In a perfect world things like this wouldn't happen. Top employees would never leave for a better paying job, and you'd never have to let employees go to remain competitive. But this isn't a perfect world. We must prepare for the worst and hope for best while remembering to treat each other with as much respect, kindness, and understanding as possible.
Whether or not these specific cuts were needed or sensible, I don't know. What I do know is that Tesla is a young company in a highly competitive space. Were I personally to take a job at Tesla I wouldn't expect to be there longer than a year - especially if I was a temp worker or contractor. Anyone who's worked at small, early stage startup in the past would know how this story goes. You often work harder and longer than you would at a more established slower moving company, you don't get the perks, and you're constantly worrying about whether or not you'll have a job next month. But it can also be very rewarding when things go well. These are the decisions you must weigh up as an employee when looking for work.
When the recession hit Germany in 2008 most large automotive companies were also faced with a massive decline in orders and were forced to aggressively cut costs. As employees in these companies are heavily unionized they of course protested against this and the worker council started negotiating with the board of directors. They found a solution by reducing the work hours for a large percentage of their workers (with an accompanied pay cut) instead of firing a smaller percentage of them, which allowed them to retain almost everyone and at the same time reduce costs. When the economy sped up again they were able to just increase the working hours again. This was great for the employees (as they didn't lose their jobs) but also for the companies, because they didn't have to find and train new employees after the crisis was over.
I'm wondering why Tesla isn't considering something like this as I imagine there's a lot of training involved in many jobs at their factory, and it's probably very costly to rehire and retrain new employees when the growth picks up again. Just my 2 cents.
The maximum duration of this Kurzarbeitergeld was gradually extended through the 2007-2009 crisis from 12 months up to 24 months.
In the rest of the modern world, health care is the problem of the government, so cutting back on hours is a more useful strategy.
E.g. in germany, the price of health care is proportional to income.
The way it works is the government subsidizes the cost of buying insurance. The money is given to you as a credit against income taxes you would otherwise have owed. (With most tax credits, you wouldn't receive the credit until after the tax year is over, but this credit has a special provision to receive monthly payments in advance.)
The amount of the credit is based on the cost of insurance (which varies by age and location) and it is also based on your income level and size of household.
The credit is for people just above poverty through the lower part of middle class. It phases out as income gets higher, and people with a comfortable middle class income receive little to no credit. At certain income levels, the credit is pretty substantial (as it has to be to cover the high cost of insurance).
More info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Premium_tax_credit
It's a position that doesn't make much sense in practical terms. Australia has universal public health care. Australia spends half as much per capita on health care than the US does and Australians have a longer life expectancy than Americans.
Australia's paying half as much for better health outcomes. For me, universal public health care isn't socialism as much as it is a better business model.
1. Quality of care is better in the US
(totally subjective, but in the US we're waiting less and getting better treatment with less runaround/referrals/arguments; if you have insurance, you'll get whatever you want without a fight)
2. Cost is about on par with Australia
(AUD3000/year for private health, plus 1000-3000 for Medicare supplement, plus whatever you pay in taxes; in terms of raw cash paid it's actually very close. But Australian PHI doesn't cover anything of value until you're hospitalised; urgent but non-life-threatening stuff is basically paid out of pocket. US has HSAs and practically everything is covered.)
3. US healthcare spend is measured in monopoly money and, assuming you have insurance, real costs are not easily comparable.
I don't have any hard data on these, though, and so am very happy to be educated.
Stating this as fact basically means you've never been to an American doctor, or are extremely lucky in your local hospitals. Waiting months for an appointment just so you can be told to see someone else is par for the course if you don't have a "normal" health condition in America. And after all the playing around trying to find someone actually willing to diagnose you with something, you then get to play the fun game of paying the bills. Remember, no matter the discounts the insurance company has with the hospital, they still benefit by denying you coverage through whatever fine print they can manage. They get paid regardless
Uh, I pretty clearly stated it as personal experience.
I did overstate the 'get whatever you want' part, though. I'm making the point that in Australia, insurance is both compulsory and useless. In practice, all it offers is slightly higher priority treatment than non-insured patients should you go to hospital. Should you need a specialist, you'll usually pay them out of pocket -- insurance will (at best) cover a small percentage of the fees, and usually nothing.
