The make-or-break project kept engineers just out of college working around the clock hunting down bugs. The product had so much buzz that speculators bought up units to resell later for a profit. The company invested so much in development that its future was riding on success.
This wasn't a phone or an app or even a new crypto-payments platform. It was 1964, and IBM was about to launch the System/360 mainframe.
"You felt like you were in the right place," Pat Toole, Sr., an engineer on the team, recalled recently.
The System/360 was the first in a family of mainframes that would come to dominate enterprise computing for the next 20 years. The 360 celebrates its 50th birthday on April 7, and Toole's story offers an inside look at how it began.