back to article Elon Musk's cost-cutting campaign at Twitter extended to not paying rent, claims landlord

While we all enjoyed a brief holiday season of not having to think about Twitter or its new owner, one landlord has alleged that Elon Musk's cost-cutting campaign at the company has extended to not paying rent. According to a lawsuit [PDF] filed by Columbia Property Trust, which owns the office tower at 650 California Street …

  1. alain williams Silver badge

    Are they still paying staff salaries ?

    Of those few who remain.

    1. NoneSuch Silver badge

      Re: Are they still paying staff salaries ?

      I would bet the accounting staff that dealt with such trivial things like rent and power bills left for other green pastures.

      Let's hope their Internet bill is up to date. :P

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Are they still paying staff salaries ?

      There are complaints from people who left saying that they weren't paid compensation.

    3. aerogems Silver badge

      Re: Are they still paying staff salaries ?

      Not sure about those who stayed, but I know a lot of people who were put on gardening leave or laid off have complained about things like insurance being terminated, not getting paid, retirement fund contributions not being made, and just about every other cheapskate douchebag thing you can probably think of. In a sort of hoist by their own petard sort of way, around now a whole slew of private arbitration complaints (that Twitter has to pay the fee for) should be getting filed all over the country --the Twitter employment contract stipulated that the arbitration had to be within a 45-minute drive of the employee's location.

      While I feel bad for the Twitter employees who were put on gardening leave or laid off (not so much for the kool-aid drinkers who signed up to be "hardcore") if this destroys the myth of Elon Musk the genius businessman, then at least their sacrifice won't have been without purpose. I also feel bad for the Tesla employees who are likely going to be getting the axe because of how Twitler has destroyed the stock price since putting his douchebaggery on full display over at Twitter.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Lets be fair

        While that may have been the needle, the Tesla share price bubble would have burst in short order regardless.

        The real question is if they can hang on the S&P 500 or not. Because that position essentially forces a large number of index funds to hold Telsa stock regardless of the roller coaster, and those funds tend be fueled by pension funds and other large players. So if they lose their spot, their stock will take another huge hit as those funds close those positions. So aside from any brave short squeeze attempts, the stock will probably further tank after that, and in the ensuing bloodbath.

        A future buying opportunity for the bold or brainless, but likely a hole in the floor to throw burning money in for the time being.

        IT will be interesting to see how the index funds to now that Tesla and the FANG stocks have all eaten a major correction. Might help my retirement account bounce back a bit.

      2. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Are they still paying staff salaries ?

        "people who were put on gardening leave or laid off have complained about things like insurance being terminated, not getting paid, retirement fund contributions not being made"

        It could be those payments aren't being made due to the people that would have been processing those payments getting sacked. I'd expect some slowdown in outgoing money as things get double checked in case anybody in accounting or former management has had a little adventurism in place to siphon funds, but I'd also expect a full audit by a third party firm.

  2. Pen-y-gors

    Inevutable

    Presumably he sacked the entire accounts department because they weren't cutting code.

    And contracts entered into by the previous manager 's are still binding. The company hasn't changed.

    1. Timop

      Re: Inevutable

      Probably the laziest possible layman's genious legal lifehack with that "these expenses were not authorised by me" there. Good luck trying to set the bar any lower.

      1. Nate Amsden

        Re: Inevutable

        I left a position 2 companies ago(~12 years ago). I've always made it a point not to sign contracts myself even if I had authority(and in many cases the companies I worked for didn't care if I signed provided it was approved, but often times I just prefer not to personally sign regardless).

        Anyway after I left the CTO tried to terminate one of the contracts, I think it was either for a DNS provider Dyn, or Webmetrics for website monitoring. They were under contract but said the contracts weren't valid because I wasn't authorized to sign. Funny thing is the vendor pulled up the contract and found/showed my former employer(who is long out of business now) that in fact it was my Senior Director who signed for the contract in question(same director essentially resigned a day after I left, later tried to recruit me to join him at Oracle cloud but I declined and he later retired), not me, and so their argument was invalid. I got a good laugh out of that story.

      2. SkippyBing

        Re: Inevutable

        Honestly it makes some of my 14 year old step son's money making ideas look like genius.

      3. J. Cook Silver badge
        Go

        Re: Inevutable

        genius legal lifehack with that "these expenses were not authorized by me" there.

        I mean, it sorta worked for Disney when they refused to pay royalties to the authors that wrote some of the star wars tie-in / movie adaptation novels, although the PR mess when that hit the fan was equally amusing.

        This is just a delaying tactic, but it'll make it all the more entertaining when it does finally explode.

    2. zuckzuckgo
      Trollface

      Re: Inevutable

      Clearly the accounts payable department just failed to demonstrate a positive cash flow, more money flowing out than in. All fired. Problem solved.

      As a mere mortal you just fail to see the genius of it all.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Inevutable

        Shirley the accounts receivable department ought to be expanding then?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Inevutable

          Given that that is subject to reality despite Musk's attempts to avoid such I'd say that one has shrunk considerably too..

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Inevutable

          Sorry, Shirley was one of the first ones fired.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Inevutable

      So Elon thinks the contracts and leases aren't valid, eh? I guess he's planning on moving Twitter's office's at the end of February, then, seeing as he doesn't have any rental property with a valid lease... I hear he has a rather large bedroom. :P

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Inevutable

        I hear he has a rather large bedroom

        And it's free as well, given that he apparently prefers to sleep on factory floors for marketing reasons..

  3. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    He’s a self-obsessed narcissistic bore who thinks he’s above everything.

  4. trevorde Silver badge

    Twitter Turnaround

    You may have read that Twitter is no longer paying rent on its offices. This was authorised by former management, not myself personally, so we will no longer be paying.

