Tesla, Rivian in court over trade secrets

SANZC02

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Compensation structure & figures are one thing, but performance data on specific employees is another (good people to recruit).

Tesla has some valid gripes here, but I strongly believe they're pursuing it for publicity (and possibly employee intimidation) reasons & don't know how they can prove significant financial damage.

All in all, this is a nuisance but not a huge issue for Rivian.
Not sure they have a valid gripe. I have not seen all of the details but seems like most of them are around the 178 ex-Tesla employees currently working at Rivian. From what I understand, only 70 of these came directly from Tesla and the other 108 at one time worked at Tesla before going to some other company.

If you look at the numbers, the current estimates are Rivian has ~3000 employees. That would put the 70 direct hires at 2.3% of the workforce. If you take the entire 178 that is 5.9%. This is still a fairly new industry so these numbers seem to be fairly small considering the pool of available experienced talent in this market.

Then we would need to know when did they get hired. Rivian has been developing these vehicles since 2009 and other than being an EV, are really not competing in the same market.

I wonder if the case would even have been able to move forward if not for the liberal CA courts.





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There is an entire multi-billion dollar industry built around LMI (labor market information) and 'head-hunting' that entered the Information Age before Tesla was founded.

That data is used for more than hiring, it's also used for CTE (vocational) program design, and secondary and post-secondary course development for academic institutions among other things (real estate investment, market investment, civil engineering, etc)

While stolen HR info is sweet, it's actual value vs the cost of datasets is not that large anymore.

You are being headhunted right now by AI on the web.
 

McRat

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Elon must is neither a saint nor satan. He is a ambitious man with grand ideas and the guts to risk it all to achieve them. Most people like this fail. For every success story, there is a graveyard filled with unachieved dreams.

Understand this is the guy who sued Top Gear because they hurt his feelings. I'll bet he has dozens of lawsuits as the plaintiff and dozens more as the defendant.

I'm dismayed at his obvious misrepresentation of Full Self Driving in November of 2016. They failed to get a good demo video, so they geofenced and possibly remote-controlled a car to create the video and then halted all California testing the next day. True story, not an internet rumor. I monitored the situation at the time.

FSD is stillborn at this point, but whenever he needs a market price bump, Elon releases another statement about how good the beta testing version works.

If you would have bought TSLA instead of FSD in 2017, you could buy a Model X with the money.
 

Sdvictor

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I don't see this mentioned, but I will state what I see Tesla as doing from a Silicon valley tech employee perspective (I work between Seattle and the Bay Area, but have worked a long time in tech, don't work for AMZ):

Along with Apple, people who work for Tesla can't wait to jump ship. It's not exactly a paragon of a great work environment. I can't tell you how many connections i get from people looking to leave Tesla just months after they join.

WIth California's non-compete ban, this is effectively Musks's way of saying "you can't leave me and work for a competitor" This type of tactic has been used for decades in the valley to ice people leaving for competitors as a warning, and basically required a truce between Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, FB and Google to not keep on suing each other when people kept leaving. Tesla will probably do this to any EV manufacturer that gets close to launch and IPO as most are staffed by ex Tesla employees, most who can't stand Musk. If Tesla moves more to Texas, the bet is most people will stay in California and start/ work for more competitors.

There are obvious cases like Corey Lewandowski (Googler leaving for Uber to do the self driving, but stole code), but most of this is meant to scare key individuals from leaving for greener pastures.
 
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Pherdnut

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Along with Apple, people who work for Tesla can't wait to jump ship. It's not exactly a paragon of a great work environment.
Yeah, they pretty much kicked Musk out of Paypal for being toxic AF. An average Glassdoor rating for a company that prominent and Tesla's senior staff turnover rate is pretty appalling. I think if Musk doesn't take a more hands-off position in the company soon, Tesla's going to lose more talent and market share than it has to.
 

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Are you seeing what you want too see? LOL.
LOL, now I see it. Tech ubb. It's a TSLA shill video, so still scary 😂.

Talking about 20M cars a year. You gotta be kidding me, the quality would drop to being held together with epoxy and duct tape at that stage
 

ajdelange

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I'm sure Elon Musk can be a real PITA from time to time. Steve Jobs was a real @$%^& according to many. Etc. But if you want to stand close to the fire you have to be willing to take the heat. I am sure several people have left the company because of this and others because of "burnout" but I think the main reason is headhunters. Before they invented robocalling we had head hunters. If you were any good at all in a high tech job or worked for a company with a good reputation the phone rang oll day long with guys on the other end with opportunities. And these were real. In the tech industry wizzards are a very valuable commodity and poaching was a big problem for companies. Their CEO's would get together and on a handshake agree not to poach as I imagine that to do anything formally would be illegal (restraint of trade or something). Even so the workers knew of their value and often would go sniffing around many times with offers to bring info from the competitor they currently were working for,

The real point here is that this is nothing new. AFAIK it has been going on for 50 years.
 

