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Redundancies @ TM

Discussion in 'Tesla Motors' started by malcolm, Jan 11, 2008.

  1. malcolm

    malcolm Active Member

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    #1 malcolm, Jan 11, 2008
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2008
    The list from Martin's blog:- Stealth Bloodbath « Tesla Founders Blog
    • (writer – owner’s manuals)
    • (VP Manufacturing)
    • (Software development engineer; wife of Tom)
    • (firmware development engineer)
    • (lead engineer on Tesla’s motor team; creator of Tesla’s motor)
    • (CIO)
    • (formerly VP of Service & Support, then demoted to Director)
    • (manufacturing engineering manager)
    • (software development engineer)
    • (VP Whitestar)
    • (the original, sassy moderator of the Tesla blog, among her many engineering management jobs)
    • (firmware engineer)
    • (world famous motor expert)
    • (systems engineer, working on service diagnostics procedures)
    • (communications director)
    and also…
    • (Transmission Team)
    • (Buyer)
    • (Vehicle Development Engineer)
    • (Technical Writer)
    • (Mechanical Engineer)
    • (Motor Team)
    • (HR)
    • (Web Developer)
    It would appear to the casual observer that immediately the Roadster is in production, all further innovation of the ESS/PEM/e-motor/Transmission will cease and it will be sold/modified as a package for hybrid cars.

    All the time and effort that has gone into building the Tesla team and it gets taken apart in a few months.

    Martin, this must cut deeply. I'm so very sorry that the company you helped to create and inspire is being pulled apart in this manner. Please be careful what you post and blog about this. Having made you sign the non-disparagement agreement, there is something almost unpleasantly provocative in all this.
     
  2. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    That is quite true, and these layoffs seem quite irrational. Since Martin did sign the non-disparagement agreement, he should be careful about what he writes. This is quite a cause for worry. It seems the company has been going down a slippery slope with these layoffs. Team morale at Tesla must be at an all time low and the optimism that started this company seems to have faded. Tesla had such a great future and now I'm afraid it might go the typical venture capitalist way. I'm still grasping on to every last strand of hope I have for this company and wish that the predictions aren't going to be true.
     
  3. tonybelding

    tonybelding Active Member

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    I haven't said much about this subject because I don't like to speculate or take sides on issues that I have no first-hand knowledge about. It appears that a lot of people don't have any such hesitation. So. . . I guess I might as well speculate too.

    My take is that Tesla has a new CEO who is taking charge and restructuring things the way he wants them. That's what a CEO does. He wasn't hired to join hands with everyone and sing Kum Bah Yah.

    Early on it seemed like it was party time at Tesla Motors. Everybody was having fun, they were swaggering, they were bragging, they were almost giddy, and now. . . Now there's a grownup in the room. Sometimes you need a hard-nosed guy at the top.

    Here's the good news: Tesla still has an amazing and unique product with high demand. They also, apparently, still have investors who are able and willing to support the company financially through the transmission debacle. The fundamentals haven't changed.
     
  4. stefan72

    stefan72 New Member

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    Good luck.

    A sad story indeed. The Tesla story, if it continues in this negative way, will not help the public to accept electric cars. Even worse, with employees loosing trust in once a great company, the venture heads for a troubled start. Tesla would just be another EV company who did not succeed...And I agree with the posters above, Martins blog adds a lot of fuel into the fire.
    But I am pretty sure that whatever happens to Tesla, the 'green car' revolution is well underway and if not Tesla then another company will take its place.
     
  5. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    If you have been looking around the various automotive blogs lately and especially at the founder's blog, the speculation has already been rampant. The speculation already started when Martin was removed. Some people have given hope altogether on ever seeing a WhiteStar grace their garage after this news. The doom and gloom reporting is prevalent in most of the autoblogs. Of course to be fair, many of these autoblogs already viewed Tesla as similar to vaporware.

    After reading your post, I paraphrased some of what you were saying in Gizmodo's article in hopes of not spreading too much speculation.

    Sample doom and gloom article from Gizmodo:
    Is the Tesla Supercar Soon to be a Thing of Electric Car Fiction?
    Tesla: Is the Tesla Supercar Soon to be a Thing of Electric Car Fiction?
     
