back to article Tesla undecimates its workforce but Elon insists everything's absolutely fine

Tesla is cutting nine per cent of its workforce in a "comprehensive organizational restructuring", according to an internal email sent by its CEO Elon Musk on Tuesday. While that email was sent only to employees, Musk then tweeted the full text immediately afterwards and it is clear that the missive was designed to be read by …

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  1. Mugs

    Oracle got there first

    Oracle's common practice was to do this every year. Tesla are doing it as a one off and it's a story?

    1. ST Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Oracle got there first

      > Oracle's common practice was to do this every year.

      Still is to this day. Fire people left and right to prop up the stock price.

      Let's not forget IBM. They deserve a special mention.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oracle got there first

        Many big American firms can the lowest 5-10 percent of their workforce each year. Sometimes when a colleague goes you think" why him" and other times you think "how did he last so long".

        1. LucreLout Silver badge

          Re: Oracle got there first

          Many big American firms can the lowest 5-10 percent of their workforce each year.

          It's not just American firms that do this. It's reasonably common in the City - many of my employers have used the 20-70-10 system: The top 20% get a pay rise, the next 70% get nothing but keep their jobs, and the lower 10% you fire, all based on that years performance review.

          To be honest, even when I tried hard to get into the 10% because I wanted a payoff it was really quite hard to achieve, so hard in fact I couldn't make it stick.

          1. tiggity Silver badge

            Re: Oracle got there first

            @ LucreLout

            Getting rid of 10% based on a one year review sounds a cracking way to encourage short term thinking

            1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

              Re: Oracle got there first

              "Getting rid of 10% based on a one year review sounds a cracking way to encourage is evidence of extremely short term thinking".

              ftfy

              Some of these people obviously need to be hit on the head very hard with some of the books that have been written about the randomness of the finance industry. The behaviour sometimes seems like those cats in psychological experiments that, having twisted round just before accidentally pressing the food button, continue to twist round before pressing it because they don't have a valid model of what is happening. If by accident it works, keep doing it until it hasn't worked for some time.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oracle got there first

        Special mention that IBM mostly fires old people?

    2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Oracle got there first

      In Tesla's case, they need to slow down the cash burn and start turning a real profit. Otherwise they will join many others in junkyard of defunct car manufacturers.

      1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: Oracle got there first

        "In Tesla's case, they need to slow down the cash burn and start turning a real profit."

        The problem is that the losses are accelerating, not slowing, over a long period. The two brief periods of profitability just about paid back the preceding quarter after years of red ink. If it was a small company (admittedly it would be long dead) it would be like the owner getting a sizeable cheque and immediately spending it.

    3. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: Oracle got there first

      Everything involving Tesla these days is newsworthy, because reasons.

    4. deltamind

      Re: Oracle got there first

      The concerns that were initiated due to the flamthrower and now this is igniting a lot of news about tesla, it's like a series of events as well.

  2. Gio Ciampa

    Undecimate?

    So they're taking on lots of staff...?????

    1. John H Woods Silver badge

      Re: Undecimate?

      decimate - remove one in ten (decem)

      undecimate - remove one in eleven (undecem)

      1. Ledswinger Silver badge

        Re: Undecimate?

        undecimate - remove one in eleven (undecem)

        If that means we get a one-eleventh reduction in the public deployment of the Thoughts of Chairman Musk, then this has to be a good thing. But realistically, this is the beginning of the end for Tesla. When the boss stops thinking about his vision, starts emotively criticising the critics, and comes up with ideas like this, you know its only a matter of time.

      2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        Re: Undecimate?

        @John H Woods

        Not only does El Reg have the best-educated sub-editors on the planet, who combine classical education with technical knowledge, but the commentards actually understand the references!

      3. 2Nick3 Bronze badge

        Re: Undecimate?

        Since "decimate" now seems to mean "totally destroyed" to most people, I'm going to use "undecimate" (which Chrome wants to correct to 'decimate'...) to both be more accurate and confuse people.

        Win-win!

        1. Codysydney

          Re: Undecimate?

