Author Topic: SpaceX reducing workforce by at least 10 percent  (Read 29333 times)

Offline Chris Bergin

Was going around tonight. Eric's got a statement. Saying 10 percent. We've heard potentially more, but still bad for those impacted regardless of how many in total.

https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/1083873374261125120

Offline EnigmaSCADA

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Re: SpaceX reducing workforce by at least 10 percent
« Reply #1 on: 01/11/2019 11:26 pm »
Was going around tonight. Eric's got a statement. Saying 10 percent. We've heard potentially more, but still bad for those impacted regardless of how many in total.

https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/1083873374261125120
Oof, that kinda thing is never good. Somewhat surprising to me considering the outside image of employees working hard/long hours, a head-spinning amount of current work/projects, and their supposed valuation. I'm as capitalist as they come but i feel that employers are all too often forgetting who got them to where they are and it will come back to bite them in one form or another. Good luck to both those that are moving on and those remaining. Gonna be a hit to the esprit de corps of even those who are not fired (lets not kid ourselves with HR speak like "laid off", "downsized", "terminated", "separated", etc, etc...)

Offline spacenut

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Re: SpaceX reducing workforce by at least 10 percent
« Reply #2 on: 01/11/2019 11:30 pm »
I've been trying to figure out what they would cut.  They could give up on fairing chasing.  They may have all their design work done on BFR/Starship and no longer need design workers.  Since they are going with stainless steel on their new rocket they could be laying off composite workers.  Hopefully this isn't bad news. 

Offline LooZ

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Re: SpaceX reducing workforce by at least 10 percent
« Reply #3 on: 01/11/2019 11:42 pm »
It seems quite obvious to me who has been released:
- persons responsible for Dragon 2 certification;
- people working on Dragon 1 production;
- people working in the production of Falcon and Merlin (they have a huge number of them);
- part of stuff working on refurbishing F9 & D1;
- people working with Falcon 9 interior (tanks, ec), which will have nothing to do with how the SuperHeavy/StarShip will be build.

Offline kkattula

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Re: SpaceX reducing workforce by at least 10 percent
« Reply #4 on: 01/11/2019 11:42 pm »
People designing/building composite tanks and original BFS TPS seems very likely.

They've also probably locked away F9 design, and may have added people for that while moving others to SS/SH.


Also, didn't Elon suggest they'd build enough F9 cores to fly all missions until BFR comes online, then stop F9 production at some point?  Is this that time, or at least phase 1 of a production phase out?  I remember saying at the time that he was effectively betting the company on BFR...

Offline calapine

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Re: SpaceX reducing workforce by at least 10 percent
« Reply #5 on: 01/11/2019 11:44 pm »
I've been trying to figure out what they would cut.  They could give up on fairing chasing.  They may have all their design work done on BFR/Starship and no longer need design workers.  Since they are going with stainless steel on their new rocket they could be laying off composite workers.  Hopefully this isn't bad news. 

" They may have all their design work done on BFR/Starship and no longer need design workers." Highly doubt that BFR design is anywhere near done.

My guess would be Dragon development, the production floor (F9 stages, Merlin engines) and, possibly, Starlink development.

Offline Star One

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Re: SpaceX reducing workforce by at least 10 percent
« Reply #6 on: 01/11/2019 11:48 pm »
I've been trying to figure out what they would cut.  They could give up on fairing chasing.  They may have all their design work done on BFR/Starship and no longer need design workers.  Since they are going with stainless steel on their new rocket they could be laying off composite workers.  Hopefully this isn't bad news. 

" They may have all their design work done on BFR/Starship and no longer need design workers." Highly doubt that BFR design is anywhere near done.

My guess would be Dragon development, the production floor (F9 stages, Merlin engines) and, possibly, Starlink development.

Why would they cut Starlink when they haven’t even started putting into orbit anything beyond a few prototypes.

Online Llian Rhydderch

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Re: SpaceX reducing workforce by at least 10 percent
« Reply #7 on: 01/11/2019 11:53 pm »
This article just up 6 minutes ago on TechCrunch:

SpaceX will lay off hundreds to ‘become a leaner company’
Re arguments from authority on NSF:  "no one is exempt from error, and errors of authority are usually the worst kind.  Taking your word for things without question is no different than a bracket design not being tested because the designer was an old hand."
"You would actually save yourself time and effort if you were to use evidence and logic to make your points instead of wrapping yourself in the royal mantle of authority.  The approach only works on sheep, not inquisitive, intelligent people."

