TOO RACY FOR YELP – My Review of General Electric

The following review was removed from Yelp for not being “primarily relevant to a consumer experience.”

I actually see it as being relevant to many consumer experiences over my life.

Yes, even the part about Jack Welch and his previous leadership of the company.  I believe my statements about his “legacy of management” are still extremely relevant to all GE consumer’s experience because Jack Welch’s tactics encouraged fear and a “dog eat dog” culture at GE that led to a lot of corners that were cut.  (Corners like the quality of a refrigerator failing and actually heating food.  Hmmm.)  This directly affects customer experience.

My wife disagrees with me, but this is my blog, right?

General Electric – Rating:  1 half star half star    (Hey–we’re not on Yelp now–I can actually DO that!)

First of all, I can’t believe that no one has reviewed GE before. This surprises me due to the fact that they are the 4th largest global company in the world per Wikipedia. Perhaps the lack of reviews is due to the fact that no one really understands what they do.

GE is one of my least favorite companies in the world. Is there some product/service that they make/offer that I actually like? Sure. There’s probably some company somewhere that they’ve scooped up along the way that they haven’t screwed up. (Yet.) Statistics are in their favor that there’s something that you use on a daily basis that has been made by them or one of their subsidiaries. But give ’em time! The odds ultimately aren’t in GE’s favor for making things better.

I’ve interviewed for jobs before at companies which were previously owned by GE, and they probably hate GE more than anyone else. This is due to GE’s “legacy of management,” which I’ll describe after getting into a few other points.

The “straw that broke the camel’s back” which resulted in me writing this review was the fact that I went to our refrigerator yesterday (which isn’t that old) and the freezer is working but… get this… the refrigerator is actually HEATING the food contained in it. That’s right, I said heating. When I opened the door, the contents of the entire fridge had been raised about 20 degrees and the butter had melted all over the contents of the refrigerator. I had to throw away all of the food in our fridge. I guess the point on this point is that they “They Bring Good Things to Life” and then kill them with a slow, surprising, and painful death.

Let’s just talk about consumer products, shall we? I honestly can’t remember ever saying, “Gee. I really love that GE *Insert Cool Item Name Here* that I purchased last week. I’m going to go recommend it to my friends.” Now, being fair, GE’s into a lot of other things that aren’t classified as “consumer products” on a daily basis (weapons, locomotives, wind turbines, medical devices, etc), but generally speaking, the products and services that I’ve interacted with are so poor that I actively avoid buying things like GE refrigerators, televisions, and anything that has their outdated logo stamped on it.

Transcending the product discussion, those that read my reviews on a regular basis know that I am a Disney fanatic. As such, this review wouldn’t be complete without mentioning their Epcot pavilion and dark ride. Ever have memories of riding horizons when you were a kid? Remember that the GE Pavilion was called Horizons, and it surprisingly shut down in 1994 right after GE killed their sponsorship of the attraction? Yup, you can thank GE yet again for killing another thing that we all love. “Imagination at work?” More like “Imagination without sponsorship, bulldozed into retirement.”

When riding Horizons, remember that robot that had the huge mess in the kitchen? And somehow, all of the messy plates never got cleaned? Ironically, that’s the only part of this ride that GE’s actually been instrumental in making true for myself, at least from my refrigerator experience.

Perhaps there was one man who was likely responsible for ending the partnership with Disney who had his hands in the rotten aspects of GE? Let me introduce you to “Neutron Jack.” Jack Welch (who was the CEO that probably actively ended the Disney / Epcot relationship) was a manager at GE that encouraged management by objective in a frightening way. Jack Welch was the guy at GE that annually would fire his bottom 10% of his company, and not think twice about it, regardless of anything else related to those employees and their positions. (Know how everyone is dreading getting a 1/5 on their performance review, no matter what company you work for, because you’ll probably get fired? Just thank ol’ Jack Welch.) His management style encourages a dog-eat-dog corporate culture of fear mistrust among employees–all to increase the bottom line (or the appearance of one) on wall street. This is never a good long-term strategy for management, in my opinion. This is the “legacy of management” that I referred to earlier in this review. Jack Welch created this legacy–he birthed this culture.

One day in MBA programs, we’ll probably all look back on the decline of businesses of the United States and their “competitive edge” over companies in the rest of the world, and many of the negative long-term effects will probably be directly traceable to Jack Welch’s management style & GE.

The same could probably be said about corporate loyalty (and the fact that virtually no one entering the marketplace today will end their career working for the same company they started at).

Here’s my “bottom line” on this review: Avoid their products and services at all costs.

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