> Waiting months for an appointment just so you can be told to see someone else is par for the course
This is also the case in Australia.
Some pragmatic numbers:
1. Health spending: https://www.healthsystemtracker.org/chart-collection/health-...
2. Health prices: https://www.healthsystemtracker.org/chart-collection/how-do-...
I had a ligament injury after a car accident. Without traveling more than hour (and I live in a major populated area), I could not get physical therapy for '8-10 weeks').
> urgent but non-life-threatening stuff is basically paid out of pocket. US has HSAs and practically everything is covered
As someone who lived in AU for 20 years, and in the US for 12, huh? I never paid more than $20 for urgent care in Australia. IF you have a HSA here, sure, you can pay your co-pay, which would be $20-40 anyway, with that, but most people don't have the luxury of a HSA. And if you're uninsured, urgent care here will charge you $200-300.
But for the 60-year-old hourly line worker making $40k, whose wife and two kids are also covered by the plan (thanks union!), a good HMO might cost upwards of $2000/mo., an almost 50% overhead. 
For a PPO, the numbers would be even higher.
More companies don't do this because it's not in labor's favor, in aggregate. Regardless of economic conditions, companies always have an interest in paying their workers less, as this cuts costs and improves profit margins. In aggregate, companies can't continually cut wages because workers would leave for employers who would pay them market rate, and so employers are forced to lay off employees to cut costs - precisely because, in a low-trust environment, it's the only way to convince labor that the cost cutting is actually necessary, because the layoff hurts the company too by way of lost productivity. The upwards pressure is called "sticky wages", and it's one of the reasons why economies need at least a small amount of inflation to be healthy.
German auto manufacturers could do it because a) they have much better labor relations on the ground and b) the 2008 recession was a real phenomenon that everyone knew about. Their trust allowed them to come to a more ideal solution, but for most companies around the world, real people and realpolitik get in the way of the ideal solution.
If we ever unionised in tech it would have to be along German lines.
But he did not do that. He betrayed the Workers for his own political delusions. He just wanted to be the one who brought down a government, he didn’t give a stuff about the People. Why do you think the DUM split off from the NUM? That’s why he can never be forgiven.
By the way the previous government to Thatcher had closed twice as many mines as she did, and not a squeak from Scargill. Doesn’t that strike you as a bit odd?
I’m thinking it’s because they aren’t firing people at random. They’re letting go their weakest performers. This is very common and has been encouraged in business for decades:
From what I've seen of large corp. performance appraisal systems, that's very rarely the case.
Those systems tend to reward people who are good at self-promotion, not necessarily people who are good at their jobs.
With that said, in large companies it can be very hard to determine just who is below whatever standard is set. Instead it becomes more of a game to be liked by your manager or claim credit for work.
By the way, part of working at or above a standard also includes not being an asshole.
So stack ranking (or any kind of ranking by criteria) tends to nudge people into "let's do what the standard expects us to do" instead of "let's do what makes the team, company and product improve."
It's a short article so maybe a little leeway should be given, but it is nuts the way the author equates reviewing employees and firing employees:
You don't have to a rigid rule, such as fire the bottom 10% every year, but you do want to be reviewing your entire workforce (at the very least) once a year, with an eye toward constantly improving it.
You should be reviewing your employees a lot more often than once a year and it doesn't need to result in anyone getting fired. Reviews are a more effective process - especially in the small company environment the author is talking about - if nobody ever approaches them like that (with the expectation that people will be fired).
Not in places that I have worked. Weak performers still have jobs years later, yet decent performers have been sacked quickly at other companies when they were struggling with money.
I'm usually a lurker on HN and don't see a way to send a private message, but if you're up for it, I'd love to exchange emails and learn more about your personal journey and challenges.
Forever, sure that is wrong. However, there is some expectation of constancy. Simply because people tend to make choices based on the status quo.
What makes things worse is that signaling that lay-offs are coming, either for specific people or in general, really harms productivity. This is because people start infighting and lose morale.
Hence, companies have reasons to announce these things late. This means it becomes harder to trust statements by employers about job security.
When firing happens, this distrust is amplified.
But this is hard, simultaneously telling your workforce:
1) We need to you work harder, better, and faster.