Offline AC in NC

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Re: SpaceX reducing workforce by at least 10 percent
« Reply #8 on: 01/12/2019 12:07 am »
Let's hope everyone lands in a good place and perhaps it's a good time for some talent to branch out to found startups to fill out the SpaceX-enabled ecosystem.  Lots of ancillary work needs to get started that would be somewhat of a distraction to the backbone SpaceX needs to produce

Offline Dalhousie

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Re: SpaceX reducing workforce by at least 10 percent
« Reply #9 on: 01/12/2019 12:09 am »
Great move, sack the people who have made you what your are.
"There is nobody who is a bigger fan of sending robots to Mars than me... But I believe firmly that the best, the most comprehensive, the most successful exploration will be done by humans" Steve Squyres

Offline Lars-J

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Re: SpaceX reducing workforce by at least 10 percent
« Reply #10 on: 01/12/2019 12:10 am »
I'm not sure why people are surprised by this. They have been growing drastically in employee count for the last decade... And every time they clear a new mark (7000 was the last number) people react with astonishment that "how could they make money with so many employees". This is really their first trimming of this kind, so why the surprise? (I gather it could be different crowds being surprised for different reasons, but still)

A normal company can do these kind of trims by encouraging early retirement. But this is where SpaceX is a bit hamstrung by its young workforce. So while it is a unfortunate for the people involved, 10% is still only 10%. Lets not make more out of it than it is.

Offline Lars-J

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Re: SpaceX reducing workforce by at least 10 percent
« Reply #11 on: 01/12/2019 12:11 am »
Great move, sack the people who have made you what your are.

Huh... What? 10%. That is it. What do you think has happened at ULA in the last couple of years?

Online docmordrid

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Re: SpaceX reducing workforce by at least 10 percent
« Reply #12 on: 01/12/2019 12:27 am »
It's not just head count, though that's a big part, it's also a skills mismatch.

Aluminum & composites vs superalloys & stainless steels, RP-1 vs CH4,ablatives vs  active TPS, etc.

and no doubt some folks who would be culled for cause but this may make it easier legally.  Many companies annually  cut 3-10% for this alone
« Last Edit: 01/12/2019 12:29 am by docmordrid »
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Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: SpaceX reducing workforce by at least 10 percent
« Reply #13 on: 01/12/2019 12:32 am »
While it's difficult for those involved, this kind of thing is absolutely necessary for the overall good of the economy.  It's the difference between the United States and the Soviet Union.

As companies grow and change, who they need will naturally change.  This means hiring lots of new people at some times.  It also means laying off lots of people at other times.  Otherwise, companies will be employing people they don't need.  That will make them less efficient.  They'll get less done.  Everyone will have a lower standard of living.  And companies will have less ability to hire the people that they actually need.

Online rockets4life97

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Re: SpaceX reducing workforce by at least 10 percent
« Reply #14 on: 01/12/2019 12:44 am »
I honestly think this is a great sign. They are closing out lots of F9/Dragon work, but they probably don't want/need all the same folks working on BFR. It is much easier to cut positions and then add them back for BFR when they are needed.

Offline lonestriker

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Re: SpaceX reducing workforce by at least 10 percent
« Reply #15 on: 01/12/2019 12:44 am »
I assume many of us old timers have been around the block a few times and seen our fair share of reorganizations, shifting corporate directions, changing of management teams, mergers/acquisitions, failed product launches, etc. the list goes on and on.  Sometimes, the layoffs and realignments are done well (severance, employee retraining for those who don't fit, cutting the under-performing employees and keeping the core).  Sometimes the layoffs are indiscriminate where you cut the good and keep the bad.

Given that SpaceX follows a Silicon Valley software startup structure more than it does a government/NASA or "old space" one, I assume they'll be deliberate and more fair in their selection of employees to layoff.  It's never easy and mostly sucks.  But as long as you keep your core technical leadership and the employees who will give you the best chance to succeed, as well as treat the ones you let go with respect (and appropriate compensation), then it's a part of life and growing up as a company.

I've been in small, nimble firms that annually cut the bottom 5-10%.  They mostly got it right, but often the choices were more political than based on merit.  From everything we know about SpaceX, I would hope that it's more of a meritocracy and that is how they'll handle this situation.

Online ncb1397

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Re: SpaceX reducing workforce by at least 10 percent
« Reply #16 on: 01/12/2019 12:45 am »
They were seeking a $750 million loan recently. Instead, what they got was a $273.2 million share sale and a loan of $250 million. That is a capital shortfall of $226.8 million.

