"we will strictly uphold our no A-hole policy"
Unless he owns the business, of course
SpaceX has reportedly reacted to an open letter requesting accountability for Elon Musk by firing those involved. The alleged dismissals come just two days after an open letter to SpaceX president and COO Gwynne Shotwell began circulating in a SpaceX Teams channel. The missive from employees said Musk's recent actions have …
"...Or he believe the right applies to those with a billion or more?"
Yes, the latter. Don't expect Mr. Musk to make much sense these days. I chalk it up to a devastating midlife crisis. (IMHO of course). I wish his businesses well. But I also advise avoiding anything and everything Musk. He is unhinged, as I put it.
Musk is not unhinged, rather his greatest strength has become a weakness. Like Jobs before him, he has a tremendous amount of ability and self belief to go with it. Like Jobs he is a bit of a micromanager, trying to achieve perfection.
Unfortunately in this modern corporate world these same traits will be reinforced ad infinitum by the people around him like Shotwell, covering for him and "protecting him" from getting real feedback. The more unchallengeable he becomes the worse it'll get, until it really bites him in the ass. The best thing he could do is to do what similarly the unchallengable kings of history did and get himself a jester, someone with permission to tell him he's being an ass without any fear of being fired.
To their credit, the Washington Post has been covering the Amazon union stories pretty well, even breaking a few stories about Amazon's intimidation tactics.
Usually the bigger problem isn't who owns them, it's who pays them (i.e. advertisers). Maybe the media would cover the news differently if they had to be more candid about the fact that this story about how hard-done-by the insurance industry is will be followed by at least three adverts from insurance companies.
@VoiceOfTruth This is not really different to the so-called free press. Rarely will you find an article which criticises billionaire owners who live in tax havens.
That might be true of the billionaire oligarchs in what passes for journalism in Russia, but if you were actually in the UK you would know there is nothing the press likes more than to lay in to anyone successful.
I don't see too many articles in the Murdoch owned press criticizing Rupert Murdoch, his children, or his businesses (e.g. remember employees at one of his papers hacking the mobile phone of a murdered child? I don't think you'll find too many articles in the Murdoch owned papers and TV news berating the Murdoch empire for that one).
The late Robert Maxwell (his daughter Ghislaine has been in the news recently) successfully used libel laws to prevent the publication of his financial misdeeds, including using the Daily Mirror's pension fund as security to several different organisations. (https://www.ipe.com/tales-of-pension-fund-abuse/14159.article)
The rich and powerful have always been able to use the law to protect themselves from publicity.
"The rich and powerful have always been able to use the law to protect themselves from publicity."
True. And for the egalitarians among us: in theory the law applies equally to everyone. In reality, it's frequently open to interpretation, and making sure that interpretation falls in your favour costs huge amounts of money. Hence why it only really works for the rich.
Or the Daily Wail laying into folks using non-dom tax status, entirely accidentally forgetting to mention Lord Rothermere, e.g. https://www.thelondoneconomic.com/news/mail-asks-sunak-to-explain-tax-arrangements-ignoring-that-their-owner-is-a-non-dom-himself-319029/
Whether Musk is a pillock or not, he's the boss, so being publicly critical is not the most sensible of things to do if you wish to keep your job ... usually a contract clause such as "thou shall not bring the company or it's brand into disrepute" covers such occurrences.
If they enforced that one, Musk would have been out years ago - smoking spliffs in interviews, calling rescuers paedos, and many many more examples of bringing every company he is associated with in to disrepute.
I always encourage my staff to disagree with me. In the process one of us learns something and together we're better. Not wanting to listen to different opinions or criticism just shows how bad a person you are.
Giving a presentation to a top level board of directors of a public body (London Probation Area) I soon realised that I was 'the dumbest person' in the room (and I have a B.Sc. and a Ph.D. in mathematics). So, both scary and good at the same time. (The boss was asking all the questions I had been told not to answer, and I mean ALL of them.). Fortunately probation officers are the nicest clients I have ever had (not joking), so I survived.
My father, a mathematics teacher and later headmaster, had a class where one boy was better than him. That man has run experiments at Fermilab and CERN. So again, good and scary at the same time.
If you're the smartest person in the room...
...you will still be surrounded by people who know something that you don't. Even a complete moron may still possess skills or knowledge of value that you do not have.
At will employment doesn't mean you can fire people for any reason, it means you can fire people for any LEGAL reason. i.e. you cannot fire someone because you find out they are gay and you think homosexuality is sin, but you can fire someone if you find out they have a black cat, and you think black cats are the devil's servants.