2) To help you achieve this, we will be reducing your headcount (and thus resources) by 7%.
3) By the way, if you fail, the company fails.
I still hope they succeed; I just hope the real, human costs are worth it.
Existing European/Japanese/US car manufacturers were happy enough to trundle along with existing ICE cars as it required less effort & gave better profits.
They & Chinese (electric) car/bus makers are the reason our planet is going to improve - ~0 air pollution in populated areas and massive reduction in nuisance engine noises.
What changed the general attitude was half a milion people that pre-ordered Model3 with $1000 cash advance, in a matter of days, without knowing almost anything about it (other than "it's a Tesla").
 Why the downvote? That event was obviously a huge wake-up call that proved to everyone there is real customer demand for electric cars, and that existing manufacturers are risking their future if they don't jump on the bandwagon.
Nissan has sold 400,000 of them to date.
I believe that once the initial backorder is addressed and Model 3's get some miles under their belts we will see the various subpar engineering & manufacturing issues highlighted in the teardowns come back to bite.
The model 3 excels where the SV talent was brought to bear but it's long term durability is clearly suspect; too many parts, too many fasteners on too heavy a frame. And that will have serious consequences for the brand over time.
Between 2010 and 2015, the Leaf had a 24kWh battery. They added a 30kWh option in 2016, then launched an all-new model in 2017 with a 40kWh battery. At this year's CES, Nissan announced a 64kWh model. There's a clear inflection point that coincides with the announcement of the Model 3, which is matched by several other manufacturers. The huge amount of media attention and customer interest convinced the motor industry that there is a substantial latent demand for affordable EVs with >200mi range.
It's perfectly reasonable to argue that established manufacturers are making better EVs because the technology improved, but Tesla drove a lot of that improvement. They were the first manufacturer to grasp the significance of battery thermal management, something that Nissan is still struggling with. They were the first to demonstrate the improvements in interior capacity and comfort that come from a purpose-built EV platform rather than retrofitting electric propulsion to an ICE platform. The threat posed by the Gigafactory persuaded/forced LG, Samsung and Panasonic to seriously ramp up production of 21700 cells.
Tesla aren't a great car company in my opinion, I think they're hugely over-valued, I think there's a real chance that they'll be bankrupt within the next five years, but they did something very important by taking a moonshot on a truly modern EV.
Nissan is way more effective than Tesla at mass-production, yes. But there's not one single market where Leaf is their most successful model (certainly true for 2017, I suspect for 2018 htat's also true).
 Maybe that's true; I'm not saying that Tesla will win the market long term.
To make an analogy: you can say Tesla is Blackberry, not Apple. Maybe they don't "own" the smartphone market, and maybe in the end they day - BUT, they left their mark. Thay have had decisive influence in the industry.
The Nissan Leaf? From where I stand, it looks like a Nokia Communicator - or worse. A product that does sell, true - but mostly because of the parent company; eventually it doesn't leave a lasting mark.
I suspect the LEAF has done a lot more to drive Chargepoint network adoption, as just one example of a market development where the LEAF is more influential than Tesla.
I think it will be years before we know whether Tesla’s gamble will pay of for the company.
Total worldwide sales of the leaf are north of 400,000 units.
"Global sales totaled over 380,000 Leafs by December 2018, making the Leaf the world's all-time best-selling highway-capable electric car."
That said, I was providing a counterpoint to the OP's statement that Japanese manufacturers weren't doing anything, when the facts clearly indicate otherwise.
This is in spite of Europe being a massive consumer of Japanese cars in general(Nissan & Toyota in particular).
Assuming Tesla 3 doesn't get down to sub €35k price in the next year, Hynudai Kona seems like it will be the best selling EV in Europe in 2019 (provided the end dealers don't mess it up)
Some other Japanese manufacturers:
Toyota, Honda, Daihatsu, Suzuki, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Isuzu
Barring Toyota who at least made some effort with the Prius. What have the rest of those industry players done for EV adoption/advancement? Nothing. Some (even in 2019) still haven't made inroads into EV.
