As cars become more like computers, and traditional U.S.
automakers struggle to attract Silicon Valley talent, Tesla’s
ability to lure people from Apple gives it an edge in developing
cars of the future. “It’s almost an unfair advantage,” says Adam
Jonas, an auto industry analyst at Morgan Stanley. “As software
goes from 10 percent of the value of the car to 60 over 10 years,
that disadvantage [for traditional carmakers] will intensify.”
Employees who have worked at Apple say their decision to join
Tesla was based on its cars and its CEO. Musk has a reputation,
like Steve Jobs did, for a mercurial temper and an obsessive
attention to detail. A former Tesla worker who didn’t want to be
named says that Musk is enamored with Apple and relishes
comparisons between himself and its co-founder. Tesla, says one
Silicon Valley recruiter who asked not to be named, attracts the
same kind of employees that Apple does — driven, hard-charging,
and drawn to a strong leader.