Rocket at 25: the history behind Rocketcaster #1
If you’ve attended an IBM-hosted event in recent years, you may have seen CEO Andy Youniss give away a guitar before a well-known band comes on–or even play guitar himself before the show. What you may not know is that these aren’t any guitar you can get off the shelf at your local musical instrument store. They are all one-off, custom-made guitars crafted in-house. As Andy explains,
“After a few decades in the software business, we also got into the guitar business! One of our long-time Rocketeers, Steve Bice, started refurbishing Fender® Telecaster® guitars as a hobby. Steve is a player himself. He would buy used Teles and parts and rebuild them, but always added a creative, artistic flair. In 2012, as we were planning to sponsor our first-ever IBM conference, I had an idea to bring a guitar theme into our exhibit hall booth. I knew this would be well received by conference attendees because everywhere I travel, I have found a musical connection with customers and partners alike.
I asked Steve if he could create a series of custom guitars with a Rocket theme. He agreed to do it, and we now refer to Steve’s creations as Rocketcaster Guitars. If you attend IBM Insight (the new name for IOD) or IBM InterConnect (the new name for IBM Pulse) you will see our guitars at our booth, see me on stage (where I’ve been known to play live!), and you might even be a lucky attendee who gets to go home with one of our guitars.”
Thankfully the first guitar stayed here at Rocket, and now hangs on a wall in our Executive Briefing Center, along with 10 new brothers and sisters that have joined the family over the past three years. We’ll talk more about the rest later, but for today, we’re highlighting Rocketcaster #1–the guitar that started it all.