  6. mt2

    mt2 Member

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    Dear lord! Don't people research any more before opening their mouths? Gizmodo's article is the worst piece of journalistic crap I've read in a long time and the comments are, shall we say, appropriate for the venue?

    My favorite, or least favorite actually, is the theory that Tesla is shutting up shop and Big Oil is behind it. What? Where the hell did that come from?
     
  7. malcolm

    malcolm Active Member

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    But hang on. This entire site is all about speculating on things of which we know relatively little. Why should we hesitate over this? Elon is very rich and successful - of course I'm going to poke fun at him. But I know that my opinion on the recent changes at Tesla matters not one iota. I agree with Marc that "the situation is, what it is".

    I would agree that there is a need for balance here. Being "Pro-Martin" or "Pro-Elon" doesn't help either of them move forward. Drooling fanboys or Yes-men can inhibit progress just as much as bitter enemies.

    Your analogy that there comes a point where business people have to instill discipline into a new start-up like returning parents encountering a teenage party is the wrong image. Both sides have been well aware of the need for transition, but it has got out of hand.

    Tesla is going through a divorce. And you only have to observe one to see just how badly the grownups can behave.
     
  8. tonybelding

    tonybelding Active Member

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    I guess my point would be, there are two sides to every story, and we shouldn't let our imaginations run wild.

    I see a lot of imaginations running wild. . . It starts with "Tesla are firing lots of people." Then it goes around the rumor mill a few circuits and comes out as, "Tesla's owners have been paid off by Big Oil to dismantle the company."
     
  9. malcolm

    malcolm Active Member

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    Creativity needs constraints. There needs to be a certain level of opposition. Without it, mediocre or even good ideas don't get refined into great ideas. Hence the problem with fanboys.

    This is what Elon doesn't seem to get. His work and contributions are better for having people like Martin around. And vice versa. But so often, the rich have the means and the opportunity to remove the opposing viewpoints that help to make them great.

    Irony anyone?
     
  10. AGR

    AGR Member

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    When any company is sold or goes through substantial change, the new incumbents make changes that usually affect the outgoing incumbents.

    The new incumbents at Tesla are flexing their muscles to keep the investors content, and Tesla alive. Tesla is funded by private equity money, the credit markets have tightened up, funders expect returns for their investments, and timely progression of the project, and product.

    The lead and positive PR that Tesla enjoyed for quite some time is being eroded, and chipped away by several potential competitors.

    From a competitive automotive perspective the Volt took care of WhiteStar some time ago, the Fisker will generate buzz starting this week in Detroit, and the Chinese probably have a low cost electric car displayed in Detroit. Is Tesla in Detroit to reinforce their position?

    Displaying a Tesla Roadster with a Blaupunkt logo plastered on top of the windshield at CES....

    Tesla lays off 20 people, GM lays off thousands, Chrysler ads several thousands on top of the tens of thousands, in the automotive industry laying off people is a common occurence.

    Tesla went from the founder to an interim CEO to a new CEO and some house cleaning which was expected.

    Tesla urgently needs to start delivering as many Roadsters as possible to regain its stride.
     
  11. malcolm

    malcolm Active Member

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    #11 malcolm, Jan 14, 2008
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2008
    I would agree entirely.

    But I feel that the new management are missing the key trick. The only reason that Tesla is in the position of imminent launch (give or take a gearbox) is because of the loose company structure which has allowed for the free-flow of ideas between different groups over the last five years.

    As reported by Autobloggreen: "One example given was the engineering group that had four different areas with overlapping responsibilities. As a result, things fell through the cracks." Tesla Founder's Blog is live and Martin's not happy! - AutoblogGreen

    Oh come on! Things fall through cracks all the time; in all sorts of companies. Blaming this on an "open door" policy is just politically convenient. Tesla was deliberately set up to be a different type of automotive engineering company - and now the key investors don't like it?? The real problem at Tesla seems to have been too many head chefs and would-be head chefs arguing about the menu when they should have been watching for bottlenecks in the kitchen.

