Elon Musk says Apple Inc. tries to lure Tesla Motors Inc employees mostly unsuccessfully

Elon Musk says Apple Inc. tries to lure Tesla Motors Inc employees mostly unsuccessfully

by Steve Vrionis · February 5, 2015 04:51 PM PST

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is making a push to recruit talent from Tesla Motors Inc(NASDAQ:TSLA). According to comments by Elon Musk to Bloomberg, Apple is offering bonuses of as much as $250,000 and raises of 60 percent in salary to those willing to come work for Apple in Cupertino. In recent years more than 150 Apple workers have moved to Tesla, but reportedly only a few Tesla employees have taken the offer.

“From a design philosophy, [Apple] is relatively closely aligned,” says Elon Musk

A Silicon Valley reporter who wished not to be named told Bloomberg that Tesla attracts the same kind of employees that Apple does—driven, hard-charging, and drawn to a strong leader.

In recent years, cars have become more like computers with more and more software and many traditional automakers have struggled to attract Silicon Valley talent. Silicon Valley has a totally different mindset then Detroit, which is seen as old and stale to many engineers. Tesla is seen more like an exciting new technology iPhone than an old technology car. Nonetheless, automakers have rushed to set up offices in the Bay Area to tap engineering talent. Most of them have not had nearly as much success recruiting as Elon Musk who’s powerful persona and technological background as the co-founder of PayPal attracts top engineering minds.

A former Apple Designer, Brennan Boblett, developed the Tesla Model S car control screen with a team of former Apple alumni. Joe Nuxoll, a freelance design consultant who’s worked at both companies commented, “You try to design it so that it requires not a whole lot of thinking,” Nuxoll says. “It’s more like an iPhone than a Ford.”

While Musk has been successful at poaching Apple employees, Apple has not been so lucky with Tesla Employees. “Apple tries very hard to recruit from Tesla,” Musk says. “But so far they’ve actually recruited very few people.”

The news come on heels that Apple has been experimenting with mysterious vans. In addition to San Francisco and New York. AppleInsider readers have reported sightings in Wisconsin, Hawaii, and Panama City, Panama. Although the vehicles are likely mapping vehicles some have said they are testing autonomous cars which leaves you wondering what Apple could be up to.

Source: InvestCorrectly

Red Sage ca us | February 5, 2015


It really depends upon where you are in your career, and where you expect to go. Luring, poaching, stealing,or purloining talent is the norm in Silicon Valley, along with lending talent. The real point is how hard it is to get that talent to move to Detroit.

Tesla Bahamas | February 5, 2015

The mighty Apple is losing employees to the "lowly" Tesla. If someone turns down $250,000 that says something about the culture and direction of Tesla as a company.

Red Sage ca us | February 5, 2015

Yeah. Make it 250,000 shares of AAPL though...

Chunky Jr. | February 6, 2015

There are probably many Tesla engineers who literally have millions in Tesla stock that is unvested, and to walk away from that requires a lot more than a $250K bonus. It's hard to imagine Apple stock doubling again, but I'm sure Tesla employees could imagine Tesla stock doubling. And for many people, even if the stock and the cash bonus was a wash financially, Tesla is probably a more enjoyable place to work than Apple given that so many people have left Apple for Tesla.

lolachampcar | February 6, 2015

This seems a bit like who's the hot bar pick up joint type mentality. Today, it is Tesla....

PhillyGal | February 6, 2015

I know of a guy who wants to work for Tesla. He'd make a great VP, or so he begged at the shareholders meeting...

RedShift | February 6, 2015

Looking at the bloatware Apple has been wantonly releasing nowadays, and the unintuitiveness creeping into their UIs, I'd say Apple is on a slow march to join its old friend Microsoft.

Tesla is still a lean, mean, hot and attractive startup.

Sam_S | February 6, 2015

I'm retired but if I was starting my career, I'd be eager to work for both companies.

Tesla is a bit more limiting's just vehicles.

And much of what Tesla is doing in terms of the console is being duplicated by Apple and Google.

Apple is a vastly bigger ecosystem of opportunities, many of which are just at the infancy stage of exploitation, like healthcare and Internet TV. | February 6, 2015

@Sam_S - To be a contrarian, Apple is so much more limiting - it just produces unnecessary consumer devices that do nothing positive for the environment. For engineers at Apple, you'll be put into a narrow hole without any visibility to any other projects within the company. Apple is so secretive, you're unlikely to know what the engineer at the next desk is doing. So you're not going to learn about anything outside your immediate area.

Tesla is so much more than a car - It's working to improve the environment, empowering owners to be energy free (via solar charging), creating a world-wide charging infrastructure and building it's own battery factories. The company has developed a new way to create, design, manufacture, sell, and market vehicles, that is so much more positive that the old-guard. It's a company where you can feel good about what you are doing and it's so much more than just the next fad device.

carlk | February 6, 2015

I heard a rumour a year or two ago that Tesla made job offers to the team at NASA when their Mars rover projet eneded. Not sure if those guys are designing the autopilot system now.

Apple is still a pretty good company to work for but most of the young guns perfer to work for Google, Facebook or Uber. Like @TeslaTap said you don't get as much chance to contribute and move up in Apple as in some other Silicon Valley companies.

graham.simmonds | February 6, 2015

The Product Specialist at our Tesla showroom Charlie at Gatwick said he used to work for Apple. So it looks like it works both ways.

graham.simmonds | February 6, 2015

I would rather have my eyes poked out with a blunt stick then work for Apple.

The only advantage of Apple is that you get notifications on your Apple Tesla App. And that has nothing to do with Apple.

Sam_S | February 6, 2015

@TeslaTap...yes, no question about all the exciting opportunities and frontiers Tesla is developing.

However, to say Apple couldn't be an equally a stimulating place to work because "they only produce consumer devices that do nothing positive for the environment" is a kind of narrow way to evaluate it.

But, I've heard these arguments before like when I took an overweight position in AAPL stock 2 years ago when everybody said the company could no longer innovate or compete.

IMO, with wearables, home automation, CarPlay, Internet TV, Apple Pay, the $3 trillion healthcare market, for starters, Apple has never been better poised for growth in terms of devices and services.

But, like I said, I would be equally enthusiastic about working for Tesla if I was starting my career again.

carlk | February 6, 2015

@Sam_S +1 @graham.simmonds -1 Let's not go so far as to do Apple bashing. Aren't we all want Tesla to become Apple of the auto industry lead by Elon Musk the next Steve Jobs? I would say Apple is still a better company to work for than 95% of companies member on this board is working for now.

AmpedRealtor | February 6, 2015

Gilbert Passin, Tesla's former Senior VP of Manufacturing who apparently resigned sometime last year, was paid a salary of $250,000 plus options to buy up to 200,000 TSLA shares at a very low price. | February 6, 2015

@Sam_S - I likely sound too down on Apple and that wasn't my intent. Apple is a great company, but I think Tesla would be a better place to work. I like startups and smaller operations where you have a larger role in the company's success, and hopefully rewarded for hard work and success. Apple still could be far better than many other choices in the valley.