Toyota and Mazda have made a joint venture for electric vehicles. They will be releasing their first vehicles in 2020. I'm not sure why they waited this long. I think the main reason for Toyota was that the Prius has been absolutely dominating the Japanese market for years, thanks in part to rebates from the government. I think it's the normal desire of a big company to avoid cannibalizing their successful sales. As for Mazda, they bet big on their turbine engine and I think they didn't have enough money to invest in R&D -- you will note that they never made a hybrid.
I have no idea what Honda is doing. At one point they claimed that all of their cars were going to have electric drive trains. However, they put all of their eggs in the hydrogen infrastructure that almost certainly isn't going to pan out. They have stopped production of the hybrid Insight in Japan, so I don't really know what their next move is. Apparently they have the Clarity (a plug in hybrid) which I've never seen in Japan. However, I would not discount them as, like I said, they've seen the electric writing on the wall for a long time.
I was just about to say that I would be surprised if Suzuki puts out an electric vehicle. The main office is literally down the street from my mother in laws place and I know lots of people who work there. However, I just did a google search and it appears that Suzuki has joined Toyota and Mazda in their joint venture and will release an EV in 2020 (however, reading between the lines, I think it might be a plugin hybrid aimed at continental Asian markets).
As for Daihatsu, they have made some concept EV cars. I've got an article from 2010 where they made an EV version of the Mira. Keep in mind that Daihatsu has been experimenting with EV for a long time. They did the EV1 in 1973! They also have a whole range of commercial "cars" (more like golf carts, really) that you frequently see on Japanese roads. Basically one-seaters used for delivering things. I don't actually expect them to enter into the market seriously for at least 5 years, though, because they don't make expensive cars. Although the prices have risen a bit recently, the main thing about Daihatsu has been that you can buy a decent car for ~$10K. It's just not feasible to build EVs at that price point without going the golf cart route, I think.
Subaru used to sell an EV in Japan. It didn't do very well and I've probably only seen it once or twice on the road. I think they are currently out of the market, but apparently have plans to re-enter in 2021.
I don't know anything about Isuzu (except that they make a shit ton of kei-tra - ubiquitous white light "pickup" truck - that every single farmer in Japan owns). Apparently they have an electric truck, but it is quite big -- for hauling containers, etc. For consumer vehicles, I think they are in the same boat as Daihatsu -- their bread an butter is dirt cheap trucks that just aren't going to be feasible in EV forms for a while.
One of the things that might surprise you is that I've never, ever seen a Tesla on the road in Japan. Probably they don't sell them here. Nor have I seen a Chevy volt. In fact I have not seen a single EV that isn't Japanese. If I didn't read HN, I would have the impression that Japanese manufacturers were the only companies making EVs. Of course, we know that's not true, but it's easy to get a strange perspective when you only experience things in one country.
Having said that, I'll be curious to see if Toyota's decision to wait before making an EV will pay off. I tend to think that Nissan and Mitsubishi (having had EVs on the road for 8 years now) will have an advantage. However, it occurs to me that Nissan and Mitsubishi can't have been making much (if any) profit on their EV program, while Toyota has been making buckets off of the Prius. Also, Toyota, Mazda and apparently Suzuki are pooling their resources, which will reduce their initial cost to market, so it might actually pay off. Only time will tell.
But this is just to say that Japanese manufacturers have not been sitting on their hands (with the possible exception of Honda -- I have no idea what they are doing).
Wikipedia is telling me that Tesla delivered over 240K cars in 2018, which surprises me greatly.
Any time somebody already planned to replace their car and chooses electric over ICE is a win for the planet. It's also a health improvement for humans living in urban environments.
Tesla might not be selling that many cars, but they are the major reason why established brands like Volkswagen feel pressure to "catch up" and massively invest in new EV lineups. Once those companies have caught up in terms of technology and lineup they will massively outsell anything Tesla is capable of, helping reduce our impact on the climate and our health.
Of course public transport would be even better, but don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good
No. While Tesla is a factor, the major reason for the EV investment is new legislation and regulations being introduced in the EU, China, and the US.
Germany, for example, is talking about banning new ICE car sales by 2030: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-autos-emissions-germany-i...