Quote
I've been in small, nimble firms that annually cut the bottom 5-10%.  They mostly got it right, but often the choices were more political than based on merit.  From everything we know about SpaceX, I would hope that it's more of a meritocracy and that is how they'll handle this situation.

Here is an anecdote:

Quote
At about 10 o’clock on Saturday evening, an angry Musk was examining one of the production line’s mechanized modules, trying to figure out what was wrong, when the young, excited engineer was brought over to assist him.

“Hey, buddy, this doesn’t work!” Musk shouted at the engineer, according to someone who heard the conversation. “Did you do this?”

The engineer was taken aback. He had never met Musk before. Musk didn’t even know the engineer’s name. The young man wasn’t certain what, exactly, Musk was asking him, or why he sounded so angry.

“You mean, program the robot?” the engineer said. “Or design that tool?”

“Did you #&@*ing do this?” Musk asked him.

“I’m not sure what you’re referring to?” the engineer replied apologetically.

“You’re a #&@*ing idiot!” Musk shouted back. “Get the #&@* out and don’t come back!”

The young engineer climbed over a low safety barrier and walked away. He was bewildered by what had just happened. The entire conversation had lasted less than a minute. A few moments later, his manager came over to say that he had been fired on Musk’s orders...

https://www.wired.com/story/elon-musk-tesla-life-inside-gigafactory/
« Last Edit: 01/12/2019 12:50 am by ncb1397 »

Offline Kabloona

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Re: SpaceX reducing workforce by at least 10 percent
« Reply #17 on: 01/12/2019 12:49 am »
Great move, sack the people who have made you what your are.

Huh... What? 10%. That is it. What do you think has happened at ULA in the last couple of years?

And let's not forget General Electric under Jack Welch, who fired the bottom 10% performers in the company annually, while GE earnings and revenue grew dramatically in the 1980's and 1990's.




Online docmordrid

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Re: SpaceX reducing workforce by at least 10 percent
« Reply #18 on: 01/12/2019 12:52 am »
They were seeking a $750 million loan recently. Instead, what they got was a $273.2 million share sale and a loan of $250 million. That is a capital shortfall of $226.8 million.

I believe that take was refuted.

There were reports they had enough offers to get the full amount but didn't take it, so ISTM when Starship forked from composites to stainless steel they needed less.
« Last Edit: 01/12/2019 12:52 am by docmordrid »
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Offline lonestriker

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Re: SpaceX reducing workforce by at least 10 percent
« Reply #19 on: 01/12/2019 12:55 am »
They were seeking a $750 million loan recently. Instead, what they got was a $273.2 million share sale and a loan of $250 million. That is a capital shortfall of $226.8 million.

Quote
I've been in small, nimble firms that annually cut the bottom 5-10%.  They mostly got it right, but often the choices were more political than based on merit.  From everything we know about SpaceX, I would hope that it's more of a meritocracy and that is how they'll handle this situation.

Here is an anecdote:

Quote
At about 10 o’clock on Saturday evening, an angry Musk was examining one of the production line’s mechanized modules, trying to figure out what was wrong, when the young, excited engineer was brought over to assist him.

“Hey, buddy, this doesn’t work!” Musk shouted at the engineer, according to someone who heard the conversation. “Did you do this?”

The engineer was taken aback. He had never met Musk before. Musk didn’t even know the engineer’s name. The young man wasn’t certain what, exactly, Musk was asking him, or why he sounded so angry.

“You mean, program the robot?” the engineer said. “Or design that tool?”

“Did you #&@*ing do this?” Musk asked him.

“I’m not sure what you’re referring to?” the engineer replied apologetically.

“You’re a #&@*ing idiot!” Musk shouted back. “Get the #&@* out and don’t come back!”

The young engineer climbed over a low safety barrier and walked away. He was bewildered by what had just happened. The entire conversation had lasted less than a minute. A few moments later, his manager came over to say that he had been fired on Musk’s orders...

https://www.wired.com/story/elon-musk-tesla-life-inside-gigafactory/

I would take that with a grain of salt.  I believe Elon refuted that story.  I'm not saying Elon can't be a hot head and make bad decisions.  But SpaceX and Tesla tend to be highly rated companies to work at by the employees themselves.  So, you have to look at the whole picture and not just single, uncorroborated anecdotes.

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