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5 lessons from IBM's 100th anniversary

June 16, 2011: 11:25 AM ET

By Kevin Maney, contributor

Every kind of tech CEO -- from Page to Zuckerberg -- can learn a few things from Big Blue.

FORTUNE -- IBM turns 100 this month. Remarkably, IBM (IBM) has stayed vital and important for most of its history -- except for that blip in the early-1990s when the company nearly collapsed. In 1911, the company had $800,000 in net income.  In 2010, IBM's net income was $14.8 billion. Its stock has appreciated about 40,000 times.

A lot of IBM's success can be traced back to its earliest years and the actions of Thomas Watson Sr., who ran IBM from 1914 to 1952. Today's entrepreneurs and CEOs could learn some lessons from Watson, especially if they want to build a company for the ages.

So here are five lessons from Watson on making a 100-year company.

1. At the start, convince the troops you're a company of destiny, even if that seems crazy. More

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