Finally, finally people are angry at Elon Musk for his boorish behavior on Tesla's (TSLA) conference call? Finally, they are fed up about how he treats analysts and how he gives his alternative set of facts?
Are you kidding me?
Last night was his best conference call, ever.
Because he said a couple of things that really clarify the situation and a few others that a lot of CEOs wish they could say but don't want to because they have to play by the rules.
Now listening to a Musk conference call is a little like listening to an old-fashioned record album. There are some hit songs intermixed with some losers you just have to slog through, which is why it's such a shame that the best comments were the last ones, the ones that really get to the heart of the ridiculous investment practices we have developed in the later stages of capitalism.
So many stocks, for example, are dominated by the whims of hedge fund managers whipping around for a quick buck. Every CEO knows this but most won't say it. Not Elon. I loved this gem: "We have no interest in satisfying the desires of day traders. I couldn't care less. Please sell our stock, don't buy it."
Bravo, bravo! SO many CEOs have to deal with these predators, these buzzards who can blame Musk for telling them to get the hell out of his prized equity that he built and has a huge stake in.
Tesla's stock is unnerving, not for the faint of heart, yet I think people don't understand the risks that are associated with it and how emotional the stock can be. That's why I was so thrilled that Elon again broke through the truth barrier: "I think if people are concerned about volatility, they should definitely not buy our stock. I'm not here to convince you to buy our stock. Do not buy it if volatility is scary."
Now you are talking. He's laying it out in black and white. There's no gun to your head to buy the stock of Tesla and if you can't handle it for heaven's sake, get out of Dodge because this is the wild west for certain.
One of the most persistent themes of the bears when it comes to Tesla is when will Musk own up that he has to have more money and needs to do a financing. You could have detected this skein of thought in many of the questions from analysts, but it was Toni Sacconaghi who point blank asked that costs of the production of the batteries and the Model 3 and what does it mean for capital requirements. Musk, correctly thought the question was boring and "not cool." Do you know how many other CEOs want to tell that guy off the same way? He's a total downer on every conference call I am on. Worse than Morgan Stanley's Dara Mohsenian on the consumer packaged goods calls. Even more damning that Steve Tusa, JP Morgan's industrial analyst. I say nice shutdown!
Now, tons of people seem freaked out about the interchange Musk had with analysts before he broke off from the analysts to speak to an aptly named fellow, Galileo. To me it was my favorite moment. You see RBC's Joseph Spak wanted to know about Model 3 reservations and, I believe, the impact of the fatal collision involving the car's autonomous auto pilot feature. Musk could have said "we have even more reservations than ever." I mean that would be his totally unverifiable style.
Instead he simply said "We're going to go to YouTube. Sorry. These questions are so dry. They're killing me."
All I can say is, me too. If you really think you are going to get a straight answer to that question from him then you are on a permanent intellectual vacation.
Now, I think that it's time for Musk to either suspend conference calls entirely and just have a big Warren Buffett like Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) (BRK.B) love fest. Close the Gigafactory and just bring in the adoring public and then be interviewed by Bill and Joe, the Car Guys.
Why not? At least it would be a lot less boring and perhaps even informative to those intrepid souls who want to own this stock.
Otherwise, thank you Elon for telling the truth: if you can't handle the heat of owning the most heavily shorted equity in the land, then get out of the kitchen, or the Gigafactory, or whatever. After all , the man only wants to hear congratulations and thank you. Don't bother asking anything else if you are an analyst, you are, in his alternative security world, just plain out of line, and if you like the car, buy the car, but not the stock because who the heck really does know the truth about what's happening. You sure aren't going to hear it from this guy. He's selling cars, not stock and never forget it.