Ever wondered what’s it like to work at TESLA?
Ever wondered what’s it like to build things knowing that your work has the potential to influence the entire world?
Meet Saiman Shetty, an Indian working at TESLA.
Team TEN recently got in touch with Mr. Saiman Shetty over a phone call all the way from Silicon Valley, California!
So, let’s dig in to know more about this inspiring Indian.
(Everything discussed in this interview were Saiman’s personal opinions. He is not representing any organization for this article)
I completed my schooling and college in Karnataka. I went to a college named Nitte which people call one of the best Engineering colleges in Karnataka. I studied ‘Electrical and Electronics Engineering’ there and one of the subjects that fascinated me was control systems , mainly because of its applicability in many fields and not just one.
I wanted to do a Masters and I thought to myself that ‘Control Systems’ will be the right field to pursue my higher studies in and that’s when I moved to Arizona State University.
Later I moved to Atlanta where I worked for a couple of companies designing control systems for their products.
Meanwhile an opportunity at Tesla came by and I moved to Silicon Valley!
I believe that the technical knowledge people get through ‘Engineering’ programmes to make a product or provide a service is not possible just by using engineering knowledge alone.
If an engineer possesses designing knowledge, the overall management strategy to take the product to the market, he will definitely have an upper hand.
If a person is agnostic to other sectors and focuses solely on the technical side of the product, he may overengineer things and develop products which do not serve any practical use.
As far as refinement of technology is concerned, I personally don’t think it’s a bad thing because it’s just a group of people wanting to bring something that is already proven in some other place.
And if you take a step back and see many people are benefitted from this, that’s what technically matters.
But that said, one of the things I think is the technological and infrastructure barrier that results in a certain lag.
If you compare with other places, India has a significant cost advantage over the countries in the west.
Like, for example, SpaceX is coming up with reusable rockets, but even before that if we consider the cost of a rocket, India successfully developed them at much lower costs.
That’s true innovation! That’s something to be proud of!
As far as the selection process at Tesla is concerned, Tesla is one of the hottest companies most people want to work for. There’s a humongous number of applications that come in for few thousand openings that you can see online. Tesla doesn’t mind interviewing several applicants to select the best fit out of the lot. It is a company driven by merit.
As far as my selection is concerned, I was grilled through several rounds (healthy laugh)!
From my overall experience (not only at Tesla), I can say that nobody asked me what’s my GPA and which school I went to, the only thing that matters is what I did during those days.
The mission of Tesla is to accelerate the world’s transition towards sustainable energy. Earlier, the mission statement was to accelerate sustainable transport, and now it has changed to sustainable energy to complete a cycle.
So basically it’s based on three tier system : Energy generation(Solar Panels and Roofs), Energy storage (Powerwall and Powerpack) and energy consumption (Transport vehicles).
I will not talk on any plans of the company, for that you’ll have to approach Tesla directly.
However, what fascinated me was that recently I read about the Indian government planning to only allow the sale of electric cars by 2030.
Well, I would not say it’s impossible but it will be difficult for most existing vehicle owners to scrap their petrol driven cars and buy a new one in 13 years.
But yaa, it’s up to the entrepreneurs, to explore if we can come up with a sustainable, cost effective solution of converting the petrol driven powertrain into electric powertrain.
I personally endorse him, I think he is capable of doing things he sets his vision onto.
As far as the environment at Tesla is concerned, its heavily driven by his vision.
Its pretty much exciting knowing that your work has the potential to benefit so many people and nations. A very satisfying experience indeed knowing that between when you stepped into work in the morning and when you stepped out in the night, you’ve done your small part for the future of the planet.
I think entrepreneurs should focus on generating value to their customers, developing sustainable products which do not die out in the long run and if they die out it should be only because of some other better product coming in and not any substandard product.
Ha Ha Ha! Well I would reduce the number of hours we spend in the classes and increase the number of hours we spend outside actually making and building stuff!
You can connect with Saiman via his blog or facebook:
Interview by : Kairav Shah