Paris is talking about banning ICE cars from the city by 2030 and even banning diesel cars by 2024 (not very fair on diesel owners): http://fortune.com/2017/10/12/paris-combustion-engine-ban/
As part of Volkswagen's settlement agreement for the emissions scandal, VW is required to build an EV supercharger network in the US (Electrify America). VW's attitude is that since they need to build it they may as well make use of it: https://www.greencarreports.com/news/1116375_electrify-ameri...
I think Volkswagen will be the biggest producer of EVs within the next 3 years.
Toyota might overhaul them in the long run purely because Toyota is the world's biggest car company. But Toyota seems to be behind in their EV program. It'll be interesting to see how much ground (if any) Toyota will have lost to Volkswagen 10 years from now.
Indeed, according to  in the 1990s a Californian attempt to push ICE makers to produce EVs and "an alliance of the major automakers litigated [...] permitting the companies to produce super-low-emissions vehicles, natural gas vehicles, and hybrid cars in place of pure electrics." So demonstrably, ICE makers fight back when politicians try to force them to make EVs.
It is only because we have the Volt and the Leaf and the Kona the E-pace and the i3 and the e-golf and the Tesla that an ICE ban is on the table.
It's hard to say if we'd have that many EV options on the market without Tesla, or if the Toyota Prius would still be the pinnacle of EV technology.
It's feasible because batteries got better. If it had turned out that batteries couldn't be made better for some reason then the push would have been for hydrogen fuel cell cars in particular rather than electric vehicles in general. Hyundai makes a good hydrogen fuel cell car:
> car makers would know as much, and could call the politicians' bluff by refusing to build EVs
That would fail and the car makers would have been fined. Volkswagen's outcomes after the emissions test cheating is the practical demonstration of this. They were required to meet a standard which they failed to meet and so there have been fines, jail time, and the company has consequently changed course.
This is sadly not really true, especially in China, the biggest electric vehicle market, where most of the electricity is coal-generated. You end up with a car requiring more energy (e.g. more fossil fuels) to produce AND to run.
The situation is not very pretty in the USA yet either, but if you are hopeful in the next decade that the USA will decarbonate their electricity, then maybe you will get a positive return on GHG emissions over your car lifetime.
Electric cars as a means to reduce GHG emissions todaly only make real sense in specific countries with a low-emissions electricity profile, such as France and northern Europe (Sweden etc).
Waste from coal powered electricity isn't emitted by every consumer in populated areas. It's emitted in a plant which
a) generally has more advanced particular matter capture technology &
b) to reduce emission further, only the place emitting the emissions needs to be upgraded(not the vehicle of every end consumer of that energy) &
c) is more readily replaceable by a cleaner source with minimal disruption.
Look at what happened in France when the government changed its mind on which carburant is cleaner and tried to force millions of consumer via taxes.
Also, keep in mind that China is trying to get cleaner electricity as shown by the giant damns they are building.
In Northern California, you are looking at 0 to 30% of electricity coming from fossil fuels, of which is almost entirely natural gas. An EV in NorCal is almost certainly polluting a lot less than an ICE car.
I highly doubt that the process of replacing a car does not result in a huge negative impact on the planet that has to be "paid off" over time through the gains of switching to an electric car.
Basically, don't you start in the negatives when replacing a car with an electric one?
People who regularly change their cars regularly change their cars ...
Yes, they still have an impact, but it's less than the impact they'd have had if they bought an equivalent petrol/diesel vehicle.
This also means we'll have much less need for parking lots, etc. Parking infrastructure consumes a huge portion of prime urban land. Curbside parking alone is sometimes estimated at 10%.
Thus, it would also reduce sprawl, and thereby reduce both commute times and the amount of energy required to commute.
All of those things would be eco-friendly, if we can move in that direction. Particularly once we shut down all the coal plants.
Queuing theory forms a mathematical basis for analyzing the problem. So far its been heavily analyzed and applied towards dynamic pricing models. But if you want to replace cars people need to feel confident they are going to have a ride available in a short amount of time and not be price gouged.
When you factor in not needing to find parking, and no need to walk to and from your parking spot, it absolutely saves time.
Electric scooters and e-bikes provide hope of fixing this last mile problem, but they're not yet universal enough.
I think we should laud Tesla and other similar companies for providing a no-compromises solution that results in immediate positive effects on the environment.
