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Working with Irving at IBM

John PatrickMy job as Chief Technology Officer for IBM’s Internet activities was definitely the most exciting and rewarding assignment of my IBM career. Some people called me the strategist, some called me a visionary, and some called me chief dreamer. I feel like I have been a very lucky person to get to work with Internet technology as my job because it is also my hobby! The best part of the job was that I got to work with a lot of very smart people — both inside and outside of IBM — and participate with key industry organizations such as the Internet Society, the World Wide Web Consortium, and the Global Internet Project.

The Internet Technology group, which I was fortunate to be the leader of, is involved in a number of very interesting projects. They have been responsible for developing and demonstrating leading edge IBM Internet technology in a highly visible fashion since 1995. Projects have included large, very complex web sites that broke new ground for IBM in scaleability For example, the Patent Database, which went live in 1996, made *very* large databases widely accessible on the Web. It has since been spun off to a company called Delphion. They also have done a lot of pioneering with distributed computing environments necessary to support sites like the Nagano Olympics, IBM’s corporate home page, and numerous other major event oriented sites. They have worked with people inside and outside of IBM to bring together IBM Research, IBM development labs, and business partners to invent, develop, integrate, and implement new and innovative technologies. They also started a virtual research laboratory on the web called alphaWorks which has since been closely aligned with IBM’s developerWorks site.

The Internet is a very important area for IBM, and it has been deploying its own technology and using many of its traditional strengths to make the Internet more useable by companies, organizations, and individuals. We call it e-business. The Internet is not a new thing in IBM. Actually, IBM has been involved with the Internet for over 20 years, and IBMers have contributed to many of the key technologies which have enabled the Internet to become so pervasive. In late Spring, 1994, a grassroots team within IBM began to pursue a vision called “Get connected” — with the goal of taking advantage of the computer power available inside IBM and on the Internet. The virtual team grew rapidly and now the company has virtually become an Internet company and has performed tens of thousands of engagements with customers helping them “Get connected” to their customers using the Internet.

I have had an opportunity to give many presentations about “The Future of the Internet” to IBMers, customers and to industry groups and this has enabled me to make many friends around the world. In the last few years my travels have included Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Seoul, Tokyo, Yamato, Calgary, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Moscow, London, Paris, Brussels, Frankfurt, Engelberg, Zurich, Milan, Caracas and many other cities around the world and in the United States. The feedback from people who visit my web site has been invaluable. A copy of my presentation materials are available to browse or download. Working on my Web site and interacting with people who visit it is a very rewarding hobby for me. I have learned a lot over the last decade and tried to share it through my book, Net Attitude, which was released in November 2001.

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