          According to Websters, a valid definition of decimate includes 'reduce in numbers drastically'. Some people use what's known as an etymological fallacy, meaning they insist that because they know the original meaning of a word, that anyone who uses it in a modernised, popularised version must be wrong.

          They are not correct.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Undecimate?

            Actually the Oxford English Dictionary does list "kill one in ten" as a valid definition of decimate, along with the more modern usages. Both usages are clearly correct.

            1. ecarlseen

              Re: Undecimate?

              Decimate comes from Latin "decimatio" - the punishment for groups of Roman soldiers who committed serious offenses such as mutiny or desertion - they would break them into groups of ten, make them draw lots (one loser per group), and then would those that lost (1/10 of the troops) would be executed.

              At least Musk sticks to only killing people who use Autopilot.

              1. Vanir

                Re: Undecimate?

                #ifdef DECIMATE

                #define UNDECIMATE ~DECIMATE

                #elif define MUSK

                #define DECIMATE employees lose jobs

                #define UNDECIMATE boss keep job

                #endif

                #endif

          2. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

            Re: Undecimate?

            @Codysydney

            Lots of people misusing a word doesn't make the misuse correct. The word has a number in it. Numbers dont change value. People say 'decimate' when they mean 'devastate'. If the larger part is destroyed, use the latter.

            Many words are commonly misused, 'chronic' for instance, many use it as a substitute for 'accute' when they refer to an ailment or pain. chronic of course means re-occuring over time, or persistent.

            'Ultimate' just means the latest in a series, it does not imply the object is the best. Does penultimate imply second best? Ultimatum means we are at the last option, not taking the best option.

            etc.

            1. Symon Silver badge
              Stop

              Re: Undecimate?

              "The word has a number in it. Numbers dont change value."

              I agree, and that's why December is the ten month.

            2. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
              Headmaster

              Re: Undecimate?

              Lots of people misusing a word doesn't make the misuse correct.

              Actually, this is one of the many ways that languages change. The lexicologists that I have worked with (n=2) say that their field has become more descriptive and less prescriptive over time.

            3. Grinning Bandicoot

              Re: Undecimate?

              Having read down (display newest to old) I must at this point state this comment is one good reason to follow the comments at the Register. Somewhere in a comment section at this point in the US the point would divert away from the topic and have an extweaker inserting Biblical text and the Hillaryite and the Trumpist would start with an exchange of ad hominen steer manure (does not rise to the level of bull ); but here knowing what decimate means and how the usage differs found an erudite explanation of

              undecimate which I confess was not what I had imaged.

              For an educational exercise: The type that follow the money should compare Western US mines financing with Musk's finances

              1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

                Re: Undecimate?

                "Somewhere in a comment section at this point in the US the point would divert away from the topic and have an extweaker inserting Biblical text and the Hillaryite and the Trumpist "

                But....Comey's emails!

          3. MonkeyCee Silver badge

            Re: Undecimate?

            Here's the definition by Websters:

            Definition of decimate

            decimated; decimating

            transitive verb

            1 : to select by lot and kill every tenth man of decimate a regiment

            2 : to exact a tax of 10 percent from

            poor as a decimated Cavalier —John Dryden

            3 a : to reduce drastically especially in number cholera decimated the population

            Kamieniecki's return comes at a crucial time for a pitching staff that has been decimated by injuries. —Jason Diamos

            b : to cause great destruction or harm to firebombs decimated the city an industry decimated by recession

            Two of three definitions use it as 10%, which also happen to be the first two definitions. There are also plenty of cases where losing 10% and drastic reduction are similar values.

            It's not an etymological fallacy if it's also used (and understood) in the original sense. It's only the case if the original meaning is almost never used.

            "The exception proves the rule" is a pretty good example, since the original meaning is "the defect demonstrates that the ruler is functioning correctly", but my experience is that it gets used in quite different ways.

            "that anyone who uses it in a modernised, popularised version must be wrong."

            Often it feels like someone is trying to use a $5 word they don't quite understand to make themselves sound more sophisticated. Which usually has the opposite effect, like calling all malware "a computer virus" or insisting your computer needs defragging.

            Insisting that *your* version is correct because you use it is in a particular way is just daft. I'd also strongly advise against picking a word fight with writers or journalists, since non professional users of the language tend to be be quite sloppy and imprecise.

