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Market Musings - July 18, 2018

July 18, 2018

We continue our blog series: Market Musings, Volume 2, Edition 22, giving our (hopefully not too random) thoughts on recent goings-on in the markets. Today, we present "The Internet Never Forgets: Tesla Edition".

 

First, a quick stroll down memory lane...(see full video here). Gotta love that Elon bro, to wit:

  • "A series of calls and the [$50 million] is there"

  • "I mean, those are just a large number of Ben Franklins”

  • "I do not fit the picture of a banker", etc.

 

Now, back to reality (i.e., present day). Tesla CEO Elon Musk had a rather eventful last weekend, kicked off on Friday the 13th (an omen?) with a mysterious tweet about a cat:

Then on Saturday news broke that Musk had been in bed with many...REPUBLICANS (yikes, definitely NOT good PR for a clean tech company like Tesla):

Well, never one to rest on his laurels (side note: Elon denies he's a big backer of the Repubs), Musk on Sunday accused one of the Thai cave rescuers of pedophilia (again, not exactly a great PR move--except that it certainly DID get folks to stop talking about how Musk is backing the GOP to retain control of Congress--so maybe it was a smart PR move after all):

 

Frankly, all of this stuff is rather immaterial gossip...so long as it doesn't affect Tesla's vehicle sales (who knows what the fall out there will be).

 

What's interesting is that Musk deleted the offending "pedo guy" tweets from his Twitter timeline. But as everyone now knows, the Internet NEVER FORGETS. Once it's posted, it's permanent (via screen grabs, retweets, etc.). (Witness this very blog post, as further proof.) Ten and a half years ago Tesla had an analogous Internet controversy concerning a blog entry by Martin Eberhard, the actual founder of Tesla (Musk was not the founder, he came into the picture a year or so after it was set up and was initially just a financial backer). At the time, Eberhard had been ousted by Musk, who had taken control of Tesla's board of directors, for general mismanagement of the company's operations. Tesla then instituted a widespread purge of personnel in order to cut costs. Well, this did NOT sit well with the ex-CEO and founder Eberhard. In fact, he was so mad that he posted the following entry on his personal blog, then located at http://www.teslafounders.com:

 

Lo and behold, the post and the comments appended thereto were so incendiary, they were quickly thereafter taken down and replaced with the following blog entry:

Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your viewpoint), since the Internet never forgets, the original blog post with its full set of comments can be found in all their respective glory by searching for "http://www.teslafounders.com:80/" at this link. (Thank you, Wayback Machine.) Another reminder to every CEO--be very careful what you say (as Papa John's CEO recently discovered), but be especially careful if you say it on the Internet.

 

Note that Musk had his own contemporary blog post addressing the late 2007 layoffs entitled "The Song Remains the Same":

The final paragraph of Musk's post included the statement that "Tesla needs to be profitable to be viable and grow". So, a full 10.5 years ago Musk was talking about Tesla needing to achieve profitability "to be viable and grow"(!!!) Huh. The song indeed remains the same, Elon...

 

DISCLOSURE: None.

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