Firing people because they wrote this open letter would probably not be a legal reason in an at will state - there's more than enough for a lawyer to take the case and who knows what happens then. Maybe they win, maybe they don't, most likely SpaceX would end up settling as the least risky alternative. If they can instead make the claim they fired these people for harassing other employees then there would be no case, as that's a perfectly legal reason.
you think black cats are the devil's servants
All hail our tenebrous feline overlords!
(I have two of that fur colour and, despite the 9 years age difference and having no genetic link other than coat colour, they are remarkably alike in personality.
The other cats (apart from the ex-farm tortie) know to knuckle their foreheads and obey. The tortie (who is the least tortie-personality tortie I've ever known) just stares back and, if hassled, explodes into a ball of knives. The other cats don't push her - I suspect it's being a semi-feral farm cat for her first 3 months taught her colony survival skills..
her brother is the only one that is allowed to hassle her - he's twice her size but doesn't have enough braincells to remember that it's a bad idea to hassle her.
I'm less convinced..
Micro-aggressions all the way to explicit race-based name calling and other intolerable aggressive behaviors occur here and this is completely not OK. SpaceX does not tolerate discrimination..
...unless we consider you an A-hole, in which case you'll be terminated immediately. So obviously discriminatory against A-holes, as well as being a rather aggressive way to lable them.
(Now back to hoping Starship's launch will be on July 4th, because who doesn't love fireworks? Or finding out whether 'chop sticks' were a bad way to safely land a fragile bomb.)
That's what SpaceX management would *like* you to think, sure. Of course they're going to paint it in as bad a light as they can manage. An *even closer* reading, though, suggests they're being vague about it. So they sent it to "thousands" of people? Well, yeah, if you want to circulate an open letter, you send it to everyone you can. Why not? It's an *open* letter. That's sort of the point. Not much point in writing it and sending it to nobody. So they sent it "repeatedly"? What does that mean, exactly? Would, for instance, it count as "repeatedly" if they sent it to a mailing list, there was some discussion, and they replied to it? Would it count as "repeatedly" if someone sent it twice? Is that a firing offence, do you reckon? Does it count as "repeatedly" if two different people sent it?
Yep, sending someone an email several times saying "hey we invite everyone interested to sign this open letter" and later "last chance to sign this open letter" is not firing level harassment.
Now if they were getting up in people's faces in person and asking them repeatedly to sign it after being turned down in no uncertain terms that would be a different matter.
If you have a job you really like other than one thing that really bothers you, why not take a shot at possibly addressing that one thing? If you just quit and take another job, and after you've been there three months you realize it also has one (different) thing that really bothers you will you quit it as well?
To put in more simple terms, let's say you really liked your job other than a dress code that requires you to wear a tie, even though you aren't customer facing. Would you quit and get another job (which maybe has no dress code but would almost certainly have other issues because no job is perfect) or would you talk to your co-workers, and if enough people agreed with you go to your boss asking for the dress code to be changed to no longer require wearing a tie? If they say no, you're no worse off and can still quit if you want, but the upside is maybe it works.
"If you have a job you really like other than one thing that really bothers you, why not take a shot at possibly addressing that one thing?"
If the 'one thing' that bothers you is excessive D&I nonsense, then the problem is you, and you need to 'educate yourself'. As the wokerati like to say.
I found that line of the letter to be bizarre and lacking critical thinking skills. It suggests that if SpaceX does not explicitly state that, for example, murder is unacceptable, then (according to the letter writers) SpaceX implicitly endorses murder. I have no idea how they expect SpaceX to write a fully comprehensive list of all the unpredictable things that Elon Musk might do and indicate what subset of those things might be acceptable or unacceptable.
The letter reminds me of an anecdote I heard from a friend who used to play SimCity. He built an airport well outside of a city, and later urban sprawl resulted in the city expanding to meet the airport. At this point, complaints were raised from those living near the airport that the airport was causing too much noise pollution and hence should be shut down.
Being an outspoken, larger-than-life character who takes on supposedly impossible projects (and often succeeds in them) and sometimes says controversial things has always been par for the course with Elon Musk. People who chose to work for him should have realised that about him, so it seems strange that they should now complain about his behaviour.
When I read Ashlee Vance's excellent, warts-and-all biography of Elon Musk a few years ago, I decided that: (1) I would not want to work in any of his companies; (2) (if I were female) I would not want to date him; and (3) he is an intelligent, determined workaholic whose companies have a better than average chance of being successful at supposedly-impossible goals so I should buy some shares in Tesla.
That was an example. Another example might be picking your nose and wiping the snot on somebody's jacket. There are an almost limitless number of examples that might be given, and it is unreasonable to expect SpaceX management to exhaustively list all unacceptable behaviours.
