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John Oliver Absolutely Obliterated Boeing

Shout out to the dozens and dozens of commenters and twitter followers who sent me this yesterday after I blogged about the shadiness surrounding the whole Boeing criminal case that the Department of Justice is bringing against them yesterday.

John Oliver has made a career out of calling out corporate BS, laid into Boeing and its "if it ain’t broke, don't check if it’s about to break" philosophy. Turns out, the plane's door popping off was almost a "hold my beer" moment in Boeing’s recent saga of facepalm-worthy incidents. From fiery batteries to a pair of crashes that left everyone side-eyeing their safety record, Boeing’s been in the hot seat for a hot minute.

Oliver pointed out that it looks like Boeing’s been on a bit of a spiral since it got hitched to McDonnell Douglas back in '96, known less for their flying machines and more for their flying coffins. Since then, Boeing's shifted from engineering marvels to marveling at their stock prices, with safety checks taking a backseat to shareholder happiness. The 787 Dreamliner fiasco? Imagine piecing together an IKEA chair with parts from different boxes. Yeah, it was something like that but with a few billion dollars and lives at stake.

Now, the 737 Max – Boeing’s pride and joy that turned into its biggest nightmare. Equipped with a system that could nosedive the plane based on one faulty sensor, Boeing decided pilots didn’t need to know about it. Because, why bother with trivial stuff like not crashing? When the system did exactly what it wasn’t supposed to do, Boeing was more concerned about their stock prices than fixing the issue.

As Oliver pointed out numerous times, this whole saga began when Boeing acquired McDonnell-Douglas. Yet, in an ironic twist, McDonnell-Douglas' leadership ended up dominating Boeing's board and executive team. This effectively turned the acquisition into a reverse takeover, with McDonnell-Douglas' unsuccessful leadership getting a second chance to repeat their mistakes, this time under Boeing's banner. The results speak for themselves.

Now, Boeing finds itself at a disadvantage against Airbus and other rivals, with no new competitive products expected for at least the next ten years. This stagnation stems from their decision to prioritize stock performance over substantive business investments. They argued that developing a new design would be too costly. As a result, Boeing's current offerings to airlines are limited to the 777, 787, and 737Max, leaving noticeable gaps in their lineup, such as a competitor to the Airbus A220.

Oliver also didn't hold back on the FAA either, calling them out for being Boeing’s lapdog rather than the watchdog they’re supposed to be. It’s like having your mom grade your homework; of course, you're gonna pass with flying colors, even if your essay was written in crayon.

Wrapping this all up, Oliver’s throwing punches at Boeing’s upper management, suggesting it’s time for a leadership makeover. It’s one thing to be too big to fail, but Boeing’s acting like they’re too big to care.

Props to Oliver for reminding everybody that no company, no matter how legendary, can coast on past glories.