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Zach Tratar
In light of this terrible product design going viral, I have a story to tell. Back in 2010 I worked as an intern at GE Appliances & Lighting. That's the same org that produced this monstrosity. 1/?
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Zach Tratar Jun 20
Replying to @zachtratar
GE started our internship with an introductory PowerPoint presentation. In it, they emphasized we should memorize slide #7. When we got to slide #7 it was a table of about 80 acronyms. They said knowing the lingo "was a key to GE's performance." I became worried... 2/?
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Zach Tratar Jun 20
Replying to @zachtratar
My initial project was to clean up a database with bad data. There were about 10k rows with about 1-2k affected rows. I analyzed the data and wrote a python script to fix it all. Took me my first two days. I went to my manager and asked him what's next. He said "huh?" 3/?
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Zach Tratar Jun 20
Replying to @zachtratar
I explained that it was done. He looked confused. I showed him. He said "huh ok we will have to find you something then." That project was supposed to take my entire 12 weeks. I think they expected me to go through it manually line by line?! 4/?
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Zach Tratar Jun 20
Replying to @zachtratar
Fast forward a week and I'm chatting with another intern -- let's call him "Sam". Sam was in the same position I had been. He finished his project and told his manager about it via email. Sam's manager replied "I'll figure something out". 5/
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Zach Tratar Jun 20
Replying to @zachtratar
Here's the catch: for some stupid reason, whoever assigned interns to desks didn't do a great job. Sam, and my manager, sat next to me. His manager sat in an entirely different building about 2 miles away! And well, his manager never emailed him back. Not once. 6/?
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Zach Tratar Jun 20
Replying to @zachtratar
At first Sam thought his manager was just taking his time, so he started slacking off. Browsing Reddit, going on forums, and sending other interns funny pics. After another week, he realized he had been forgotten. He wasn't happy, so he made a plan. 7/?
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Zach Tratar Jun 20
Replying to @zachtratar
The entire duration of the internship, all Sam did was slack off and browse the internet. And he got paid for it. He started tracking all of his activity in a spreadsheet, hour by hour, minute by minute. He added tags, estimates, projections. It was a serious spreadsheet! 8/?
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Zach Tratar Jun 20
Replying to @zachtratar
Of course all the interns started hearing this story, but no one dared rat out Sam. We didn't want to be the baddie. We didn't think it was that big of a deal, and besides, the company did simply forget about him. We empathized. 9/?
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Zach Tratar Jun 20
Replying to @zachtratar
2 weeks before the end of the internship we were told we would all give quick, 5 minute presentations on our projects our last week. To who? The CTO of the division was flying in with other execs to see them. 😯 10/?
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Zach Tratar Jun 20
Replying to @zachtratar
The day arrived. This huge board room filled with 50-60 people. The presentations streamed to even more people via WebEx. The CTO and VPs walked in and said they were excited by our work. The CTO gave some small speech about "taking care of employees." 11/?
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Zach Tratar Jun 20
Replying to @zachtratar
One by one we have our presentations. And then it was Sams turn to go. All of us were petrified. What was he going to present? Would he just bullshit through his initial project and end it quickly? He did not, and oh boy did he not disappoint. 12/?
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Zach Tratar Jun 20
Replying to @zachtratar
Sam started off with one slide about his initial project. Then said "that was my first week". He then jumped to the next slide. It was a chart that labeled $/time, with the heading "GE $ Efficiency". All the interns were squirming hard. The execs started squinting. 13/?
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Zach Tratar Jun 20
Replying to @zachtratar
Sam said: "After my first project I was told to wait for my next one. Nothing ever came, so instead I decided to do an analysis ok how much money GE wasted by hiring me, and how I wasted that money." 14/?
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Zach Tratar Jun 20
Replying to @zachtratar
The CTO's face turned to shock. Everyone turned to shock. Honestly I don't know how Sam had the balls to give this presentation so smoothly, but he rocked it. Bam, next slide. A PIVOT TABLE! 🤩 "As you can see Reddit is an outlier. GE has spent about $2k there." 15/?
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Zach Tratar Jun 20
Replying to @zachtratar
After Sam gave his presentation, no one clapped, and no one said a word. The CTO thanked him for the presentation -- that's it -- and called up the next intern. Sam didn't get a return offer. 😂 The company tried convincing interns to come full time, but why would we? 16/?
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Zach Tratar Jun 20
Replying to @zachtratar
The company had declined in market share 20% that year from foreign competition. We knew the numbers. Most of the good people there who I knew left within a year. Done.
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Digital Health Hipster (...into the "early stuff") Jun 20
Replying to @zachtratar
Is Sam available for hire these days?
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Zach Tratar Jun 20
Replying to @ryanstellar
Haha, I have no idea!
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🐱‍🚀 Brikir Jun 20
Replying to @zachtratar
This reminds me of one of the funniest narratives I've read of a forgotten employee
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