    Similarly, your salary was negotiated by former management, not myself personally, so we will no longer be paying you.

    Please note that you signed up to work long hours at high intensity, so you will still be expected to work at least 80hrs per week.

    Yours faithfully

    Elon Musk

    PS we have also stopped paying our server bills

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Twitter Turnaround

      PS we have also stopped paying our server bills... Because I'll be yanking the plug, personally!

      1. MrDamage Silver badge

        Re: Twitter Turnaround

        If he yanks the plugs, he'll have wasted a lot of money on hair transplants.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Twitter Turnaround

          And out of left field... love it! :)

    2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: Twitter Turnaround

      PS we have also stopped paying our server bills

      I've just realised that I don't know whether Twitter runs on cloud servers or its own kit. I'm sure someone round here does.

      1. General Purpose

        Re: Twitter Turnaround

        Their own blog in 2017 talks of data centers without locations or numbers, but in 2018 a report talked of leased data center space in Sacramento and Atlanta, and of moving about 20% to cloud. December 2022 reports added Portland, with Sacramento being shut down and Atlanta downsized.

        https://blog.twitter.com/engineering/en_us/topics/infrastructure/2017/the-infrastructure-behind-twitter-scale

        https://www.datacenterknowledge.com/twitter/twitter-turns-google-cloud-better-cope-scale

        https://www.datacenterdynamics.com/en/news/report-twitter-is-shutting-down-sacramento-data-center-downsizing-atlanta-facility/

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: Twitter Turnaround

          "Their own blog in 2017 talks of data centers without locations or numbers"

          There can be a lot of tap dancing around whether a company owns their own centers, hardware or connections. I expect that quite a number of companies have no more than their own rack at a data center that's managed for them under contract. They'll then show a map of all the places they have infrastructure in a very vague sort of way. No addresses and the map pin resolution will cover a large area.

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: Twitter Turnaround

            I suspect that a lot of their stuff is dependent on CDN too, which they will be renting.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Long Term Bonkers

    At a time when other Musk companies are struggling with supply issues, the last thing I'd have thought he'd need is to develop a reputation for not paying bills. Tesla in particular are vulnerable to supply problems, as they're a mass manufacturer.

    I've no idea what Tesla's relationships with suppliers presently is, but they might note what Musk is like in a company when things get tight. If Tesla ever does get into a tight position, all it takes is one supplier to remember this and play a hard game with terms, and Tesla could get into real trouble. Especially as Musk's approach to business seems to be impetuous, and with little regard for long term consequences; there may be a lack of good will / mutual trust (= cash up front please). Things are very different now to the earlier days of Tesla, back when Musk Could Do No Wrong (tm).

    1. Ian Mason

      Re: Long Term Bonkers

      Telsa don't, for all practical purposes, have supply issues as they are currently unable to sell the inventory of completed cars that they have on hand. Tesla have been cutting proces and they have just started offering discounts for the first time ever

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Long Term Bonkers

        "Telsa don't, for all practical purposes, have supply issues as they are currently unable to sell the inventory of completed cars that they have on hand. Tesla have been cutting proces and they have just started offering discounts for the first time ever"

        They've offered discounts before, but perhaps not as deep. If not discounts, price changes that fluctuate more rapidly than one would expect. Without a tremendous amount of information, it does seem that Tesla's production is getting fairly close to demand based on lead times. Maybe the end of 2022 sale was being used to empty storage lots of models/option groups that weren't selling from unallocated builds. I'd expect that they'd slot in the higher spec'd builds in the places where they didn't have a predetermined buyer. It's often been possible to get a fully configured Tesla much quicker than a base model.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Long Term Bonkers

      If Tesla ever does get into a tight position

      It already is, that's why the shares have been tanking and I suspect that's why Musk is avoiding going there right now. It's not selling as fast, partly due to economics, partly due to the brand having lost its shine so it's mainly selling to a rapidly depleting stock of Musk fans and other car companies are starting to offer EVs that are just more pleasant and not so bare bones - at far better prices.

      IMHO Musk's attitude and Twitter activities have not exactly helped either - from a shareholder's perspective I think it could be argued he's presently more a liability.

      1. bazza Silver badge

        Re: Long Term Bonkers

        Thing is, Tesla still has a major advantage over other car companies in that it has an extensive charging network. It's like Ford owning a large number of petrol stations. Sure, the technological / logistical gap is closing but Tesla remains the one to beat.

        One wonders how much of it is economics, and how much of it is lost shine. I've seen the effect the cult of Musk has previously had on none-techies; some kind of techno-god who could do no wrong. Not any more - complete opposite. Tricky thing, using a personality cult to sell cars; great when it works, not great if the personal image gets trashed.

        It could get a lot worse too. Here in the UK there was a travel debacle when loads of people travelling back after Christmas had long, long journeys because they were waiting for hours at charging stations along with every other EV driver. There'll be a lot of wives with the whines of bored kids stuck in a crowded grubby service station for 8 hours still ringing in their ears who will be saying, "never again". Could be a lot of Teslas (and other EVs) going on the second hand market this summer.

        [I've not got a Tesla]

        1. Ace2 Silver badge

          Re: Long Term Bonkers

          I do have a Tesla, and a big factor in the purchase was the charger network. It has been excellent and friction-free so far.

          (Conventional wisdom is that the non-Tesla chargers, while plentiful, are only sometimes in service, and that the companies that built them are disinterested in improving things.)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Long Term Bonkers

          Thing is, Tesla still has a major advantage over other car companies in that it has an extensive charging network.

