IBM ThinkPad

ThinkPad 701C with Folding Keyboard

As part of the launch team that birthed ThinkPad I was responsible for product, brand, and image development. In addition to overseeing the media reviews program and serving as a spokesman for the brand, I was privileged to lead ThinkNext, IBM’s first cross-functional industrial design team, working alongside and collaborating closely with international research and development centers and acclaimed designer Richard Sapper in creating cutting-edge platforms and defining strategic product roadmaps. Our team included  Sam Lucente, Kaz Yamazaki and Dr. Ted Selker along with world-class thinkers culled from planning, manufacturing, sales and marketing. Together we introduced some of the most exciting and revolutionary mobile computers yet devised, propelling the entire industry.

A couple of years ago CNN did a piece profiling the five most iconic ThinkPads of all time; four out of five of them have my team’s fingerprints on them in one way or another. In some cases we transferred inventions from IBM Research, which led to introductions like the emblematic red TrackPoint pointing device found on all ThinkPads, and the ThinkPad 701C with articulating full-size keyboard that folds into a smaller form factor. In other instances, my team generated its own inventions, including the self-raising keyboard we introduced beginning with the ThinkPad 760.

ThinkPad 760 with articulating keyboard

ThinkPad. A Different Shade of Blue. Dell & Purdy

ThinkPad. A Different Shade of Blue. Dell & Purdy

As spokesman and Manager of the ThinkPad Media Program I assisted and influenced industry analysts and media worldwide in their evaluation and commentary on mobile computing products and technology. Under my tenure, and with constant nurturing, the ThinkPad product line dominated magazine covers, consistently garnered universal praise and top editorial rankings, and won a record number of awards including JD Powers and American Product Excellence. This high visibility and recognition served as the primary drivers that elevated ThinkPad to the iconic brand we all know today.

My contributions are cited in the book ThinkPad, A Different Shade of Blue and were lauded by prominent computer industry columnists including John Dvorak, who opined:

“The only responsive unit at IBM has been the ThinkPad crowd. They seem to be able to find a way to get various ThinkPad systems to columnists and reviewers…who will use these machines and recommend them. I’m sure the coverage helped the ThinkPad’s booming sales…[IBM should] find out what these guys are doing right….

– From “An Open Letter to Gerstner,” John Dvorak, Marketing Computers

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