California, for example, is only slightly less densely populated than France. Nevada is slightly less dense than Norway, but 2.2m of the 3m population live in the Las Vegas Valley, that makes up less than a percent of the total land area, so most of the population live in an area more than dense enough for successful public transit.
There are certainly really low density areas where trains and buses have less utility, but most people don't live there, or they wouldn't have been so low density.
And this is after a century of neglecting public transport. If there was more investment in public transport in the denser areas, density would likely increase further, because public transport hubs tends to drive up footfall to businesses nearby.
Anecdotally, I would claim that a lot more places in Europe with similar density have their density organized around existing city centers, plazas/squares, and other focus points, which makes public transit far more effective. The overall density may be similar (for instance, I live in a major European city and there's farmland next to me) but housing is more concentrated around specific points. Destinations such as grocery stores seem more conveniently located, at least in Switzerland, where every train station and major bus stop seems to have a selection of stores in the immediate vicinity as well as a large amount of housing centered around it, with density decreasing as one moves farther from the transit point.
It doesn't seem like that's the case in the vast majority of the US. While the density of California may be similar to that of France, it seems like people occupy much more of the land.
Here's an article I found that happens to illustrate what I mean, but it unfortunately only has data for a few places: https://www.citylab.com/life/2018/02/theres-a-better-way-to-...
Yet we still had perfectly functioning public transit.
Sure, there are definitive advantages that arise over time once you already have it, such as clustering of shops near transit hubs instead of spread out all over the place, but it still works.
It boils down to willingness to invest. You need to commit to ensuring sufficient frequency and routes for years to change habits even if it operates at a loss.
This is the real problem. You need to be prepared to put the service in before the demand is sufficient to really justify it, because the long term social impact justifies it. Do that, and it shapes the landscape. I mean, the train did that in the US too when it first arrived: entire towns sprung up around access to transit. The convenience of cars would make it harder to cause a reversal, but it's just a matter of which benefits you need to create.
So it's down to political will and lack of public support. The density is a red herring.
As I said, there are quite a few more options nowadays for the last-mile: shared bikes, electric scooters/bicycles, or even Uber/Lyft/rideshare. This should further increase the viability of public transit even in areas of the US in which it wasn't previously viable.
Some problems I had were that sometimes the car wasn't where it was supposed to be, a couple of times the car was double booked, and quite often the cars had other people's rubbish in them. One time the car was full of sand (clearly someone had been to the beach).
I think in my case I'd always prefer to have my own car.
These are not things that Elon will ever personally experience.
Obviously, it's difficult to square that theory with the "Public transit won't work in America as the population density is too low" line of thought so you probably have to choose one or the other.
On cars, I agree with you, people are very irrational when it comes to cars. I'd be in favor of a massive vehicle miles traveled tax, to repair our roads and to tax emissions from transit. But the simple fact is people love being in their own car and there's no other viable option for most people.
Furthermore, even if you magic a train system into existence, you still don't solve the battery/energy storage situation with trains (which will never have the will or funding or political backing to ever be built, as we are seeing over and over). Without batteries or nuclear (another two train-like near-impossible task), we'll still need natural gas peakers, and we won't solve climate change. Batteries are the only area we're moving forward, and that's why Tesla is doing amazing good for the planet.
It seems that trains (intercity) can work in some countries (Japan for example), but in most countries these days it is more expensive to take a train than a flight (the UK, Germany for example)!
And these are densely populated areas. I can only imagine how ridiculous that would be in the US which is sparsely populated.
A note on peak energies is spot on as well - if it is difficult to balance a network with a varying consumption that would be even a bigger challenge when production is nondeterministic (solar, wind) as well.
While I definitely support battery storage development, the truth is that fossil-based plants are going to be needed for another few decades so the operators could balance the network. For example, the recently installed battery in Australia could provide electricity to San Francisco just for 9 minutes (if I did my math correctly) which is probably not even enough time to start another plant.
EDIT: 11 minutes : https://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=129MWh+%2F+(5740+GWh+%...)
Tesla is doing the best for planet Earth of any company on the planet. Without them we would not be seeing traditional autos move away from fossil fuel vehicles - the margins and established knowledge would have been too good to just abandon it.
Obviously, you have a sound argument(s) to support your claim, right?