          There are already plenty providers (at least in Europe) who offer faster chargers which are universal, i.e. their investment reaches a larger audience now Tesla is getting solid competition. Add to that that these other companies will not boot you off the fast charger network if you dare repair your car with spare parts not obtained from the dealer and I think that advantage is pretty much history.

          As for the queueing, yes, that will remain a problem for quite some time because it needs a lot more background infrastructure (which is why I find current 'all electric' target dates unrealistic and also wrong - the deadline should be CO2 free, not just "electric" as there are also e-fuels being developed, i.e. reclaimed CO2 + power).

          One of the major problems to solve remains power generation - until we get a couple of MSRs planted here and there I don't deem a full conversion to EV even feasible. And HGVs probably need something like solid hydrogen to carry enough power for a day, that too needs 'greener' power to generate (it so happens that MSRs run at a high enough temperature to facilitate generating that too).

          Anyway, for the moment I'm sticking to a hybrid. It's not completely always dragging a dead engine along as the electric part picks up regenartive energy, but at present it's the only solution that fits my mix of short and long travel - I can't afford to burn 3 hours worth of charging on a 9 hour journey as one recent experiment demonstrated. Also, running out of power in an EV is *really* problematic..

          1. MachDiamond Silver badge

            Re: Long Term Bonkers

            "I can't afford to burn 3 hours worth of charging on a 9 hour journey as one recent experiment demonstrated. Also, running out of power in an EV is *really* problematic.."

            3 hours of charging is way off the mark. You'd need to supply the route, vehicle and schedule if that trip was actually made that way. Kia/Hyundai are addressing the travel issues with models that can charge from 10-80% in under 20 minutes. On my long trips, 20 minutes has been an average non-meal stop. About half of that time is spent refueling, but I need more time now to stretch my legs than I used to. A stop with a meal is at least 45 minutes and I would rather not eat while driving if I can. This leads to a 9 hour journey with 3 charging stops totaling between 60 and 90 minutes. Not really much different than an ICEV.

            Running out of fuel in any car is a problem. Make up your mind that you aren't going to do that before you leave on a long trip. If that means spending some time planning, that will be a good use of time. There are some petrol/diesel cars and trucks that use the fuel to cool an undersized pump so running out of fuel can mean an expensive replacement of the fuel pump assembly. You'd be on the road much faster if you only needed to recharge your EV's battery.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Long Term Bonkers

              Let's see you walk to the nearest charging station with a Jerry Can for your EV... go ahead. We'll wait.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Long Term Bonkers

                .. or make it to any power socket with your loooong extension lead. That said, some non-Tesla EVs can also provide power, so they could at least get you going until you make it off the motorway - assuming you brought along the home charger cable as well..

                1. werdsmith Silver badge

                  Re: Long Term Bonkers

                  The AA and other breakdown services carry portable chargers that can add approx 7.5 miles of range in 15 minutes.

                  However, the portable chargers packs that you can buy are considerably more expensive and heavier than a petrol container. They are on wheely wheels with a handle like luggage.

                  1. phuzz Silver badge

                    Re: Long Term Bonkers

                    If they're that big, why not just carry a small generator?

                    Of course, if it was integrated into the car, you could run it while you were driving to extend the range...oh wait, I've just reinvented hybrids haven't I?

              2. MachDiamond Silver badge

                Re: Long Term Bonkers

                "Let's see you walk to the nearest charging station with a Jerry Can for your EV... go ahead. We'll wait."

                There's no reason you should run out of power in an EV. If you run out of petrol often now, don't get an EV or pay for extended roadside service. There are more and more places with EV rescue services to give people a bit of a charge, but it might be faster to get a tow.

              3. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

                Re: Long Term Bonkers

                "Let's see you walk to the nearest charging station with a Jerry Can for your EV... go ahead. We'll wait."

                Oh, yeah, I've walked to a petrol station many times. Oh, wait.. no. Never happened. Don't have a can in the car either.

                What will happen in the future is that some large van with massive batteries will come out and rapid-charge your depleted batteries (due to your own stupidity) so you can reach the nearest normal charger.

            2. juice

              Re: Long Term Bonkers

              > Kia/Hyundai are addressing the travel issues with models that can charge from 10-80% in under 20 minutes. On my long trips, 20 minutes has been an average non-meal stop. About half of that time is spent refueling, but I need more time now to stretch my legs than I used to

              I'll partly agree with this.

              I recently had to travel to a data centre with a colleague which is about ~60 miles away; we met at work and then drove over there in his (Hyundai, I think) eCar.

              Then on the way back, we stopped at a service station, plugged the car in for a recharge and went to grab food. And when we came back around 25m later, his car battery had slurped up about 50% of it's capacity.

              And there were around a dozen charging stations scattered around the service station's car park, of which about two-thirds were unused.

              On the other hand... the reason why we had to stop was because the estimated range for his car had pretty much been cut in half, thanks to a combination of near-zero temperature affecting the battery, the need to have heating on in the car and the extra weight of a passenger and a couple of servers.

              Put simply, if we hadn't stopped, we'd have ended up pushing the car all the way home.

              To be fair, that sort of thing is all part of the learning curve for new technology. But having up to a 35% hit to your range when there's low temperature is a pretty major thing to have to work around!

              Still, at least there's no risk of a battery freezing solid if we get any siberian weather conditions, unlike my old diesel workhorse ;)

              1. MachDiamond Silver badge

                Re: Long Term Bonkers

                "But having up to a 35% hit to your range when there's low temperature is a pretty major thing to have to work around!"

                The gent at Electric Classic Cars did a test of several popular EV's summer and winter range in the UK and the worst was about 21% (The Taycan, I believe). It's a recent video on his YouTube channel. There are techniques to mitigate 'coldgating' problems.

