Trendspotting: Tesla leverages allure of working on AI projects to attract top talent

Tesla AI Day - recruitment tool strategy

By all accounts AI (artificial intelligent) remains one of the most high profile new technologies that people are talking about these days.

And that includes — most notably by far in terms of public profile — Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

Listen to recent interviews and his words at public appearances and you’re likely to hear all about AI. And then some. Autonomous driving. Robotaxis. Machine learning. Neural networking.

True. Tesla is not a car company. It’s a buzzword bingo machine for lazy social media hipsters.

So it’s no surprise that the summer event Tesla is touting is centered around AI.

“AI Day” is coming, according to an Elon Musk Tweet, in about a month. There we’ll get an update on the “progress with Tesla AI software & hardware, both training & inference.” (via Electrek)

However, he emphasizes that the event’s key purpose is recruitment. Hiring is difficult these days as we know, all across the country. Here in Silicon Valley, competition for engineering talent is fierce. Companies try all sorts of innovative (and silly) things to lure the best of the best. Money and signing bonuses help of course. But the allure of working on leading edge technology such as AI, alongside other top tier talent often beats out everything else — perhaps, even free Ben & Jerry’s in the break rooms.

Elon Musk has long emphasized the computing and software sides of Tesla. Certainly, investors have taken note. Tesla stock trades at multiples more akin to a super-growth tech company than it does a plodding automotive company of the past.

If I were a bright-eyed hot shot engineer or computer scientist looking to change the world, the AI pitch would definitely be compelling. Tesla has such a massive lead in autonomous driving and its related tech that it’s hard to imagine other companies matching the (potential) opportunity.

Now, to be real: we all know at quarter end any and all employees need to help out with delivering Tesla vehicles. Meeting delivery goals is paramount these days. So while you may be the coolest engineer in town, diving deep into neural networks and machine learning, you could find yourself installing windshield wiper arms, at least for a day or so.

Disclosure: I am long Tesla stock (NASDAQ: TSLA).

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