Is there really anything that bad about this message to the workforce? I feel like 95% of what was said is implied at other places and when that's the reality but it's never spoken of it would probably create an even higher level of anxiety? Maybe the more extended life of bigger and more dug in companies offer some sort of incentives or worker's rights that alleviate some of those anxieties?
I guess I feel like what's being said isn't surprising nor is it that remarkable, to me. What would be surprising or remarkable is if the message was: You don't have to work so hard, we're hiring 7% more people because we feel like it's a nice thing to do and regardless of our performance the failures of this company or the products we make will never be your (the workers) fault.
I'm sure everything I just said is stupid but, even if the message from Tesla rubs people the wrong way I somehow feel like the harsh truth might just be an OK pill to swallow compared to the, "Aren't you going at least buy me dinner before you... " type message / ethos that I see and have felt in corporate environments for decades?
No—there's nothing wrong with it. The results might be bad, though.
2019 will be hard for Tesla and its workforce. When things are hard, people start asking the question "Is it worth it?"
This could very well have been the very best way to handle the business necessity of reducing the workforce by 7%; it just might have some bad consequences that were unavoidable when the available business options are: be unprofitable or layoff workers.
My comment was aimed at the realities (2019 will be hard for Tesla and employees)—not a moral comment on the action of laying off people.
I am curious if there is a better way to right size a company after it has become more bloated than it needs to be than a blunt instrument like layoffs.
I'm on team humanity. In spite all our failings, I want humanity to succeed and reach for the stars. Success means having a livable planet. For idealists like me who are also realists, the only way to get everyone working toward this future is to put it in their self-interest. Anything else just. won't. work.
To dedicate yourself in a practical way to the future of humanity, Tesla's one of the few games around.
- you are ignoring the benefits that EVs could bring, as well as synergies with future technology improvements. Radically better battery technology coupled with cheap, affordable solar might be a game changer of unprecedented scale.
- On the other hand, there's no proof that "drastically reducing the low-occupancy car miles driven" or "reversing the car growth trend" is either feasible or beneficial (how do you achieve the goal? Any measure is likely to have side-effects. I haven't seen any realistic proposal that doesn't have potentially horrible side-effects).
Lastly, let me just tell you that I love it when people living in developed countries know what developing countries should do (which is typically "stay poor", but delivered in a more politically-correct way)
What are the horrible side effects of car pools?
There are no horrible side effects to "a healthier population"; however, the prohibition showed us that there may indeed be bad side-effects to banning alcohol consumption & distribution (which could be argued as a measure that leads to a healthier population).
As a city dweller I look forward to a future with less air and noise pollution.
I don't have much faith that laws can solve the problem, so the spread of electric technology is my best hope.
50% is hardly a small improvement. In some areas you are looking at a 70+% improvement.
Asking people to swallow standard of living deductions is a lot harder than them getting a slightly different type of car.
> We must drastically reduce the low-occupancy car miles driven and reverse the car growth trend in developing countries.
Any solution that ignores self-interest at the personal and state level is not a solution that can be banked on to work.
A nonprofit would depend on goodwill, not self interest, and to my mind, only one of those things is reliable.
He had an older brother, who was, by the younger brother's own admission, a notch above himself in the intelligence department. The older brother was said to have been bored working at Google.
My suspicion is: someone in dire need of intellectual engagement might want to work at Tesla simply because of the opportunity to exercise one's mental capacity in a challenge of equivalent magnitude. (Not Tesla specifically: I suspect any company with similarly-driven heavily-pushed technical production would suffice, for a person with the knowledge of that sphere.)
Imagine Einstein or Hawking sorting paper in an office. How do you think their minds would feel in such an uncreative, unproductive environment? I'd wager they'd suffocate soon without an opportunity to express their intellect in a meaningful way. Same story, I suspect, happens with the brilliant engineers and designers at Tesla.
(Which isn't to say that the nightmare-ish conditions they're being put through are necessarily worth it, or that they can't find an outlet for their capacities elsewhere. Working for a company is simpler, in that one doesn't need to make as many choices as an independent entrepreneur would have to. It's also prestigious – since the company has a big name – which may or may not play its role.)