    The chosen solution seems to have been poorly chosen and clumsily executed.

    One US company which understands this need for flexibility in the face of deadlines, of course, is Pixar. In particular I admire the animator and director, Brad Bird.

    By all accounts he is a complete handful, but he understands the need to ignore some structures, even to the extent of getting a couple of interns to create the final animation for one scene in the Incredibles. As he describes it "They were totally terrified, but the did it anyway - which is the true meaning of courage!"

    Short item on the Pixar business model below:-

    Science & Strategy

    Old profile of Ed Catmull:-

    http://www.timeinc.net/fortune/conferences/innovation2006/images/fortunearticles/pixar_innovation.pdf
     
  12. Yanquetino

    Yanquetino Member

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    Streamlining concerns

    The additional dismissals at Tesla raise some questions in my mind about the wisdom behind the so-called streamlining and reorganization.

    As some of you will remember, I first started wondering about this several months ago when I noticed that the Vice-President of Sales and Distribution, Gretchen Joyce, and the Vice-President of Customer Service and Support, Mike Harrington, had disappeared from the "team" web page, and that their particular duties were now compiled under the sole rubric of the Vice-President of Marketing, Darryl Siry. Those struck me as absolutely crucial areas for a growing company and I had a hard time believing that one solitary executive could effectively oversee all three of them.

    Now I note that, according to the company's letter to customers:

    Again, I have a hard time imagining that the Chief Technical Officer, JB Straubel, can effectively oversee all of those areas, especially when --as far as I can tell from his short bio-- he has engineering training and experience, but nothing in manufacturing itself. I am by no means an expert in corporate management, but is it really prudent to "put all your eggs in one basket" like this? Shouldn't there be a manufacturing expert over manufacturing? And especially when a company is on the very brink of firing up the production line? Moreover, the areas of sales and distribution, customer service and support, will soon thereafter desperately require unwaivering, individualized leadership!

    At any rate, with all those shoes to fill, and now even fewer feet to fill them, it sure makes me wonder how in the world the CEO could conclude that “there wasn’t an obvious role for Martin” anymore in the company! It is more than obvious to me.
     
  13. AGR

    AGR Member

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    VP of sales and ditribution for what? No cars are delivered or sold yet, and they planned on doing it from their own stores...Tesla needs a VP to do what exactly?

    VP of customer service and support? Same thing no cars sold or delivered, where are the customers actually driving the cars?...Tesla needs a VP to do what?

    Lotus is doing most of the assembly work in England, you need engineers in California to do what? Tesla is not doing its own manufacturing, they need a manufacturing expert to do what exaclty?

    Tesla is primarily a marketing company with the manufacturing, assembly, engineering done by suppliers and suppliers of suppliers from England to Taiwan to China.

    Its still a repowered Lotus Elise and you would have to conclude that Lotus knows how to put an Elise together, they have been doing it for a few years. Lotus played the game with Tesla, the more the Tesla engineers in California tweaked and fine tuned the longer the delays got, Lotus does not care they probably made more money dealing with an engineering change here, a tweak there, an alteration somehwere else.

    The Tesla Roadster was an existing car as a Lotus Elise with crash tests already done since it was sold in North America. Making a decision to modify the car to the extent of requiring new crash tests which Lotus washed their hands since their car did not require crash tests....is probably what required the engineers in California.
     
  14. graham

    graham Active Member

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    Job bias claims rise to record - Careers- msnbc.com

     
  15. WarpedOne

    WarpedOne Mainecoon Butler

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    Here we go again, performance-related issuses ...
    There is only one person with performance related issuses at Tesla Motors...
     
  16. Kevin Harney

    Kevin Harney Active Member

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    Yeah if your performance is not related to his issues then you are fired LOL
     
  17. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    ugh, another lawsuit? They should just say that they don't comment on specific layoffs or something. Yikes, you'd think they learned the first time.
     
  18. dpeilow

    dpeilow Moderator

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    When was this guy laid off?
     
  19. graham

    graham Active Member

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    The article says "Late February" so I assume within the past 2 or 3 weeks.
     

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