IBM: Barcode Empire

Small hiccups on the road of life sometimes lead to history-making innovations. So goes the tale of the IBM employee, Joseph Woodland, who created the humble Universal Product Code, also known as the bar code. The first UPC swipe took place on June 26, 1974, and since then the bar code has become planet Earth’s most pervasive inventory tracking tool scanned billions of times each day. Read more at the link above.

Atlantic City can twist destinies quicker than the whirl of a roulette wheel. No one would know this better than city native and future IBMer Joe “barcode” Woodland.

Wide eyed and fresh out of college, Joe got back in town with a solid plan for his future, or so he thought. The kid had figured out a better way of piping music into elevators and set out to hit every high-rise hotel on the boardwalk and beyond.

But his father intervened. You see the old man thought the elevator music racket was in the hands of the mob. And the idea may have been bullet proof but his son wasn’t.

Not wanting to cross his family, or any other for that matter, Joe chose a different path and joined the IBM gang instead. There he would honor a different code as well as develop one. Pioneering a new way of ringing up groceries with a little something known as the barcode.

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