Post Think Thoughts

I know what you're thinking:  "Chip you've never stopped to think before, why start now?"  Well, the jokes on you because this post is about my thoughts on the recent IBM Conference Think 2019.  It was held in San Francisco's Moscone Center on Feb 11-14 this year.  This was the first time I've been to an IBM event there, although I was at Oracle OpenWorld there a few years ago when I worked the IBM booth in the expo hall of that event.  The SanFran weather decided to throw a few wrinkles at the IBM event planners by tossing a deluge and a windstorm at them on Wednesday, but everyone persevered and with some squeegees and a few industrial sized shop vacs, order was maintained.

As always, our marketing team outdid themselves on the decorations.  Whether it was the entrance sign big enough to selfie an entire football team:

Or the world's coolest Rebus Logo:

Even the stages were great to look at.  As you can see in this picture of our Chairman and CEO, Ginni Rometty talking during her keynote on Tuesday afternoon.

Ginni's keynote was the highlight of Tuesday with a discussion of her thoughts on how an unbiased and highly scalable AI can continue to grow and help people to do their jobs in amazing ways.  She hosted Greg Kalinsky, the CIO of Geico in a discussion of how IBM's leadership in customer service helped his company to streamline the process of helping their customers at any time of the day or night.  Causing their customer to tell Watson "Us late night workers have to stick together."

Next up was Ted Chung, CEO of Hyundai Card Co who explained not only his taste in music and why he has so many social media followers, but how AI is able to help them combat fraud and improve their credit processes.  

A conversation with Jim Whitehurst, the CEO of Red Hat provided what we all hope will be a glimpse into the exciting future of IBM as we grow our leadership in Open Source to include the world's largest Enterprise Open Source company and continue to show the world why "Hybrid Cloud" is such an important factor in the future of every major company.  

The Think attendees were then welcomed to San Francisco by Kaiser Permanente Chairman and CEO, Bernard Tyson.  I think he was kidding when he invited us all to the local hospital for "great food...and a physical."  But I'm sure the welcome was heartfelt and the food really *is* great.  Hearing his thoughts on ways in which healthcare organizations must change in order to ensure the health of their clients in the future was thought provoking and challenging.

Last but not least, Ginni introduced us to 4 outstanding representatives of IBM's leadership in ensuring opportunities for all.  Whether it was Priti Shah (sorry I cut you off, Priti) who rejoined the workforce after raising her kids and began working for IBM as a software engineer.  There was also Bryon Thompson who was a sergeant in the Army before getting out and being retrained by IBM as a Cybersecurity Analyst.  As the son of a veteran, IBM's leadership in hiring veterans makes me proud to be blue.  Finally, from IBM's PTECH efforts in NY and Norwalk, CT, we had Gabriel Rosa who told us how he went from being a young, computer hacking prodigy to an IBM software engineer right out of High School thanks to the extra help he got in the PTECH program.  Karen Amaker told us why she chose to become the founding leader of PTECH Norwalk and how she sees IBM efforts to teach STEM skills to underserved areas making the world a better place.

I'll save more thoughts on Think 2019 for later posts, for now, let's leave thinking of ways we can use our own knowledge, skills and time to mentor those with interest in our own jobs and how AI Can help us to improve the daily lives and outcomes for everyone.