IBM Think sign
Release date(s)1911

"THINK" is a slogan associated with the American multinational technology company IBM.


The "THINK" slogan was first used by Thomas J. Watson in December 1911, while managing the sales and advertising departments at the National Cash Register Company.[1] At an uninspiring sales meeting, Watson interrupted, saying "The trouble with every one of us is that we don't think enough. We don't get paid for working with our feet — we get paid for working with our heads". Watson then wrote THINK on the easel.[2]

Asked later what he meant by the slogan, Watson replied, "By THINK I mean take everything into consideration. I refuse to make the sign more specific. If a man just sees THINK, he'll find out what I mean. We're not interested in a logic course."[3]

In 1914, Watson took the slogan with him to the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company (CTR) and its subsidiaries, all of which later became IBM.[4][5][6][7] International Time Recording, one of the subsidiaries, published a magazine for employees and customers, named Time, which, in 1935, IBM would rename to THINK.[8][9] IBM continues to use the slogan.[10] THINK is also an IBM trademark; IBM named its laptop computers ThinkPads and named a line of business-oriented desktop computers ThinkCentre.

Since 2018, IBM's main conference is called Think.[11]

The Apple slogan "Think different" which was first used in 1997 has been widely taken as a response to IBM's THINK.[12][13][14]

See also


  1. ^ Random House Webster's College Dictionary. Random House. 1999. p. 1237.slogan: a distinctive phrase or motto identified with a particular party, product, etc.
  2. ^ Belden, Thomas; Belden, Marva (1962). The Lengthening Shadow: The Life of Thomas J. Watson. Little, Brown and Company. pp. 157–8.
  3. ^ Belden (1962) p.158
  4. ^ IBM Archives: THINK Sign
  5. ^ Maney, Kevin (2003). The Maverick and His Machine: Thomas Watson Sr., and the Making of IBM. Wiley. ISBN 0-471-41463-8.
  6. ^ Tedlow, Richard S. (2003). The Watson Dynasty. Harper Business. ISBN 0-06-001405-9.
  7. ^ Engelbourg, Saul (1954). International Business Machines: A Business History (Ph.D.). Columbia University. pp. 103–105. Reprinted by Arno Press, 1976, from the best available copy. Some text is illegible.
  8. ^ Aswad, Ed; Meredith, Suzanne M. (2005). IBM in Endicott. Arcadia. p. 18.
  9. ^ Cousins, Robert, ed. (1957). The Will to THINK: A Treasury of Ideas and Ideals from the Pages of THINK. Farrar, Straus and Cudahy. The books introduction, The Thinking Man, was written by Thomas J. Watson.
  10. ^ Think Exhibit
  11. ^ "Introducing THINK 2018". IBM. 2017-11-01. Retrieved 2019-03-06.
  12. ^ Clifton, Rita; Ahmad, Sameena (2009). Brands and Branding. The Economist. Bloomberg Press. p. 116. ISBN 978-1576601471.
  13. ^ Altstiel, Tom; Grow, Jean (2005). Advertising Strategy: Creative Tactics from the Outside/In. Sage Publications, Inc. p. 24. ISBN 978-1412917964.
  14. ^ Sull, Donald Norman (2003). Revival of the Fittest: Why Good Companies Go Bad and How Great Managers Remake Them. Harvard Business Review Press. p. 66. ISBN 978-1578519934.