                Only a couple of the newest Kia/Hyundai EV models can charge super fast. The Ionic 5 and, I think, the EV6. The Niro and Kona are much slower topping out at around 75kW.

    3. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Long Term Bonkers

      "Tesla in particular are vulnerable to supply problems, as they're a mass manufacturer."

      They also need banks to provide them with lines of credit and other facilities. If Elon burns his banking partners on the Twitter deal, those banks could put pressure on the Tesla board to make changes in their bylaws so they can hire a new CEO. It would look really bad if the banks accelerated loans to Tesla or started demanding more security for lines of credit needed to finance inventory. There isn't going to be a wall between Twitter, Tesla and SpaceX in the bankers eyes.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Long Term Bonkers

        They also need banks to provide them with lines of credit and other facilities.

        Christ, yes, I totally forgot about this. The amount of capital tied up in stock and a just-in-time supply chain could indeed become a major factor if Musk loses the trust of those who finance this. At that point the whole Tesla show would simply come to what FSD fails to deliver for children: a dead stop..

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you wish to be a capitalist, you have to abide to capitalism rules

    Which include honoring contracts even after an acquisition - you should have known what you were going to buy.

    Otherwise it's just despotism.

    1. F. Frederick Skitty Silver badge

      Re: If you wish to be a capitalist, you have to abide to capitalism rules

      It's the classic Trump approach to business - refuse to pay bills and hope the creditors go bust before they can get you to court. Musk is just another amoral dipshit who thinks he's a business genius

      1. Someone Else Silver badge

        Re: If you wish to be a capitalist, you have to abide to capitalism rules

        Isn't 'business genius' an oxymoron?

        Right up there with 'marketing genius' and 'fair market....'

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: If you wish to be a capitalist, you have to abide to capitalism rules

          No, this business "genius" is merely a regular moron.

          :)

      2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: If you wish to be a capitalist, you have to abide to capitalism rules

        It's the classic Trump approach to business - refuse to pay bills and hope the creditors go bust before they can get you to court.

        I thought Trump set up a company for each project and engineered it so the company went bankrupt leaving its suppliers unpaid, which is subtly different and generally avoids any risk of courts completely.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: If you wish to be a capitalist, you have to abide to capitalism rules

          From a supplier's perspective the result is the same, though, and the consequences :(.

        2. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: If you wish to be a capitalist, you have to abide to capitalism rules

          It's the classic Trump approach to business - refuse to pay bills and hope the creditors go bust before they can get you to court.

          It will be the appointed receiver taking them to court. Does the same thing happen with chapter 11? I would assume so.

          Anyway, a business that operated that way should have some difficulty finding suppliers willing to work with them.

        3. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: If you wish to be a capitalist, you have to abide to capitalism rules

          "I thought Trump set up a company for each project and engineered it so the company went bankrupt leaving its suppliers unpaid,"

          A bunch of "Trump" business went bankrupt after Mr Trump had sold them. The businesses retained the Trump name but were no longer affiliated with him. I know that in at least one case there was a court decision that allowed the buyer to continue trading under the Trump name. It was something like Trump Plaza or some such name and not just "Trump". The judge decided that the name was part of the sale.

          Lots of developers set their enterprises up as stand-alone entities so they can seek bankruptcy protection without taking down other profitable businesses. Mr Trump is a bit too full of himself to need to put his name on everything which makes people notice more. That I can't recall anybody else with a similar record off the top of my head sort of makes the point. I'm sure tomorrow I'll remember a couple.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: If you wish to be a capitalist, you have to abide to capitalism rules

            A bunch of "Trump" business went bankrupt after Mr Trump had sold them.

            Yeah, and a bunch went bankrupt while he still owned them. What's your point?

            1. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: If you wish to be a capitalist, you have to abide to capitalism rules

              "Yeah, and a bunch went bankrupt while he still owned them. What's your point?"

              Mainly that many entities do the same thing. It's like a number of people I've seen on YouTube admit to buying some things at a local shop for a photo shoot and return them after their are done for a refund. It's a slimy thing to do, but it's not novel.

              There are good business reasons to structure large projects as stand-alone businesses and it's not just so they can go bankrupt individually. Banks can often prefer it that way.

      3. bazza Silver badge

        Re: If you wish to be a capitalist, you have to abide to capitalism rules

        The US car manufacturers were notorious for that kind of business practice too; order up a million alternators from a supplier and then not pay the bill.

        This is partly what let Toyota (in particular) and the Japanese manufacturers (in general) into the US market. Toyota have a very interesting way of relating to suppliers; far less commercial, far more about partnership and quality. And they pay their bills. What happened was that US suppliers found that doing business with Toyota was reliable, safe, profitable, and high quality. That is, the kind of business relationship that means next time some other scum bag big customer places an order, you reject it. So, Toyota cornered all the good, capable suppliers, contributing to Toyota's legendary quality / longevity, and a big slice of the US market deserts the US brands.

        There's some interesting stories about the adjustments US companies and US personnel had to make to do business with Toyota. One US guy new to the Toyota Production System was running an engine assembly plant proudly reported a solid month's worth ceaseless production, only to be gently told that that was the wrong thing altogether. Things are always going wrong in production, and what Toyota wanted was for the line to stop when they did, because that'd mean the problems would get fixed (Andon, as the Japanese call it). Better to build fewer engines properly than more engines badly was the message.

        This is the lunacy of Trump - ultimately, such an approach is doomed to fail, and may well come back to bight before you can get safely into one's grave.

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: If you wish to be a capitalist, you have to abide to capitalism rules

          "Better to build fewer engines properly than more engines badly was the message."

