IBMblr / IBM Designed to Be Shared
The launch of IBMblr on Tumblr sparked IBM’s reinvention on social media. Instead of acting like a B2B company on a sales call, each post felt like the brand on a day off. IBMblr became a hotbed of experimentation, and a novel way to reveal the tech giant's little-known culture of innovation. Through its eye-candy animations, irreverent tone, magazine-style themes and inventive hacks, this novel channel gained more than 100 million impression and 16 creative awards over the three years I led its creation, evolution and editorial calendar.
It started as a last-minute assignment to mark IBM's 20-year patent record.
IBM liked it so much, it became their brand channel. Here's a sampling of popular posts and themes created during my three years at the helm.
Behind the lab doors. To celebrate 20 straight years of earning the most patents of any US company, IBMblr transformed archival footage, patent documents and interviews with engineers into a variety of inspirational quotes, inventor tips, short films and news-breaking patent announcements.
What the Fractal? Known as ‘God’s thumbprint,’ fractals are the math formulas discovered by famed IBM Researcher Benoit Mandelbrot. His discovery revealed the hidden patterns of nature and inspired a generation of artists and innovators. To celebrate, IBMblr hosted a month-long Fractal Fest including dozens of fractal GIFs, a fractal cake and an application that hacked into Tumblr itself, transforming any blog into one-of-a-kind fractal art. IBM Fractal Fest project →
Rethinking patents. Every year IBM earns more patents than any other company. While the innovations and achievement are spectacular, the patent documents themselves are utterly underwhelming. To honor IBM’s 20-year winning streak IBMblr set out to showcase the record in a manner worthy of the achievement, and in tribute to the enduring motto inspiring their researchers to THINK. IBM THINK project →
Watson after Jeopardy! Born in the research lab. Tested on Jeopardy! IBM Watson is now at work in the real world. And IBMblr was there to make sense of it all, giving people a first glimpse at the dawn of the cognitive computer age.
Technologistas. They are the sirens of supercomputers. The princesses of patents. The empresses of invention. They are technologistas—leaders in innovation since IBM’s early days. To celebrate women in tech, IBMblr introduced a handful of IBM’s best and brightest to Tumblr by sharing their great insights and achievements.
Innovation through PLAY! From LASIK eye surgery to Watson's Jeopardy! championship, many innovations can be traced back to the playful sprit of its inventor. IBMblr held a monthlong "Play" romp, inspired by the productive antics of a lovable mad scientist, along with play-driven innovations, experiments, anecdotes and quotes. It all fed a Play Machine that reinterpreted IBMblr social data into the physical word with lasers, popcorn and hatchets. All live on camera, right in front of your eyes.
The PLAY Experiments | No. 1
Play gets your inventive juices flowing. Helping even old dogs learn new tricks. Like Mr. Pickle here. With the help of some Play and 130 volts of electricity, it just learned to act like a lamp.
Opening the IBM vault. It’s been over a century since IBM was a start-up, so IBMblr dusted off a trove of design and technology artifacts for public view. From a 50-year look back at the 1964 World’s Fair to examining Selectric typewriters, IBM’s perpetual state of reinvention is a fascinating exhibit of human progress.
Solar Racing. When IBM technology helped the University of Michigan chase the sun in their quest to win the World Solar Challenge in Australia, IBMblr was there for all thrilling, zero-emission racing action.
A Boy And His Atom. The ability to move single atoms—the smallest particles of any element in the universe–is crucial to IBM’s research in the field of atomic memory. But even nanophysicists need to have a little fun. In that spirit, IBM researchers used a scanning tunnelling microscope to move thousands of atoms, all in pursuit of making a movie so small it can only be seen when you magnify it 100 million times. A movie made with atoms.