SeaGeo

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I'm sure Elon Musk can be a real PITA from time to time. Steve Jobs was a real @$%^& according to many. Etc. But if you want to stand close to the fire you have to be willing to take the heat. I am sure several people have left the company because of this and others because of "burnout" but I think the main reason is headhunters. Before they invented robocalling we had head hunters. If you were any good at all in a high tech job or worked for a company with a good reputation the phone rang oll day long with guys on the other end with opportunities. And these were real. In the tech industry wizzards are a very valuable commodity and poaching was a big problem for companies. Their CEO's would get together and on a handshake agree not to poach as I imagine that to do anything formally would be illegal (restraint of trade or something). Even so the workers knew of their value and often would go sniffing around many times with offers to bring info from the competitor they currently were working for,

The real point here is that this is nothing new. AFAIK it has been going on for 50 years.
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Minor tangential rant here generally echoing AJ. Yes, recruiting is very common. The big tech companies did actually get in legal trouble over it a few years ago. Many States also make non-compete clauses virtually unenforceable. Elon is just bitching because nobody likes to compete over staff and the risk of losing IP is real.

I'm not in tech, but engineering. A couple of years after I started a couple of us were recruited by other firms at the same time. One was our size, another large. They offered the two of us quite a bit more $ than we were making, and I was fairly frustrated. So we told our firm, and salaries for our staff at our level were adjusted accordingly. Which was great. However, our HR manager was annoyed because she hadn't been trying to "steal" employees from other companies out of respect for them (because it's hard to hire good people). I pointed out that's likely illegal, but also pissed me off. I also told my boss that I understood that they weren't intentionally trying to keep salaries low (they weren't), I didn't trust them to get the appropriate data anymore and I'd talk with every recruiter that engages with me about a position.

Things have changed, we use recruiters. We directly engage targeted hires. Salaries are up quite a bit (also because if a shortage of qualified engineers and cost of living increases in Seattle).


Competition is good for the employee *and* the employer. Share what you make with your peers. Listen to recruiters. You need all of the data points you can get to make sure you are paid fairly for your services. Push back on the absurd idea that whatever you think of while employed with a company is their property. Those shower thoughts are yours. Not theirs. Unless you're getting paid to make them and are specifically having those shower thoughts for your job.

And call BS on free market tycoons who bitch and moan when they have to actually compete for employees.
 

ajdelange

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I'm not in tech, but engineering.
?? If engineering isn't tech, what is it. And if engineering isn't a major part of tech what is tech?
 

SeaGeo

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?? If engineering isn't tech, what is it. And if tech isn't engineering isn't a major part of tech what is tech?
I work at a Geotechnical and environmental engineering firm. It's not tech in the sense of I don't work for FAANG, and we are in a different industry. Mostly semantics.

I'm probably going to offend some people here, but oh well. Tech isn't engineering in the sense that software "engineers" aren't engineers. They aren't getting licensed, and don't have a moral and legal responsibility to the general public. If I stamp something, and it performs poorly, there is a very real possibility that both myself and my family will suffer the consequences. If someone dies because I or those working for me screw up, I very well may be charged over it.
 

ajdelange

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I guess it's that there are engineers and then there are engineers. I've worked with hundreds and hundreds of them of all stripes: hardware engineers, software engineers, marine engineers, systems engineers, mechanical engineers, aeronautical engineers, chemical engineers, thermal engineers, nuclear engineers, medical engineers, signal processing engineers, optical engineers... One thing the vast majority had in common was that they were not licensed PE's. An occasional guy did it because he thought it might be useful some day. Why would a guy designing a noise canceller need a PE certification.? Or someone designing a lens or...

There are myriad more professional engineers out there than there are "Professional Engineers" and they don't all work for FAANG
 

SeaGeo

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I guess it's that there are engineers and then there are engineers. I've worked with hundreds and hundreds of them of all stripes: hardware engineers, software engineers, marine engineers, systems engineers, mechanical engineers, aeronautical engineers, chemical engineers, thermal engineers, nuclear engineers, medical engineers, signal processing engineers, optical engineers... One thing the vast majority had in common was that they were not licensed PE's. An occasional guy did it because he thought it might be useful some day. Why would a guy designing a noise canceller need a PE certification.? Or someone designing a lens or...

There are myriad more professional engineers out there than there are "Professional Engineers" and they don't all work for FAANG
Yeah, I generally agree. And it's mostly a soap box thing that you happens to trigger. When I was TAing as a grad student it drove me nuts we seniors in a Civil degree still weren't going taking their future responsibility serious, because in a year or two they would be making decisions that could impact people's lives. A little bit is just annoyance because when I say I'm an engineer in Seattle, people just assume I am a software engineer. And some of it is because Elon claiming to be an engineer is borderline illegal, and it shows a lack of respect for the actual engineers at Tesla who *do* stamp designs and take responsibility for their products. He doesn't have that responsibility. Many of the engineers I know who go into the profession engineering fields do so specifically because if an innate drive to help society. In my field specifically it's commonly in response to having seen an earthquake or tsunami destroy a region.

Literally none of this is related to trade secrets or recruiting though. And my response regarding to recruiting really was meant to be industry agnostic. I was just noting that I don't work at FAANG.
 

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