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Jim Keller leaves the autopilot team

I'm starting to grasp the idea that my car will never come pick me up :(. Walking to the parking lot sucks especially when I paid a lot of money hoping one day I wouldn't have to lol. Losing key employees like Tesla has been sets things way back. Just to get a new employee started and up to speed takes some time. If I was Karpathy knowing how badly Tesla needed me I would be requesting some crazy money. If he was to leave who knows what would happen to the Autopilot program.

I think you may be thinking about this wrong - the kind of people who will change the landscape aren't ones you "need to get up to speed" - they are the ones that come in and shake things up (in a good way). They are the ones getting the rest of your company up to speed.

FWIW - Netflix is exactly the same way. Their policy regarding employee performance is simple: Average performers are quickly given a generous severance package.

I'm totally fine with this guy leaving if he's not the best-of-the-best and isn't the one who will put Tesla ahead of the pack.

All I'm saying is not to read too much into things. It's quite possible Elon is cleaning house, figuring out who the trend setters are and who can go to other companies and not compromise Tesla's position.

Now this could be totally wrong - time will tell of course!
This is nothing new - Tesla has a long history of high-level people leaving the company. The closer an employee is to the top (Elon) whether organizationally or functionally, the more at risk they are. Like many great company leaders, Elon is very demanding and has a firm belief in his own concepts. If, as an employee, you differ with Elon, you must have incontrovertible proof that you are correct or you will find yourself leaving the company - either being asked to leave or put in a nearly impossible work situation. And this isn't necessarily a bad thing for a fast moving technology company like Tesla. Apple (Steve Jobs) and Oracle (Larry Ellison) are two examples of technology companies with brash and demanding CEOs.
Awww crap should I ask for a refund on EAP? It’s going to be at a stand still now. No further upgrades?
Why would that be? You think the hundreds of engineers and the entire management chain that reported up to the VP are just sitting around twiddling their thumbs waiting for a new boss? You think they don't already have a plan in place with lots of stuff to work on?


Active Member
Jul 21, 2013
High turnover is never beneficial.

5 Benefits (Yes, Benefits) of High Employee Turnover


If losing 20 percent of the top performers, then the turnover is definitely negative, but if the majority of the people leaving are bottom performers, or they have done all that they can do, then a high turnover rate is positive.

During GEs glory days they had high turnover.

People got burned out, they contributed all they had and wanted to get off the treadmill, or they were never the right person to begin with.

All good reasons for turnover. Lots of high performing profitable industries have high turnover. And lots of good people simply say "that was fun for a while, but I want a change a scenery, or to put my kids to bed once in a while."

Here is an informative stat: What company had longest employee tenure and low turnover? Eastman Kodak! Full List of Employee Tenure at Fortune 500 Companies


Active Member
Dec 22, 2017
So Cal
Why would that be? You think the hundreds of engineers and the entire management chain that reported up to the VP are just sitting around twiddling their thumbs waiting for a new boss? You think they don't already have a plan in place with lots of stuff to work on?

Beats me. I’m not in their management chain. I don’t know what they do. Haha I don’t want to gamble $5k
I believe the software is still headed up by Andrej Karpathy, one of the foremost deep learning and computer vision experts in the world. I'm sure autopilot software will be fine under his guidance.

Keller was apparently a hardware guy, and even if he was getting the chance to work on custom chips for the AI processing, I'm guessing he found the software-heavy side of things less compelling.
From what I read, Keller is likely moving on because he's done all there is to do with regards to chip architecture. He's a go-getter who always needs to be involved in challenging and engaging products. He's done it in the past with AMD and Apple (leaving around the time of major advances). He builds the framework and leaves Tesla to execute.

If anything, I take this as positive news as a testimony to the progress that has been made. We'll see if there are any major announcements from Tesla over the next few months.


Legacy account
Jun 13, 2014
He likes chips
He likes vectors
He like code optimization
And Intel hired him

Maybe he can go fix or ensure there'll never be another security attack vector like this one in Intel chips.

And while he's at it, optimize the firmware or microcode fix they put out for that breach to regain some lost speed.

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