I have no comment about him breaking financial rules. However, your comment about the defamation case is a bad example, for two reasons. First, he won the case, thus indicating that he did not break the law. Second, even if he lost the case, he would have been found in breach of civil law (thus facing a fine) rather than in breach of criminal law (thus possibly facing time in prison).
I should buy some shares in Tesla.
The latest RISKS Digest has quite a summation of the things he doesn't want you to know about Tesla, and I added a few things:
And mildy amusing (OK, more Schadenfreude): https://www.dailydot.com/debug/tesla-crash-vision-jet-autpilot-video/
How many crashes total are there in 10 months. Not a couple hundred, thousands, or tens of thousands. Millions and we are splitting hairs on a fraction of accidents?
If a human was driving would it have still crashed? How many accidents did the autopilot prevent over those 10 months?
How is the crash attributed if a non-tesla crashes into a tesla. I bet it's a crash. People can't read minds but the autopilot is blamed when it doesn't?
Aren't people driving the cars specifically warned they need to pay attention and react if the tesla autopilot misjudges the circumstances? It is the autopilot code's fault the operator is negligent?
Who thinks that tesla self-driving mode is perfected at this point. Even if it was, doesn't human error still occurs?
It is OK to be critical of Musk and his company's products but calling out flaws when no companies are trying to achieve that level of achievement is just trolling.
I bought shares at a split adjusted price of about $61, so even with Tesla's share price losing about 50% in the past six months, I am still up 10x.
As for the recent NHTSA announcement... I don't know if there is cause for concern because meaningful comparisons were not provided. For example, let's hypothetically assume the rate of accidents per 1000 miles in driver-assist/autonomous-driving vehicles is higher in a Tesla than in a competing brand of car that also has driver-assist/autonomous-driving capability. Is that bad? I don't know, because if the accident rate in a Tesla is less than the accident rate in unassisted vehicles, then Tesla cars would still be safer than unassisted vehicles.
It is unfortunate that NHTSA provided the data without providing meaningful comparisons, since it invites people to jump to (possibly incorrect) conclusions. You certainly seemed to have done so.
Don't bother responding. You have already displayed a lack of critical thinking ability and you posted anonymously, so I am dismissing you as a troll.
"NHTSA: 'Self-driving' cars were linked to 392 crashes in 10 months
NHTSA report shows Tesla Autopilot led the pack in crashes, but the data has gaps (techcrunch)
NHTSA data shows Teslas using Autopilot crashed 273 times in less than a year
That same report also includes the caveats that Tesla has far more vehicles with "self-driving" on the roads than any other company and that not all other "self driving" cars actually report individual accidents where the "self driving" or "advanced driver assistance" is at fault.
I'm certainly not here to defend Tesla in way shape or form, but I did read the articles on that report properly and fully. Clearly you have some other motive in posting something which on the face of it supports your position but when read properly, say almost to the opposite.
"The letter reminds me of an anecdote I heard from a friend who used to play SimCity. He built an airport well outside of a city, and later urban sprawl resulted in the city expanding to meet the airport. At this point, complaints were raised from those living near the airport that the airport was causing too much noise pollution and hence should be shut down."
That's just real life too. See just about any major airport worldwide. Amsterdam Schiphol is a prime example, people move in very close to the airport that's been there for decades, then complain about the noise. There's literally been news articles about how there's a lot of housing planned within the noise contours of the airport and their "solution" is to call for reducing the number of flights and noise levels instead of stating "maybe we shouldn't be building there?".
Maybe its a modern thing but someone should have explained to these people some of the basics about employment. One is that you don't make (critical) statements about your employer in public. Its not just because you are just a 'droid but also because your company, and so your employment, depends on the company's image and you do nobody any favors by trashing it. Employment isn't a commune or even a democracy, its an autocracy, and even an employee owned company like Huawei is run like a conventional company, it just as the employees as shareholders.
Its true that employees are often consulted about company policies and direction but this isn't democracy, its 'consultative dictatorship'. In a relatively few companies there are labor unions that act as a counteweight to this dictatorship (that's why they're so hated by most employers) but even if you are a member of such an organization you're not going to make a load of friends by loudly criticizing policies in public.
FWIW When I've posted things that reference where I work or have worked I try to word it as if its going to be read by the corporate legal department. I don't mention my current or previous employment on non-employment forums. If the site is about jobs and employers (e.g. glassdoor) I keep strictly to relevant facts (and I make sure those facts are really accurate).
As for Elon Musk himself, any employee or investor knows all about him and so is unliekly to be surprised by anything he says or does. (Supporting a Republican president, though? I think he really may be losing it.....)
