Jan 11, 2017

Hot in Silicon Valley: Tesla poaches from Apple, Plouffe to Facebook

Ringo H.W. Chiu / AP

Tesla hires one of Apple's top software guys

Elon Musk's car company has hired Chris Lattner to lead its Autopilot software team—a big hire as Lattner is credited with creating Apple's mobile programming language, Swift.

Irony: Musk once called Apple "a Tesla graveyard," adding, "If you don't make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple."

Tesla's clear message: Its Autopilot software is top priority.

  • Tesla made its name as an electric car company, but autonomous cars are its ultimate goal.
  • Its Autopilot software is a critical part of its self-driving technology, and Tesla has chosen an expert who has developed something as fundamental as a programming language.
David Plouffe will help Mark Zuckerberg's philanthropic efforts

Obama's 2008 presidential campaign manager is headed to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to lead public policy efforts. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, formed the organization in late 2015 to take on ambitious goals like curing human diseases and improving education.

That's not all: Ken Mehlman, who managed Bush's 2004 presidential campaign, will lead the organization's new public policy advisory board while continuing to work for KKR, a private equity firm.

What it means: Zuckerberg is gearing up to take on big political battles for his philanthropic quests. It's also hard to ignore that Plouffe's other job in Silicon Valley is to advise Uber, a company known for its aggressive tactics and occasionally loose interpretation of laws.

Go deeper

Investment pros are selling while mom and pop buy the coronavirus dip

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As traders around the globe have frantically unloaded positions in recent weeks, so-called mom and pop retail investors have kept level heads and not sold out of stocks.

What they're saying: In fact, "the typical trader is buying equities on the dips," passive investment firm Vanguard notes in a research paper, adding that "older, wealthier traders are moving modestly to fixed income."

Zuckerberg: "Local journalism is incredibly important" to fighting coronavirus

Photo: Sven Hoppe/picture alliance via Getty Images

Mark Zuckerberg, signaling his personal involvement in a new Facebook commitment of $100 million to bolstering local journalism, told me that "very local work" is vital to his big mission of bringing the world closer together.

What he's saying: "Everyone believes that local journalism is incredibly important," Zuckerberg told Axios in a phone interview. "But everyone is connected to their local [outlets]. Figuring out how to make an impact, and support local journalism broadly and at scale, has been a challenge."

Facebook spending $100 million to help news outlets in coronavirus crisis

Photo Illustration by Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook says it is spending $100 million to support news outlets around the world that have been impacted by the coronavirus, the company said Monday.

Why it matters: Whatever Facebook's motivation, this is a much-needed cash infusion at a critical time for the local news industry.