he wasn’t realistic about his goals. Maybe he didn’t do a good job letting his parents know what he was doing throughout the year to help the family out. Or maybe it’s because he’s relatively new to the team. ­čśŤ Well, at least he didn’t get a sack of coal.


This really hit hard for me the other day when I tweeted about a 16-person conference call I was on and someone I didn’t really know replied and wondered if we worked at the same company. Turns out we did, unfortunately. I’m not saying it’s like this all the time where I work. In fact, you might relate to this even if you worked elsewhere…in corporate America.┬áThe sad thing is that I could probably continue to poke fun at conference calls every month and people will still giggle about it.


I never realized how easy it is to patent something, until I started working for IBM. There is a really great program there that rewards employees for patents filed and articles published. It benefits the company because it can keep continuing its reigning championship of “Most Patents Awarded to a Company Ever”, and it benefits you because you get money. Every so often I realize how ridiculous patents really are and I am seriously amazed by the things that actually get patented. I can’t tell if lawyers reading these ideas are seriously interested and believe in the system, or if they laugh all the way to the USPTO with your application.

IBM recently announced its patent leadership is now up to its 20th year in a row. There is an IBM Tumblr with some posts dedicated to the inventive spirit of the company, and you can go there to learn more about it. Or you can stick around here and read my latest IBM internal comic poking fun of some patents that may or may not exist.

Patents IBM may or may not actually be working on

In any job, there is usually “the way” that things are done. You can’t usually get around it, it’s just how people do things. Sometimes it’s not worth worrying about because you’ve already conditioned yourself to take the pain of extra steps (like before I found out how to escape from text editing mode in Photoshop (Ctrl-Enter or Cmd-Enter)). But sometimes….sometimes…you just wish there were an easier way.

Last month’s internal IBM comic I did was a salt-on-the-wounds knock on what really happens in hour-long conference calls. Even if you don’t work at IBM, I’m pretty sure you’ve encountered similar things.┬áHere’s a video that’s proof of that:┬áDavid Grady: The Conference Call

anatomy of a conference call

Anatomy of a Conference Call

IBM has some “Transition to” programs to help employees prepare for the next phases of their lives or career, like the “Transition to Teaching” program, which helps employees become teachers by funding the education needed to gain credentials. IBM recently announced a special program called “Transition to Retirement”┬áthat would guarantee employment through 2013 for eligible employees, and they would get paid 70% of their normal salary for working 60% of their hours.

Of course not everyone has the luxury of retiring a whole year early, but if faced with that decision, I hope I will have saved enough today so I don’t have to think about what to do. Hopefully my kids will be ok with my moving in with them, you know, just in case.

This month’s internal comic strip is about new and upcoming “transition to” programs that I wish were available…


Ah, golf. Whenever I see golf, I’m reminded of lazy Sunday afternoons when I was a kid and there was absolutely NOTHING on tv. Nothing. But sometimes golf gets interesting. Like that whole Tiger Woods drama. Or the recent news regarding the US Masters Golf Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club and the female CEO of a certain technology company.

IBM is a sponsor of many sporting events, so it’s not a big surprise that it sponsors the Masters. The golf club that hosts the annual event is a mens-only club (that allows women as guests). As a gesture of appreciation to its corporate sponsors, the club extends membership to executives of those sponsoring companies, and it just happens that in the past, all those executives have been men. But not this year! This year, we have Ginni Rometty, the first female CEO of IBM. The question on everyone’s minds is…will she get a green jacket?

The tournament was held earlier this month, and while Ginni was seen at the Master’s without a green jacket, no one knows what the official word is. There hasn’t been a peep from Augusta or IBM on the subject, and I’m sure everyone is just keeping quiet about it until the next big golf scandal comes along. There have been many blogs that mention sexism and how IBM should pull its sponsorship if they don’t bestow a green jacket upon Ginni. The only words I have to say about that are: WHO CARES?

This isn’t about sexism. This isn’t about being politically correct. This is just the media blowing something completely out of proportion because it has the potential to make one or two parties look bad. That’s just what the media does, isn’t it? If I were Ginni, I would respond to that Tech Crunch blog post above and say, “If women can’t be strong enough to be excluded from places that don’t really matter to them, then we’re never going to get past any of these gender gap issues. Being a strong woman and a role model to young girls doesn’t mean pushing your way into every place a man has been first, it means working hard and being smart and pushing your way to places that no one has ever been.”

I’d like to think that this is how Ginni responded to the Augusta chairman’s membership invitation and honorary green jacket:

Strong, confident, and smart. And a woman.

Internally at the company I work for, we use our own product called Connections for doing social business. What exactly IS social business? Don’t let people catch you saying that Connections is “Facebook for the enterprise”…because I often describe it to non-corporate people that way and it is just frowned upon. Basically, it’s…well…it’s LIKE “Facebook for the enterprise”. Not sure how else to describe it so normal people will understand.

One of the big deals recently inside the company is that our new CEO began using Connections internally to communicate, through blogs and postings on employees’ profile boards. Somehow being CEO of a giant company is like being a famous celebrity…people are afraid to communicate directly with you, but everyone wants to follow your updates and see what you’re doing. But what would it be like if being an upper level executive didn’t mean you were like a celebrity? Part of being a social business is breaking down those hierarchical barriers and bringing everyone to the same table. In theory, of course.


I got my first hate mail today about this comic. It was described as “the lamest and biggest waste of time” in the person’s entire career. I know “haters gonna hate”, but I just think it’s funny that people think they are somehow forced to look at things on the internet and blame others for subjecting them to it.

Here is the comic I did for IBM’s internal news website for February. We are celebrating Watson this month so the editors thought it would be appropriate for me to do a Watson-themed comic. And of course, nothing is funnier than inanimate objects having thoughts and a voice! Although, Watson already technically has a voice (and although it’s a male voice, Watson is technically an “it”).



(I had another more cheeky version of this, if you click on the image above, you can see it. Very subtle change, let me know if you spot it!)