On the other hand, and in some cases, you could argue that the reputational damage to the organization was already in progress (perhaps e.g. due to widely publicized misbehaviour by some in management).
Thus when employees raise this as an issue, they are arguably acting to *protect* the organizational reputation, by (a) showing that parts of the organization do have principles/standards/whatever, thus mitigating negative perceptions; and (b) hoping to stop the misbehaviour from continuing, thus stopping additional and ongoing reputational damage to the organization.
First, this was about SpaceX employees participating in internal discussions with other internal employees. It got leaked, but it's not like they started by writing an op-ed in the Times.
Old school business culture was an is, as whole, a self serving mess, promoted by bad managers who would rather paper over problems then deal with them. That said, diplomacy and the back channel have their place and purpose, but when toxic, problematic, and probably illegal conduct has gone unchecked, other methods must be used.
SpaceX will probably end up paying out most of these employees in wrongful termination suits. They will wind up staffing up the competition. Others that were not so bold will lose faith in the organization and move on.
This is how so many companies squander their success. It's SpaceX's game to give away at this point, this is how running an old 70's management playbook 50 years later plays out. "Never speak up for yourself or you get fired" isn't the way businesses should operate. Not then, and not now.
"Maybe its a modern thing but someone should have explained to these people some of the basics about employment. One is that you don't make (critical) statements about your employer in public."
It has not, AFAIK, been reported that they did this. This was an "open" letter in the sense that it was circulated *within the company*, it was not officially released to the public.
It then got leaked to the press, but none of the reporting I've read so far states that the authors of the letter were also the ones that leaked it.
The mail from SpaceX management also does not appear to say that people were fired for posting the letter publicly or leaking it.
If you've watched any videos or read materials about organizing unions in the US you'd know that this sort of internal circular about working conditions, management, wages or what-have-you is asking for trouble. Management in US companies is paranoid about anything that smacks of organization and will come down heavily on anyone who appears to be doing this, even informally. Since California is an 'at will' state employees don't have a lot of rights, you can be fired at any time with zero notice if the company chooses to. (...and yes, I've seen it done....although its relatively rare among exempt staff because you don't want to spook others)(and yes, there will be an 'official explanation' and a prohibition of discussing what happened which if you don't abide by it may ell lead to 'consequences')
Someone else has remarked about 'old school managers'. This is inevitable. As a company grows past the start-up phase its going to the the usual cadre of experienced managers. Since SpaceX's facility is at the center of the thinning aerospace industry in Southern California its likely it will have picked up more than a couple of managers with traditional aerospace management mindsets despite its best efforts. Thus the seeds of destruction are sown.
Incidentally, we don't run a blacklist in SoCal -- AFAIK -- but all the HR people seem to know each other.
The reality is that leadership is not interested, despite their feigned pretence. They might give you a token reward or a "gold star" but they'll do whatever they want, as they always have done, and if they really don't like your feedback, they'll fire you.
There is no incentive to assist management through constructive criticism, just disincentives.
This is common in large corporations.
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My large US corporation deliberately changed from anonymous to "confidential" feedback. Presumably because it wanted to identify the dissenters.
Needless to say, it had a chilling effect and constructive criticism dropped off a cliff, just leaving the yes-men's feedback. Not surprisingly, our "success" metric just keeps rising... along with the number of resignations.
The letter asked SpaceX management to break the relationship between SpaceX and Elon Musk.
This is in effect asking "Whose continued contribution do SpaceX management value higher: us small group of grumbling employees or Elon Musk?"
The management answered their question by firing the party whose continued contribution was considered to have lower value.
If you ask a stupid question, don't be surprised if you don't like the answer.
A bunch of SpaceX employees wanted the SpaceX "brand" to be separate from Elon Musk. They said he embarrassed them. What morons! He justifiably fired them. You don't let the tail wag the dog. Their inflated sense of worth is akin to presidential speech writer Patrick Buchanan actually thinking he could run for president. He was a flaming speech writer for crying out loud!
Yo, morons of the world. Free speech can't cover for insubordination. I've heard some ringside pundits liken Elon Musk to Howard Hughes. Baloney! Mr. Musk, my church has finally learned that you don't let your enemies define you. The moniker "Mormon" was invented by our enemies. You're not anything like Howard Hughes. You've thrown Tesla patents into the public domain because you're out to save the world.
Godspeed, you magnificent SOB. Godspeed.
"resulting in a workplace culture that remains firmly rooted in the status quo."
Since that workplace culture is apparently working for SpaceX quite well I don't see why that would be a bad thing. If YOU don't like the company culture and status quo, LEAVE. Or work together with your co-workers to change that culture internally without broad public "see how "good" I am" rhetoric calling out management. They don't like being embarassed.