I love cars and I work in tech, which is kind of unfortunate because Silicon Valley is where unique automobiles go to die. Grey Priuses rule the roads of Silicon Valley. Uber wants to replace everything with self-driving clone armies. Google aims to put millions of these little buggers on the streets.
(2023 note: Replace grey Priuses with white Teslas, Uber with Waymo and Cruise, and RIP the little buggers)
To inject some automative flair into this industry, I thought it’d be fitting to reimagine 14 of the top tech companies as some of the most iconic rides today.
1. Airbnb is the Jeep Wrangler
Is there anyone who wouldn’t recognize the Wrangler’s familiar yet exciting shape? In its 30 years of life, the boxy jeep has become the embodiment of adventure. Whether my Airbnb is an alpine cabin or a saharan ranch, I’d choose the Wrangler as my car of choice to get me there.
Its timeless design and go-anywhere capability drew a cult-like following. Jeep meets happen all over the world and attract thousands of Wrangler devotees. Likewise, Airbnb is also known for its community. When the CEO writes a piece called Don’t Fuck Up the Culture, you know it’s for real.
2. Apple is the Porsche 911
Beautifully sleek. Instantly recognizable. Impeccable engineering. Yeah, I’m a Porsche fanboy, I’ll admit that.
Porsche’s excellence hasn’t faded one bit over the years. They took the phrase “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and seared it into the minds of all their engineers. The first 911 and the current 911 look like they could be siblings. That’s really something considering Porsche’s 50+ years of history.
People say once you’ve driven a Porsche, you won’t be able to drive anything else. This car will ruin you. People also say the same thing about a particular tech company’s products.
Which tech company makes beautiful yet consistent products year after year? You guessed it, Apple.
A Find the Similarities game between iPhone v1 and iPhone v5 might be impossible. But maybe that’s what makes Apple products so iconic. Another common theme of Apple products is their impeccable craftsmanship. They’re the Porsches of the tech world.
3. Dropbox is the Cadillac CTS-V
With clean lines and sharp angles, the CTS-V could’ve been carved from a slab of marble. Whoever envisioned its crisp silhouette might’ve taken a page from Dropbox’s playbook, which preaches minimalism and simplicity.
But don’t mistake clean-cut for bare. The CTS-V is a machine to be reckoned with. Its aggressive hood scoop, swanky spoiler, and 640 thundering horses make sure you don’t forget that fact. Dropbox doesn’t fall behind in the over-the-top department either, with a $100K chrome statue of a panda adorning its headquarters.
Despite the CTS’s compelling pitch, it faces stiff competition from the likes of the BMW 3 Series, which happens to represent one of Dropbox’s toughest rivals, Google. Only time will tell if the CTS/Dropbox can stay competitive in the crowded market.
4. Facebook is the Audi A4
The A4 used to be an up-and-comer in the sports sedan scene. Now, it presides over a permanent slice of the market as a major player. Although it still lacks the global brand prestige of BMW, it’s quickly catching up.
Everyone who drives an Audi loves it — it routinely tops consumer satisfaction charts. Its growth trajectory looks eerily similar to that of Facebook, which only recently solidified its place in the upper pantheon of tech companies. The scary thing is, it’s still growing beyond all expectations.
5. Google is the BMW 3 Series
The BMW 3-series is the king of sports sedans. Despite tougher competition recently, it’s still the best-selling and most renowned car in its class. In a similar light is Google, the luminary of the tech industry.
At the start of their lives, both BMW and Google used to focus on one thing: BMW on the ultimate driving experience and Google on search. But over time, they’ve expanded their kingdoms.
BMW has introduced a mind-boggling number of 3 Series variations, including the fuel-sipping hybrid, the high-powered M3, and everything in between. Similarly, Google has evolved into Alphabet, the umbrella corporation of 20+ subsidiaries.
But they haven’t forgotten their roots. BMW still makes driver-centric racers, albeit with enough padding for modern buyers. And Google continues to spend millions of dollars every year to safeguard its reign as the king of search.
6. Magic Leap is the BMW i8
What’s the i8 and Magic Leap got in common? They both look like they belong in the movie Tron.
Electron-powered hypercars with laser headlights? Synthetic-reality holograms? Yes, yes, yes.
7. Pinterest is the Mazda Miata
The cute, fun and pretty Miata is the perfect fit for Pinterest in every way. Its bubbly character and sublime handling appeals to boys and girls, men and women alike.
The Miata exudes charisma in spades. Even if you don’t think it’s very practical, I guarantee you’ll fall in love with it if you take it out for a spin.
Like Pinterest, you won’t be using the Miata everyday — it’s not a daily driver like the Audi A4 or the BMW 3 Series. Instead, break it out for carefree weekend joyrides on country roads. That’s where you’ll truly discover the Miata’s soul.
8. Slack is the Jaguar F-TYPE
The F-TYPE is the hot newcomer to the crowded sports car scene. It stands out with a cheery and upbeat exterior, but it’s all business on the inside. At full power, fluid acceleration is punctuated by lusty engine snarls. You’ll start looking for detours on the way to work just so you can let it loose on open roads.
The Jag represents Slack, the startup that obliterated all competition with a one-two punch of delightful design and potent performance.
9. SpaceX is the Bugatti Veyron
Everything arounds you dissolves into a blur as G-force hits you like an invisible wall of bricks. You’re forced to the edge of consciousness. “Am I passed out or inside the vacuum of space?” All you can hear is the roar of a thousand horses stampeding beside you.
This is what it feels like to floor the gas pedal of a Bugatti Veyron. The Veyron is frighteningly fast, but after all, you need a fast car if you want to achieve escape velocity.
Interesting fact #1: The Veyron has spoilers that deploy at high speeds to prevent it from flying off the ground.
Interesting fact #2: The Veyron accelerates from 0–60 faster than gravity.
10. Spotify is the Doof Wagon
My definition of a car is pretty liberal. If you haven’t seen Mad Max, please do yourself a favor and watch it immediately.
11. Snap is the Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ/Scion FR-S
The little upstart that’s doing better than everyone predicted. With a lightweight body, youthful design, and a responsive rear end that demands to be slid into every corner, the Toyota 86 embodies the word fun.
It’s as agile as any supercar, but it doesn’t take itself so seriously. It’s an affordable car anyone can enjoy. Snap is the same way — a multi-billion dollar company that still manages to stay youthful and exuberant.
The Toyota 86 and Snap have the same goal: Provide loads of enjoyment to anyone looking for a great time.
12. Stripe is the Volkswagen Golf
The Golf isn’t the most flamboyant car in this list, and that’s perfectly fine. What it excels at is delivering inspired agility and bulletproof dependability without causing any fuss.
The understated Golf is the best counterpart to Stripe, a payments startup that has continued to provide intuitive and reliable services while managing to fly under the radar.
13. Tesla is…wait for it…the Model S
Didn’t see the plot twist coming did you? Nitpick the Tesla’s interior, reliability, and delay issues all you want. But you have to admit, the Model S is one swift and gorgeous piece of sheetmetal.
14. Uber is the Land Rover Range Rover
No way I can explain better than Travis’ perfectly succinct tweet.
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Thanks to Kyeihong Kim and Sophie He for editing ❤