At the car wash close to home there are constant encounters between two very distant worlds. On one hand we have the customers who arrive in their Maseratis, Mercedes, Porsches or Teslas who, we can assume, run technology companies. Most of them of Asian origin (Chinese, Korean, Indian) and some Caucasian. On the other hand, we have the workers who are mostly Mexican and Central American making $12 USD an hour.
These regular encounters always strike at my conscience since I have realized that these great contrasts are not normal.
In 2017, the sum of those low salaries brought over a whopping $27 billion USD into the Mexican economy. The staggering thought led me to think about the contributions of the aforementioned Asian tech leaders to their countries of origin by way of remittances. Wikipedia said that it was about $90B USD in 2015. We are still working on finding the exact amount that goes back to India from the Indian diaspora in Silicon Valley.
How many remittances from Mexicans or Latin American entrepreneurs or investors go back to their countries of origin? I do not have that piece of information either, but I could clearly see that this group was not practicing the same custom as their less favored counterparts.
When I went back to the car wash a few weeks later, I had the opportunity to start a conversation with some of the workers. I wanted to get to know them and see if it was appropriate to invite them to collaborate with the MyTesla.co project by chauffeuring our vehicles during their free time. Their gesture of gratitude and humility was moving, but it was more so to hear their refusal due to their undocumented situation.
One of them, with a higher education level, whom we have now supported to lead his own project that provides basic computer skills and education to the community of workers, was oblivious to the reality of Silicon Valley, its opportunities and its weight in the field of innovation and technology.
I dream that the Mexican entrepreneur who already lives in Silicon Valley receives further education and more proper training. My hopes are also that the businessperson or investor who has not left Mexico yet takes more risks, becomes more ambitious and international. I am sure that dreams like mine will help more countries like mine. We are working on that without rest.
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– Miguel Casillas.