          When I owned a manufacturing company, that was my mantra as well although I didn't know that Toyota thought the same way. I could easily see that on top of wasted labor, I'd have a whole bunch of wasted components that couldn't be reused. The costs just mounted if a sub-standard product made it all the way to a customer.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: If you wish to be a capitalist, you have to abide to capitalism rules

            There is a great American Life podcast on Toyota trying to explain this to American car makers. Ironically the plant they built is the one Telsa use in California

            It wasn't just build engines badly. The US companies paid/penalised workers on their specific task - if the previous part was faulty you would just smash your stuff on top, even if that meant breaking both. Cars left the assembly line as a right-off when it could have just meant stopping to replace a stripped bolt.

          2. bazza Silver badge

            Re: If you wish to be a capitalist, you have to abide to capitalism rules

            You'd fit right in at Toyota! Quality sells, providing you have customers who care about it (generally the end consumers).

            When one stops and thinks about it, rather than being a soft and cuddly way of doing things, Toyota came into the market in the US and were quietly and gently utterly ruthless. There lower overall cost base and high quality and boringly reliable product very nearly totally stiffed the US manufacturers.

            Another thing Toyota do that's very clever is design. You look at your average Toyota box and go "Well that's dull.". But that's their secret sauce. They have a method of semi objectively determining what the customer wants, QFD it is (badly) named in the West.

            There's two ways of looking at this. One is that it is indeed an objective process designed to solicit a deep understanding of requirement.

            Another is that it's a way of stopping design engineers imaginations running away from the core product goal. Design engineers love their field, and they will always want to make it faster, sleeker, sharper handling, noisier. They can't do that with QFD, which indicates the bleedin obvious which is that the vast majority of the driving public just want to get from A to B quietly, comfortably, cheaply, reliably and safely. Boring, but a very large market.

            There's two results. One is that Toyota engineers are forced to direct their labours into designing such vehicles very well, and keep making them better every time. Lexus was born out of this self improvement drive, and whatever else one thinks of Lexus everyone confesses to admiring Lexus refinement and longevity.

            Another is that, on those rare occasions they are allowed to let their hair down, it's often a spectacular result (LFA, their Le Man's racers, Century, that kind of thing).

            The irony of all this for US automakers was that Japan got all these ideas off a US theoretician after WW2, and put them into their primary school curriculum. The US automakers had been offered it and rejected it as tripe. When they tried to belatedly copy it they corrupted it because they couldn't believe the answers.

            Boeing too tried to adopt some aspects of TPS and failed, specifically Andon. Andon is all about taking a short term financial hit in the interests of long term success. Andon doesn't work if you incentivise your managers to meet production targets, because then no shop floor worker will dare raise their hand... That's cost Boeing billions.

    2. aerogems Silver badge

      Re: If you wish to be a capitalist, you have to abide to capitalism rules

      The best explanation I've heard is that Twitler is basically looking to save cash anywhere he can to be able to make the first debt payment on the massive loans he took out to buy Twitter. If he defaults on that loan, Twitter is done, and likely so is he. So, he's trying to scrape together cash anywhere he can, without any regard to long-term consequences, because if he doesn't make this first debt payment there won't be a Twitter to worry about.

      I kind of think that gives Twitler a little too much credit for rational thinking, but it is a compelling narrative.

      1. Roo
        Windows

        Re: If you wish to be a capitalist, you have to abide to capitalism rules

        Makes a lot more sense than anything Elon says.

      2. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: If you wish to be a capitalist, you have to abide to capitalism rules

        You'll never win the marathon if you cut off your legs to save on your body using calories to keep them attached. There were likely a great many ways to streamline the operations at Twitter in a way that didn't have such bad consequences. Elon has put out lists of things the former iteration was spending money on that could have been eliminated and where too much money was being spent. Big city downtown offices is a huge expense that could be chopped way down. Twitter is an online business so its offices can be anywhere and everywhere. There's no point in spending several times an employee's salary per year for each square foot of office for that employee to have a place to work. I would expect the person to be the higher cost item. The cost of the staff, while easiest to reduce, wasn't the big ticket item to go after first. That there are still people working at the company makes me shake my head at the human condition. The cavalier approach to chopping headcount is going to make others far less likely to want to apply in future.

    3. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: If you wish to be a capitalist, you have to abide to capitalism rules

      "Which include honoring contracts even after an acquisition"

      If Elon is ever in a position to buy another company, he may find himself needing to renegotiate every contract and agreement on day one. Utilities will be locked out. Landlords will seal the doors and other suppliers will cease supplying until those new agreements are in place. Some may require hefty deposits and security pledges.

      He's not going to be able to use his argument that the previous management entered into those contracts to absolve himself. Corporations have a status that makes them a quasi-individual for many purposes. Elon would have had to wind down the affairs of the previous entity and start a wholly new company to have any chance of ducking out and even that wouldn't work in nearly every case. Judges won't wear that sort of thing.

  7. Dinanziame Silver badge
    Devil

    I'm aware that large companies sometimes fail to pay bills timely, and it's sometimes claimed that they hope the vendors will give up on the bill rather than bother with a lawsuit (could be incompetence as well!)

    However, it seems the strategy can't possibly work on your landlord, because they also want to get paid in the future. And that goes double when all the media are reporting on your decision not to pay your bills...

    But obviously, I'm not a billionaire, so maybe I'm just thinking too small.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      How do billionaires get rich? With other people's money...

      For every self-made billionaire, there's a billion people shy a buck.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        "You didn't think I became a billionaire by writing cheques did you Homer?"

        - Bill Gates to Homer Simpson, after Homer accepts an offer to be bought out and then, to his surprise, Gates' henchmen proceed to trash Homer's home office.

