And now he’s hiring them back?

“Stable genius” is not the phrase that comes to mind.


A few days ago someone asked me at Seeking Alpha how Elon Musk would deal with the SuperCharger network after he fired the whole staff. I told him he would hire some of them back. How did I know? He has done it before. Brilliant, he got rid of the wastrels!

Back in the day, one of our uppity consultants threatened my business partner with resigning and my partner accepted the resignation on the spot! The consultant’s jaw dropped to the floor!

Doing like everyone else is the opposite of genius.

The Captain


It’s brilliant he put those people through the stress of being laid off just to get re-hired again? That is seriously what you are saying? And that makes him a “genius”? Rather than, oh, I don’t know, figuring out who needed to be kept and who could be fired first?

Words escape me.


What a curious thing to say. On what basis are you assuming that they are wastrels? By all external accounts, the Supercharging team at Tesla performed amazingly. The Supercharging infrastructure and the network they assembled is considered the very best in the world. Tesla’s made no official statement about why that particular team was let go in its entirety (ie. Tesla didn’t say they were wastrels) - and while there were rumored reasons for those mass firings, none that I’ve seen have anything to do with the possibility of them wasting or frittering away company resources.

Why would you say they were wastrels?


Terrible management style. How did the organization become so full of wastrels in the first place? Two ways: 1. Elon didn’t hire well, and 2) Elon didn’t manage well. It is a clear failure of leadership to let an organization gets so out of hand the only solution is to wipe it out and start over.


In any office, 80% of the work is being performed by 20% of the people. That was Bill Gates’ management innovation – keep the teams small and overworked, but pay them handsomely.



Another wastrel gone! The head of Cybertruck manufacturing has left the building.


That was also the idea behind Bezos’s two pizza teams (since done away with). You don’t have any team bigger than you can feed with two pizzas. One of Amazon’s leadership principles is “hire and develop the best.” You want to talent spot those potential 20% workers and hire them, and then promote the star performers. Amazon is famous for leaving job openings open for long periods of time because they don’t want to hire the best available candidate, they want to hire the ideal candidate.

Jensen Huang, CEO of NVIDA doesn’t do one-on-one meetings with his direct reports (He has 40, which is probably a record for tech CEOs). His thinking is they are already all superstars and don’t need career guidance.

Musk apparently has a different style when it comes to managing talent.


Musk is fortunate that he has high-performing “Kool-aid drinkers” lining up to work for him. Eventually, demonstrated experience will thin the herd of qualified applicants.


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Actually, just the opposite.

Anyone with superior qualifications would know their worth and they got other jobs (why put up with a crazy boss?).

The wastrels, who were unsure they could find other work, came running back.


That was someone else…never mind…

We have a problem in our major tech department where I work. I am not in the tech part of it. We get promises on tiny stuff that never gets done. We have common accounting problems that never get programmed for as a solution.

Too many people in tech do not know what they are doing. They are in the way in a computer room.

I wish Musk would treat MBA’s worse. But he does not put MBAs in charge. AFAIK

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o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o

intercst gave you-all the answer!

The Pareto or Power Law Distribution at work.

When you invest in a company, is it for the welfare of the people working there? Is that you-all’s investment criterion?

The Captain


Well, that was my point.

The 20% that do 80% of the work will easily find a new place to work with a better work environment.

The 80% that do 20% of the work will scurry back.


Ah, but they are frightened and desperate, so they will work for less money!


That is right and the 20% will be glad to have fewer people to talk with much more work will get done.

Maybe at Boeing but they won’t at Tesla. They STAY fired! Elon Musk is no Jack Welch or ivy league MBA.

From what I have heard, Tesla has a very long list of willing applicants and can pick the cream of the cream of the crop. Listen to ex-Tesla employees, many describe Tesla as a great place to work, not for the yoga and lattes but for the challenges. There are plenty yoga and latte workplaces in Silicon Valley. Didn’t Tesla move out of Silicon Valley? I voted for moving Tesla out of Delaware as well.

About the SuperCharger mass firing, I heard that the head of the department complained about having to fire so many people, some 10%, so Musk fired the whole cohort. What makes great companies are great company cultures inspired by great leaders, each in his own style. Anyone who breaks the rules has to go to protect the culture. If you feel entitled to yoga and latte find a company that offers yoga and latte. Trying to fit Elon Musk into an ivy league MBA straitjacket is a terrible and impossible idea.

The Captain


List of reasons people take jobs

they need the money
they have to have the money
it works for them

List of reasons to have a job

you can do it extremely well and grow over time

That is very human.

The punching a clock because you want the money is meaningless. In fact very often it works against you. When push comes to shove people know who is who and how they operate.

Then how did the Supercharger department get filled up with 80% wastrels?

Then why fire the 20% of the department that were the high-performers that you would want to keep, and who did absolutely nothing wrong? Why not just fire the head of the department and the 10% that should be fired?


Rot sets in.


The Captain