            Here's Lewis Carrol's take on all this:

            "When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean- neither more nor less."

            There's also nothing wrong with, when you come across a word you think means one thing, and can mean another, in finding out what is what. English was mongrel language even before being the lingua franca for the British and American empires, and the resulting word pillage :)

            A few years back there was a chatshow on the wireless with a well known actor and a lady who runs a very successful logistics company. She summerised her business as "moving pallets* around" and the actor was genuinely confused, since he knew of an artist's palette** and a tasting palate*** but had never come across the wooden base. The ensuring clarifying conversation was quite entertaining.

            * wooden platform for moving goods around, so a forklift can pick it up. Required for delivery any any piece of HP kit weighing more than five grams, along with two miles of plastic wrapping. Origin word means straw, then straw bed.

            ** board for mixing paints on or a range of colours. Origin word means spade.

            *** flavors or tastes, also the roof of the mouth. Origin word means sense of taste.

            1. The Indomitable Gall

              Re: Undecimate?

              @MonkeyCee

              " It's not an etymological fallacy if it's also used (and understood) in the original sense. It's only the case if the original meaning is almost never used. "

              Yes it is, because the previous poster was talking about the etymological argument being used against the modern one. That's fallacious -- just because one version matches the etymology, doesn't mean the other version is wrong.

          4. Hans 1 Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: Undecimate?

            They are not correct.

            They are wrong ? No, both are right!

            Basically, undecimate is a pun, a clever pun at that, imho!

            Language relies on context, is rich and ever evolving. The word "decimate" can mean any of Websters definitions. The word decimate comes from the latin decimus, a tenth, and undecimus means, you guessed it, an eleventh.

            El'Reg cleverly took one meaning of decimate, noticed an off by one error and hence came up with undecimate, which, ironically, also means the contrary -> El'Reg loves these pun's and so do I, one of the reasons I read their articles ... the other being above average technical boffinry in the tech journalism world and their cos^Hmic units of measure!

          5. IHateWearingATie
            Stop

            Re: Undecimate?

            Websters is a tool of the colonials who are corrupting the language and is not a valid reference point.

            The only source that should be accepted is the unabridged Oxford English Dictionary.

            Or whatever that lovely lady on Countdown says.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Undecimate?

              Websters is a tool of the colonials who are corrupting the language and is not a valid reference point.

              More to the point it's unprotected, anyone can publish a "Webster's" dictionary.

            2. Grinning Bandicoot

              Re: Undecimate?

              OBJECTION: The Earl Cornwallis came in second to GW so after a bit of political wrangling the United States was documented. Often noted as US which is the object case of WE properly what you call colonials should be WEians. Canadians might qualify as colonial but that is one for you to fight with them!

        2. caffeine addict Silver badge

          Re: Undecimate?

          Listen well, my fellow commentards...

          Just because something is in the dictionary, doesn't make it "correct" or "acceptable".

          All English dictionaries (unless someone knows otherwise) as descriptive not prescriptive. They list English words as what she is spoke in common usage, not what a word actually "means" according to history, word structure, or pedantry.

          If enough people used the word "government" to describe the act of monkeys flinging poo at each other, the dictionary would (eventually) pick it up. If enough people describe a gigabyte as a thousand megabytes, the dictionary will reflect it. If enough people take a billion to mean a thousand million instead of a million million (as it always was when I was a kid) then the dictionary reflects it.

          The fact that the dictionary lists logically incorrect definitions for unique, decimate and literally doesn't mean they are right... just common

          1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

            Re: Undecimate?

            "If enough people used the word "government" to describe the act of monkeys flinging poo at each other, the dictionary would (eventually) pick it up."

            I thought we were already past that point.

      4. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: Undecimate?

        "decimate - remove one in ten (decem)

        undecimate - remove one in eleven (undecem)"

        The Romans themselves were pretty imprecise, though. For instance a centurion was notionally in charge of 100 soldiers (a century...) but in fact centuries were almost always less than this, with the top centuries of a legion perhaps being 90, and lower ones 80 down to 60. After a battle, of course, the numbers were smaller still.

