profile-chief-dreamer

Hello, my name is John Patrick. I was Vice President of Internet Technology at IBM Corporation from 1995 to 2001. I “e-tired” from IBM at the end of 2001 — after 35 years. I say “e-tired” because it is really more like “phase 2” – I still feel very connected to IBM and the Internet technology industry. I have been quite busy since e-tirement began engaging in public speaking, writing, board service, some charitable work, and trying to stay in good shape and get in some motorcycling. I am very grateful for the few decades at IBM. Here is what my colleague and friend for nearly a decade, Irving Wladawsky-Berger, had to say….

“Perhaps it is because English is my second language that I have always found it so fascinating. To a much greater extent than in Spanish, English words can have a multiplicity of meanings. Take “retire.” It can mean to abdicate, withdraw, retreat (The army retired from the field), or pay off (The government retired its thirty-year bonds). It can even mean to go to sleep. (The children retired for the night). And people who are “retiring” are shy, reserved, bashful, and unassuming.

How then to describe John Patrick’s status at the end of the year? Certainly, no one would characterize John as bashful or unassuming. And, knowing him, I could never believe he has ever retreated or withdrawn from anything. But on December 31, 2001, after 35 years with IBM, John will indeed assume a new status. He will step down from his responsibilities as vice president, Internet Technology, making a transition to another stage in his career as he founds a new company called Attitude LLC. At the same time, he will continue his relationship with IBM as an advisor, carrying on his many industry relationships on behalf of IBM and speaking out to customers and the industry about his vision of the Internet. So we will still see John around IBM, sharing the invaluable insights that have meant so much to us for so long.

Understandably, most people identify John with the Internet and Internet technology and, more recently, he has become known as an evangelist for the next generation of the Internet. But over a long career, he has made many, many contributions to our business. For example, he pioneered the leasing business when he was with the IBM Credit Corporation. And, as vice president for marketing in personal systems, he helped create one of the most successful brands in the business — ThinkPad.

Still, John will no doubt be remembered best for forging one of the finest teams of Internet technologists in the IT industry and leading them in some of the most productive, cutting-edge, push-the-envelope efforts the Company has seen (a team that will continue reporting to the Technology and Strategy organization). From ibm.com and w3.ibm.com to alphaWorks, BluePages and VP Buddy, forerunner of IBM’s Sametime technology, John’s leadership and vision have truly made a difference to IBM employees and customers. That leadership and vision, presented so articulately in his new book “Net Attitude,” are universally recognized in the industry. They are why he is a founding member of the Global Internet Project, a founding member of the World Wide Web Consortium at MIT, and a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Mention John Patrick’s name and work to anyone knowledgeable about the Internet and their reaction will be one of admiration and respect. Mention it to anyone in the know at IBM and they too will react with admiration and respect, but also with pride at being associated with so keen an intellect and perceptive a vision of what technology can do for a company, its people and its customers.

I know you will join me in wishing John every good fortune in this new stage of his career.”

Irving Wladawsky-Berger
Vice President, Technology and Strategy
Server Group
IBM Corporation

My heartfelt thanks to Irving for his thoughtful letter. I feel very fortunate to have had the job I had when working with him over the past decade.