I'm standing next to a Croatian-born American genius in a half-empty office in Watertown, Massachusetts, and I'm about to be fried to a crisp. Or I'm about to witness the greatest advance in electrical science in a hundred years. Maybe both.
Either way, all I can think of is my electrician, Billy Sullivan. Sullivan has 11 tattoos and a voice marinated in Jack Daniels. During my recent home renovation, he roared at me when I got too close to his open electrical panel: "I'm the Juice Man!" he shouted. "Stay the hell away from my juice!"
GE mirrors the American economy much better than most companies -- for good and ill. Last year, the credit squeeze assailed GE Capital, its financial-services arm; the company missed an earnings prediction, driving the stock price down by half; it even turned to Uncle Warren for a $3 billion shot of confidence.