Why Tesla is poaching Apple employees


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Tesla wants the best minds in tech, from engineers to designers to lawyers, so it’s knocking on Apple’s door.

The Silicon Valley electric car company has recruited more than 150 Apple employees to join its ranks over the last few years, according to a Thursday Bloomberg report, including some high-ranking execs like Apple hardware designer Doug Field, now VP of Tesla’s vehicle program, and former Apple retail strategist George Blankenship. (Blankenship has since left Tesla.)

Tesla CEO Elon Musk reportedly views himself as a creative genius akin to Steve Jobs. He has the same leadership style at Tesla that Jobs was famous for, demanding perfection in every tiny detail, changing his mind at the last minute, and hiring only the best of the best. (Jobs believed that A-team employees would do their best work only if surrounded by other A players.) And while Apple and Tesla are focused on completely different products, both companies emphasize perfection in both software and hardware design. Instead of pushing out over-the-air updates to iOS devices, engineers push out new features for Tesla’s Model S.

According to Bloomberg, Musk sits in on software engineer interviews to “geek out” with prospective employees. Plus, Apple employees don’t have to move to Detroit to work on the next generation of cars—that has to be enticing.

Apple isn’t taking the assault lying down, Musk told Bloomberg. The company has been offering Tesla employees 60 percent salary bumps and $250,000 signing bonuses. Musk said despite the generous offers from Apple, few Tesla employees have defected.

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