        1. chivo243 Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Hyper-mega-global something something mmm spider pig.

    2. Joe W Silver badge

      Talking to our electrician and our plumber/heating guy this is a general pattern. The private small customers pay up immediately (well, mostly), and big companies drag their feet, often needing gentle (or not so gentle) reminders to f'ing pay up already. That pattern seems to be mostly universal, as some friends working for automotive suppliers reported.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        This was how many big building firms treated their subcontractors here in the UK, along with abuse of a system called "retention". Thankfully the late payment was clamped down on by government in the 1990s, since so many people were being forced into bankruptcy.

      2. GruntyMcPugh

        Yeah, my wife and her dad ran a small business (hosiery, they made socks) and large companies would want at least 90 days to pay, and also had this agreement that if they'd ordered 10,000 pair of a certain style, and they weren't selling, if they didn't 'call them off' (request them to be delivered), even though they'd been ordered and manufactured, they didn't have to pay, leaving the sock business holding the stock. Still, we did one hell of a car boot sale when they closed the company.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Large companies always try to bend rules in their favour - and it's here you see the difference between the laissez-faire approach of corrupt governments, and the leveling-the playing field rules of a democratic one. The idea that a market self-regulates always is wrong - a market self-regulates only as long as all players are more or less the same size, and there are enough reasons not to build a cartel. Otherwise the rules are being set by the largest and less ethical ones. A market is never different from society. Let a society self-regulate and see what happens. Human behaviour is the same.

      It was common here for large companies (and even the government) to impose 180 days or longer payment terms, when they were usually in the 30-60 days range. For small companies, it could mean to find the money to pay their own payments meanwhile. In some countries, you even pay taxes on invoiced sums, not cashed ones.

      It took a EU directive to make it more difficult - still many use their size and weight to force longer terms, as it's advantageous to them as they play financially with money far more then smaller companies.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        a market self-regulates only as long as all players are more or less the same size, and there are enough reasons not to build a cartel. Otherwise the rules are being set by the largest and less ethical ones.

        And there we have the actual problem with crypto currency, in one neat paragraph..

      2. MachDiamond Silver badge

        "In some countries, you even pay taxes on invoiced sums, not cashed ones."

        It can depend on whether you are using a cash or accrual accounting method.

      3. MachDiamond Silver badge

        "still many use their size and weight to force longer terms"

        My answer to that was a resounding "no". I didn't even say "thank you". When you learn how to do math, it doesn't take a whole lot of it to figure out that long payment terms cost too much money when at the same time those big customers are insisting on the lowest prices, free shipping, liberal return policies, etc. The longer the terms, the more likelihood of payments being overdue more of the time.

      4. J. Cook Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        one of the places I used to work for did that; demand 90 days for payment terms (if they could get them) and pay on the evening of day 90. Their customers? There was exactly one customer that had 30 days payment terms; everyone else was either net 5 or 10, pre-pay or cash.

        And then they wondered why their suppliers would drop them like a hot rock after 5 months of that crap.

      5. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        "It took a EU directive to make it more difficult "

        Ahh, the "evil EU empire" standing up for the smaller guys again. Thank God we'll have no more of that here in UK.

  8. EvaQ
    WTF?

    126 page PDF to get the overdue rent?

    A 126 page PDF to a court to get the overdue rent? That is how it works in the USA?

    Where I live, a debt collector would send a letter to Renter, and would then execute a seizure.

    1. DrXym

      Re: 126 page PDF to get the overdue rent?

      In fairness, if you read the PDF, the actual complaint is a few pages and the rest is just a copy of the building contract and correspondence about being in arrears.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 126 page PDF to get the overdue rent?

        > correspondence about being in arrears.

        As a supplier to a Musk managed company one must expect to get it in "arrears".

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 126 page PDF to get the overdue rent?

          Yeah, but seeing how Musk is 'managing' companies that do mechanical things, one would expect him to use lube.

      2. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: 126 page PDF to get the overdue rent?

        A commercial lease agreement can be very detailed. For a flat there may be a clause that it may only be used as a residential dwelling for no more than a certain number of people and no more than a minor home business/home office. For a commercial space, there can be pages of allowed and prohibited activities. In a multi-tenant building, access will be required to service utilities at any time without notice. For a full list, there has been a copy of the lease Panasonic has with Tesla for the factory in Nevada. That tome is intense.

    2. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: 126 page PDF to get the overdue rent?

      You need a court order to execute the seizure surely? In England, that is the oldest surviving law still in force.

      1. bigtimehustler

        Re: 126 page PDF to get the overdue rent?

        You do, but it's a relatively rubber stamped process. Even individuals have easily managed to get high court seizure orders on large companies. The high court enforcement officers just turn up at the head office and they either pay or they take things out of the office worth enough at likely auction sale value.

  9. ComputerSays_noAbsolutelyNo Silver badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    Catch 2023

    So, Elon fires everyone who does not show up for work at the company offices.

    Elon also does not pay the rent for the company offices.

    So, if the landlord shuts down power/access/etc., does this result in instant-firing of the whole staff, since working from home is not permitted and the offices are shut?

    1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: Catch 2023

      Elon fires everyone who does not show up for work at the company offices.

      Or perhaps you could look at it as Elon employs anyone who does show up at the office. This time next week he'll have a bunch of bailiffs working on refactoring some RPCs out of the mobile app

  10. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Send in the Bailifs

    and seize his personal jet. That will make him listen.

    Once upon a time, I had a reasonable opinion of Elon Musk but in the last year, he has become nothing more than a MAGA numpty when it comes to managing people. Some of his tweets recently have been worthy of his leader, D.J. Trump.

