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G.E., the 124-Year-Old Software Start-Up

It may not qualify as a lightning-bolt eureka moment, but Jeffrey R. Immelt, chief executive of General Electric, recalls the June day in 2009 that got him thinking. He was speaking with G.E. scientists about new jet engines they were building, laden with sensors to generate a trove of data from every flight — but to what end?

That data could someday be as valuable as the machinery itself, if not more so. But G.E. couldn’t make use of it.


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Ever hear the story of GE's nugget ice maker?

Here's the fun part:

GE and First Build are disrupting the appliance industry.

Related: Inside GE’s first “microfactory,” where anyone can turn an idea into a product

“It’s four years for a typical product from the appliance industry. Our intent is for products to have roughly a three-month time from start of work to launch,” explained Taylor Dawson, Product Evangelist at FirstBuild.

That’s impossible sounding, but it’s the mission of FirstBuild, a remarkable offshoot of GE that introduces a new model of manufacturing to the staid industry that brings you refrigerators and ovens. FirstBuild challenges a community of enthusiasts and designers and makers to come up with ideas for stuff that might have some commercial appeal. Then it helps them build it.

Kind of except not all FirstBuild people work for GE. 

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