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I wonder what it is like to work for a business that has been around for 100 years? IBM turned 100 and Fortune wrote up a great article on ‘Lessons from IBMs 100th anniversary’

The five lessons are:

  1. At the start, convince the troops you’re a company of destiny, even if that seems crazy.
  2. Build a cult-like culture that people either buy into, or run away from.
  3. Bet the company once in a while.
  4. Make people talk about you.
  5. Hand off to a successor who is better than you.
Megan, Jemma and Naomi... launching 'Grow' at RedBalloon

Imagine if you did not know that the five lessons were from IBM – could you swap in Google or Apple’s name instead and come up with the same five lessons? I guess that was the question that Jim Collins tackled in his books ‘Good to Great’ and ‘Built to Last’.

As we put the final touches to the plan for the next year: it is a timely reminder of what is important, and where we spend our energy.

As of FY12 I have rescinded my CEO title and handed it to my colleague of eight years Jemma Fastnedge. So I know that I have definitely delivered on point number five. I will of course remain as Founder and Director at RedBalloon. As we move into the next decade – on our journey towards our centenary.

Reader Interactions


  1. I think for any company to succeed, they should follow these inspiring and impressive lessons from IBM. And to your new endeavor Naomi, congratulations and good luck!

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