    His cult members are growing restless. Twitter is in their eyes an unneeded diversion. They want to see more new products from Tesla reaching production.

    1. DrXym

      Re: Send in the Bailifs

      It was obvious that he was a bit of a twunt he decided to call a cave diver a "pedo" simply for laughing at his dumb device when they were trying to rescue those kids trapped in a cave.

      I think he's lurched from being a libertarian to MAGA simply because he's also a narcissist and the people on the far right are the only ones feeding his ego at the moment. Too bad they're not the ones buying his cars.

      1. zuckzuckgo

        Re: Send in the Bailifs

        Yes and yes!

      2. aerogems Silver badge

        Re: Send in the Bailifs

        There were signs of him being a massive asshole even before that. If you look back to his early days at Tesla, you'll see how if people were quoted in the media saying anything bad about their Teslas, he'd go to the effort of finding the logs for their specific car and then go through them to try to find something he could post on Twitter to smear them. I recall one story in particular. Guy is driving along and somehow or another the battery pack was punctured. It was news at the time because it was one of the first BEV car fires and I think the firefighters initially tried using water to put it out, which only made things worse. Anyway, the guy tells the reporter that the car display told him to exit the vehicle immediately and that he would still buy another Tesla, but Twitler still found the logs for the car and tried to make the guy out to be some kind of attention seeking liar. I remember that story because it made me rather uneasy knowing that such detailed logs are being kept about what your car is doing and there's someone at the helm of the company that isn't above trying to use them against you for even perceived slights.

        That is just not the behavior of a healthy mind.

    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Send in the Bailifs

      "Send in the Bailifs

      and seize his personal jet. That will make him listen."

      I expect that his jet is owned by a limited company that only has the purpose of owning that jet. It might be operated by yet another company and all of the companies Elon is involved with will be allocated a piece of its cost according to whatever is the most advantageous for tax purposes. His trip to see the World Cup was charged to one of the companies, I'm sure.

    3. NeilPost

      Re: Send in the Bailifs

      Owned via an Owner Trust. I doubt you could seize it.

      https://jackstech.net/falconlanding/

    4. Alistair
      Windows

      Re: Send in the Bailifs

      If they do seize his jet, at least he'll be able to find it......

      Oh, right!

  11. NewModelArmy

    Twitter Still Free to Use ?

    Essentially Musk has purchased a company for $44bn where most people use it for free, and it is losing $4million per day.

    How is Musk going to turn around this company ?

    Not paying rent at the costs in the article seems to be folly as they are minimal compared to the money lost every day.

    Maybe this is the end for Twitter, albeit a slow death.

    The basic arithmetic shows that for 450million users, and with $4million per day being lost, then if Twitter charges $5 per year for every user, that covers all the losses with some spare.

    Maybe that is low enough for people to just pay and save Twitter ?

    1. Joe W Silver badge

      Re: Twitter Still Free to Use ?

      Those daily losses come from the debt EM forced upon twitter. He bought it with their own debt, which to me sounds crazy, but seems to be the norm (he did not invent that spiel).

      1. skwdenyer

        Re: Twitter Still Free to Use ?

        Debt repayment aren’t P&L revenue expenses; they don’t contribute to a loss.

        Twitter was already losing lots of money.

    2. Andy 73 Silver badge

      Re: Twitter Still Free to Use ?

      It wouldn't be saving Twitter though, would it? It would be saving Musk, who'd then have carte blanche to do whatever he wants with Twitter.

      Those two things are not the same.

    3. DrXym

      Re: Twitter Still Free to Use ?

      The answer is he's not going to turn it around. He's taken on heavy debts and advertisers have run for the hills. Meanwhile Mastodon & other social media services are growing and some major contributors are leaving or ready to leave. Meanwhile Musk is committing one unforced blunder after another and his personal wealth is tanking.

      At some point those loans are going to be called in and he'll be gone, leaving this disaster behind. The irony is that whoever takes over probably has a better chance of stabilizing the business without Musk in the way.

    4. Julian 8 Silver badge

      Re: Twitter Still Free to Use ?

      200m robots won't have $5 each

      1. arctic_haze

        Re: Twitter Still Free to Use ?

        "200m robots won't have $5 each"

        Neither will 100m kids and 100m users in poor countries.

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: Twitter Still Free to Use ?

          "Neither will 100m kids and 100m users in poor countries."

          Which is one of the same arguments why Starlink may not turn out to be profitable. The vast majority of people that don't already have high speed internet are the ones outside of the first world that can't afford it or hardware that will work on it. I've got plenty of working computers in the closet that can't be upgraded to the point where they can surf the web anymore with Windows or MacOS. If I were in a poorer country participating in more of an agrarian society, I'd have little real need to be online.

    5. zuckzuckgo

      Re: Twitter Still Free to Use ?

      > How is Musk going to turn around this company ?

      Use Twitter to do a reverse takeover of SpaceX. SpaceX borders on bankrupcy. Get government bailout to ensure access to International Space Station and continued operation of Starlink in Ukraine.

      Basically, become to big or important to fail.

      Sarcasm, I hope.

    6. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Twitter Still Free to Use ?

      "Essentially Musk has purchased a company for $44bn where most people use it for free"

      Those users are the product that's being delivered to Twitter's customers.

  12. Andy 73 Silver badge

    If...

    As a landlord, if Musk believes he can just stop paying rent "because".. I'd tend to believe I can change the locks and turn of the power supply "because".

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: If...

      Listen to your lawyer first. There are usually some hoops you have to jump through before you can take that sort of action. The good news is that Musk's favourite lawyer thinks he can win in the court of public opinion - which is unlikely to be the venue specified in any sane contract.

