“We are convinced that any business needs its wild ducks. And in IBM we try not to tame them.”


Former IBM Chairman Thomas J. Watson, Jr., wrote that: “In IBM we frequently refer to our need for ‘wild ducks.’ The moral is drawn from a story by the Danish philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard who told of a man who fed the wild ducks flying south in great flocks each fall. After a while some of the ducks no longer bothered to fly south; they wintered in Denmark on what he fed them. In time they flew less and less. After three or four years they grew so lazy and fat that they found difficulty in flying at all. Kierkegaard drew his point: you can make wild ducks tame, but you can never make tame ducks wild again. One might also add that the duck who is tamed will never go anywhere any more.

Editorial mission

The way we see it, the wild ducks are the creative ones. They're the restless explorers who are always looking for a new angle on a big problem. We've been spending a lot of time with people like this lately and we're telling their stories in deeply reported monthly podcasts. WildDucks features innovators from around the globe in hopes of inspiring you, our listeners, and demonstrating now a combination of curiosity, ambition, and technology can change the world.

Editorial team

Wild Ducks (@IBMWildDucks) is produced by veteran journalists Jeffrey O’Brien and Bernhard Warner and designer Carl De Torres. The Wild Ducks theme was composed by Umberto Ugoberti and Federico Ortica, who also provide the musical score for each episode.

Jeffrey O’Brien
A former editor at Fortune and Wired, O’Brien specializes in stories about tech and innovation. He developed the idea that became the THINK Exhibit in 2011.

Bernhard Warner
Warner has worked for prestigious media brands in the US and Europe, including Bloomberg Business Week, The Industry Standard, The Guardian, and Inc.

Carl De Torres
An award-winning infographic designer, De Torres has partnered with IBM on many projects, from Smarter Planet and Watson to the Think Lab.