        1. Grinning Bandicoot

          Re: Centuries

          Units were formed as a 100 recruits and remained that unit through its life. As men died or left wounded the unit shrank.

          1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

            Re: Centuries

            "Units were formed as a 100 recruits and remained that unit through its life. As men died or left wounded the unit shrank."

            Ah, no. Not nearly as simple as that. After a battle where senior NCOs had died along with other soldiers, it would be necessary to re-form legionary structures. Replacing trained legionaries with new troops would never be easy and new units would need stiffening with experienced soldiers, so the real strucrture of any legion at any time would be fairly mixed.

            One cause of unit deflation is that generals like to have lots of units, and if there are not enough soldiers (or materiel) the components may shrink. This was one of Hitler's problems; as the German army was more than decimated during WW2, formations got smaller and weaker but the Fuhrer didn't get to know. Towards the end in Berlin he was still issuing orders to units that had more or less ceased to exist.

      5. Smooth Newt Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: Undecimate?

        decimate - remove one in ten (decem)

        undecimate - remove one in eleven (undecem)

        But that immediately causes the problem that there is now no verb for reversing a decimation. Even worse, a company which announces a decimation, followed shortly by one of an undecimation, is announcing that things are even worse for the their serfs. Whilst El Reg readers are clearly clued up on Latin, the same cannot be said of Sun and Daily Mail readers, or even parliamentarians, so this neologism will serve to have catastrophes praised as U-turns.

        1. John H Woods Silver badge

          Re: Undecimate?

          "But that immediately causes the problem that there is now no verb for reversing a decimation" --- Smooth Newt

          How about 'cimate' --- I'm pretty sure the tithesis society would be gruntled with that.

        2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Undecimate?

          that there is now no verb for reversing a decimation.

          Wouldn't that requre reincarnation?

          1. Valheru

            Re: Undecimate?

            Not if they come back as a hillbilly...

            ..Thats reintarnation

        3. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: Undecimate?

          > But that immediately causes the problem that there is now no verb for reversing a decimation

          Dedecimate?

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Undecimate?

            > But that immediately causes the problem that there is now no verb for reversing a decimation

            Dedecimate?"

            Resurrection? (based on the original meaning of decimate)

            1. Chris Tierney

              Re: Undecimate?

              This thread is way off on a tangent.

      6. Gio Ciampa

        Re: Undecimate?

        Thanks for the clarification - all who mentioned it.

        I didn't even consider "undec" = 11 (or spot the 1-in-10 meaning of decimate as used by Harold Saxon in "The Sound of Drums" when I (re)watched it the other day...).

      7. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Undecimate?

        "undecimate - remove one in eleven (undecem)"

        Everyday is a school day at El Reg Commentards forums :-)

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "some kind of journalist rating system"

    Oooh what a threat that is. How's he gonna do that ? A website called IsHeHotOrNot ? With article links so people can go read (ha!) and then judge ?

    Sorry buddy, if it's not a 5 minute YouTube clip, you have no chance.

    Besides, even if that does happen, the obvious response is a website called IsMuskHotOrNot, with every singe Tesla failure called for vote.

    You don't look on stable terrain there, Elon.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: "some kind of journalist rating system"

      It's way better than that. He wants to call the site "Pravda".

      No, really.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "some kind of journalist rating system"

        Ponzi scheme destined to go pop, but will survive for a longer time than Theresa May's Bubble of Diarrhea Brexit strategy.

      2. Naselus Silver badge

        Re: "some kind of journalist rating system"

        "It's way better than that. He wants to call the site "Pravda"."

        It also only took him about 3 days from declaring his intention to police the media before he linked to a conspiracy site literally connected to a cult, too.

        https://slate.com/technology/2018/05/elon-musks-crusade-for-media-accountability-lasted-three-whole-days-before-he-recommended-a-news-site-affiliated-with-a-suspected-sex-cult.html

  4. Gene Cash Silver badge

    They're also not renewing the residential sales agreement with Home Depot where they were selling solar roofs and powerwalls.

    Thank fucking god. It made going to HD even more of a pain in the ass, as the salespeople would jump out and harass the hell out of you if you showed the slightest interest in the display.

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