Khrushchev Visits IBM: A Strange Tale of Silicon Valley History
Harry McCracken from Fast Company writes about the well-known communist Nikita Khrushchev’s visit to IBM back in 1959.
IBM’s president at the time, Thomas J. Watson Jr.–son of the company’s founder–devoted a lengthy section to the Khrushchev visit in his autobiography, Father, Son & Co: My Life at IBM and Beyond. When he heard of Khrushchev’s planned U.S. trip, he saw an opportunity to leverage it to IBM’s benefit, and sent the premier a wire inviting him to visit any of the company’s plants. He learned that the offer had been accepted when Soviet officials showed up in San Jose to scout things out.
Watson knew that some IBM employees would be unhappy with the notion of the company hosting the leader of the Soviet Union–especially the refugees who the company had hired after Khrushchev crushed the Hungarian revolution in 1956. On factory bulletin boards, the company posted a statement from Watson saying that the visit was not an endorsement of the Khrushchev regime, offering any employee who was irate over the visit two days off with pay.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.