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: If...

        Musk's favourite lawyer thinks he can win in the court of public opinion

        Surely you don't mean... Rudy Giuliani?

        Is there a Four Seasons Landscaping in SF where they can have press conference?

    2. aerogems Silver badge

      Re: If...

      That would likely get you into some legal trouble. However, the "good news" is, depending on your POV, that evicting a commercial tenant is several times easier than a residential one. IANAL, but I would imagine as soon as the property owner wins in court, they'll give Twitler maybe 14-days or something to come up with payment in full, otherwise building security will escort everyone out and lock out their badges. After opening all the windows for a couple days to let the place air out, and hiring a professional cleaner to give the place a very thorough cleaning, they'll probably go through and get personal items back to people and then the rest will become essentially abandoned property that the property owner can sell to recoup some of their losses.

      I honestly just wish that all the different people suing Twitter for non-payment could use the fact that there are a half-dozen or so other lawsuits pending for more or less the exact same behavior. Thus establishing that it was a premeditated act that was born not out of any kind of necessity, but out of greed. Ideally, though again probably wouldn't happen, but if the world were truly a just place, people could then go after Twitler's personal assets to get payment.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: If...

        Once the first court order goes through, all the others can use it as evidence.

        Twitter won't make it to Easter.

        1. aerogems Silver badge

          Re: If...

          Personally, I'm amazed it made it to the new year. It's clearly been living on borrowed time ever since Twitler decided to cull half the staff within days of taking over.

    3. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: If...

      "I'd tend to believe I can change the locks and turn of the power supply "because"."

      There's a process. For commercial it is much more rapid than residential. I expect that Twitter is paying for most utilities directly and turning off utilities in a rent dispute is a bad move for a landlord, but if the HVAC system belongs to the building, that can be shut off or limited if it's required for ventilation. As most big buildings decay quickly without HVAC to control humidity, it's a gamble.

      The easiest thing for the building owner to do is make sure they strictly follow the requirements to have a tenant removed for non-payment. Getting creative will draw the process out for years and lead to fines. In the US there are stories where residential landlords have tried to expedite matters and the tenant wound up owning the home/building.

  13. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Cloud

    Maybe he got confused. Isn't Twitter supposed to be in the cloud? Do clouds pay rent?

  14. Howard Sway Silver badge

    Also, he fired the cleaners, employees are bringing in toilet paper, and the office literally stinks

    one result has been the smell of leftover takeout food and body odor lingering in the air. What’s more, the bathrooms have become dirtier, and some employees have resorted to bringing their own rolls of toilet paper to work.

    I suppose thinking "why bother cleaning it when we're going to get kicked out" is one possible explanation for the mucky musk midden.

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Also, he fired the cleaners, employees are bringing in toilet paper, and.......

      Another good reference to "Snowcrash" in that.

      I find that public/office restrooms tend to get dirtier faster than mine at home. Let's also add people living in the building putting more strain on the facilities. Do those "nap rooms" have an en suite or a communal bathroom? I think it's a universal that people will look after their own things much better than anything provided to them where somebody else takes care of it.

  15. cheb

    Isn't this 'Who me?' column a day late?

  16. DS999 Silver badge

    Wow he really is going full Trump

    He's adopting Trump's famously well known refusal to pay subcontractors. What's next, some sort of NFT scam with terrible "art" showing him in various guises like rock star and superhero?

    If I was the landlord, I'd change the locks on their space and tell them they can get back in when they're paid up! Or perhaps easier, just shut off the power to their part of the building.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wow he really is going full Trump

      That's what the court filing is for - even though you own the building you can't just rock up and change the locks without a court order.

      That said, the landlord could do the world a favour by changing the locks with Musk still inside :).

  17. Primus Secundus Tertius

    See The Onion

    The Onion is a satirical paper whose articles are thought to be fiction. One recent article had Musk hiding behind a filing cabinet while the landlord hammered on the door demanding rent. Another article had young couples getting their first home by renting an Airbnb and then changing the locks. Sometimes I wonder if The Onion is just fiction.

    1. aerogems Silver badge

      Re: See The Onion

      They do say that truth can be stranger than fiction.

    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: See The Onion

      "Another article had young couples getting their first home by renting an Airbnb and then changing the locks. "

      With eviction moratoriums in place in the US, all somebody had to do was get one of the utilities into their own name on an AirBnb and the owner could have an impossible time getting them out. In some cases the city might be unwilling to be much help if the person operating the AirBnb'd property hadn't properly registered their business and paid taxes to have a lodging house. Hotel occupancy taxes can be 10% or more. In Las Vegas they have another fee called the "Resort fee" that gets tacked on as well. Cheat them out of that and they will find ways to not help turf out a squatter.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    WFH

    Twitter: You must be in the office 80 hours a week!

    Employees: Umm… We’ve been locked out?

    Twitter: Well that’s not our problem, if you’re not in the office, YOU’RE FIRED !

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Twitter down

    Twitter is down again, at least here in Oz. Just getting a spinner or a "Something has gone wrong" message.

  20. localzuk Silver badge

    Not sure that'd hold up in court

    "It has been suggested that Musk holds that such services were authorized by former management, not him, so he's not paying."

    Buying a company doesn't somehow nullify everything done by previous management - you buy the liabilities as well as the assets.

    This seems like a great way for Musk to lose a bunch more money.

  21. Orv Silver badge

    I assume the new HQ will be in Texas somewhere. Are there vacant buildings in Boca Chica after his campaign to run out the locals?

  22. boris9k3

    Why?

    Could it be those left behind in twitter are dragging their feet to pay as a form of "protest" all their buddies got canned by mean boss?

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