Einstein is the perfect counterexample: Had he not worked at a boring paperwork job in the patent office, he wouldn't have had enough mental capacity to devise his theories.
That job was not as boring as commonly understood. He had to examine patents about time synchronization devices that used light signals between trains. That led him to think about what would later become relativity.
I feel like you're over selling this by a lot, especially the Hawkings and paper comparison. Someone moving from Google to Tesla because of "boredom" is likely due to the industry more than the intellectual challenge. People go to work at Tesla because they believe in Musk's "vision" of a better world.
From what I understand (comparing my knowledge of the younger brother and the younger brother's gushing over the older's intellect), the older brother was a real big head. I know people get bored when their intellectual capacity has not met a worthy rival of a problem. I extrapolated.
Do those two areas provide similar technological challenges? Obviously, they're both about coding the backbone of the product, and I understand that visuals are, often, a big part of a game engine, which could translate to visual editing. Is that what you meant?
Yep, exactly. You're shifting your knowledge and skill of computational related programming into another field just to have more of a challenge.
At my own place I've seen engineers internally transfer to take on new challenges. Not surprisingly the trend of this is front-end -> back-end/ops -> video.
Of course it will.
Why would/should/could it do any differently?
During one assessment many years ago I was accused of not being sufficiently "loyal", and I (ah, youth!) responded, "You want loyalty? Get a dog."
Needless to say it didn't go well for a little while until a higher-up manager squashed the whole thing because he agreed with my point of view.
Never grow up, I'd say.
25% yearly raise is what I quote for 'loyalty'
“We have a very skilled and competent work force and the last thing we want to do is lose them when we’re assuming this economy is going to come back,” said Craig Reider
I wonder in which areas of production they've experienced slower progress than what they'd anticipated last year.
Normally layoffs are viewed as positive or neutral event, but this paragraph -- " In Q4, preliminary, unaudited results indicate that we again made a GAAP profit, but less than Q3. This quarter, as with Q3, shipment of higher priced Model 3 variants (this time to Europe and Asia) will hopefully allow us, with great difficulty, effort and some luck, to target a tiny profit" does not instill much confidence, I guess.
It entered at -8% at opening and now it´s about at -10%.
"As a result of the above, we unfortunately have no choice but to reduce full-time employee headcount by approximately 7%"
Its great when you're a high performing company that everyone wants to work for, doesn't work if you aren't doing well and people have an extra reason to avoid you (see GE, GS right now)
To compare, what is the “break even” point of buying a property and renting it out?
Once to 10k is out, we can size it up, but my guess is that all that capital spend is greater than the cost of employing the 7%. Would be interesting to see the math that went behind the decision.
Tesla claims to be doing all this, but the financials say different. Their CapEx has not increased in many quarters (it actually decreased at one point recently). So can you explain to us how you think they are doing all this? Where does the money come from?
I mean the whole premise of Uber existing is based on this idea and I see Tesla as being potentially even more profitable (and more likely to have working self driving vehicles)...
There’s good evidence that Tesla was weeks away from this outcome in the fall and IIRC they have a large loan payment due this spring.
If they can’t meet it (from operating cash flows or further borrowing), they can’t keep operating. There, they are risking ownership and control of the whole company rather than the jobs of 1/14th of the company.
Minor point, but since you included it: I wager: full self-driving is still a decade or more away.
Good evidence? Elon himself said it.
And yet outsiders denied it then, and are still denying it. This company is in a cash-crunch.
With a physical product and factories - not so easy.
Tesla didn't start to build anything. The Chinese government put them on notice because there was no work done. So, of course, Elon flies by himself to China to put on a grand opening show and says they'll start production in a year.
How is it this community, who prides itself on being so smart, can fall for this?
No car factory has ever been built that fast. How can it be in production in less than a year? Where is the money coming from? After the disastrous Model 3 launch, are there still people on the planet that think Musk knows more than the incumbents about building a factory? Remember 3D assembly lines and robots so fast you'll need a strobe light to see them?
It's astonishing that people are still buying into this story.
It still is terrible for people who have everything to Tesla over then past few years. At least they are leaving for a hot job market.
This is the second round of layoffs in less than a year. Growing companies with infinite demand don't need to lay people off.
Auto workers in Northern California?
I wish people laid off good luck.