It is an interesting dynamic, one that I’ve been interested in as well. If I could have $5 for every time I’ve heard someone in the traditional automotive industry comment to me that Silicon Valley engineers are “too expensive”, I could retire…in Silicon Valley! :) However, that really misses the point. You really have to consider the value that those engineers are creating.
If the value of that engineer is exactly each hour they work because that is how their value is monetized, the difference between a $130k engineer and a $70k engineer is significant. If the value an engineer in Silicon Valley creates is monetized over 250,000, 1,000,000, or 100,000,000 units the equation is very different. This is beginning to be understood in the automotive industry, but is still regularly a point of discussion.
I’m now aware of 29 carmakers with offices in the Bay Area, just two years ago when Elektrobit opened our office down here there were only 13 or 14. These carmakers represent the industry globally; they come from China, Japan, Germany, France, Korea , Sweden, Italy, and the US. They range from companies that haven’t produced their first vehicle, to those which have been producing vehicles for 100+ years. The expansion is significant, and its really interesting that this is the one geography in the world in which you can find this quantity and diversity of the global automotive industry. I don’t believe there is any other 50-mile region in the globe with such representation.
I’m fascinated by how the Bay Area has completely adopted and embraced automotive and is now working in such creative ways to completely transform mobility. I can’t think of a more exiting geography to work, or industry to work in. I also enjoy your posts, keep them coming!