Betting Against Tesla CEO Elon Musk May Be Risky Business

AUG 13 2018 BY EVANNEX 29


Elon Musk’s efforts to transform Tesla into a private company might take a while to unfold. As the drama plays out, expect plenty of ups-and-downs on the Tesla [NASDAQ: TSLA] rollercoaster ride. Look for the ongoing smear campaign against the electric carmaker to ramp up. After all, short sellers (those who bet against Tesla) can be a malicious, cunning group of investors. Will these wolves of Wall Street gain the upper hand on Musk?

*This article comes to us courtesy of EVANNEX (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Authored by Matt Pressman. The opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily our own at InsideEVs.

Above: Elon Musk on the latest cover of Wired UK (Image: Wired UK)

In a recent cover story in the UK edition of Wired, Amit Katwala describes, “Over two months of reporting [with Elon Musk’s] friends, family members and former colleagues.” Many of those closest to Musk describe a ‘relentless’ fighter — a formidable foe for those betting on Tesla to fail. A few of the more revealing quotes (via Wired) follow below…

Scott Haldeman, uncle: “He has this unbelievable drive to work 70, 80, 90 hours a week, non-stop. The first time I really noticed was when he and his brother visited us for Christmas while they were forming Zip2. Everybody was opening presents, and Elon worked from the minute he got up to the minute he went to sleep on Christmas Day, and every day he was there.”

Jim Ambras, VP product development at Zip2: “Elon would sleep under his desk probably one in every three nights, sometimes one in two. It was industrial carpet on concrete. He had no pillow, he had no sleeping bag. I don’t know how he did it.”

Jeff Heilman, sales representative at Zip2, Musk’s first employee: “He would code and tell us to kick him in the morning to wake him up, because he’d be asleep on this bean-bag chair, but he didn’t want to be asleep. Sleep wasn’t his reward for hard work, sleep was the thing getting in the way.”

Rich Sorkin, founder and CEO of Jupiter Intelligence; former CEO of Zip2: “I think Elon is always thinking about everything – both immediate, short-term tactical things that need to get done in the next ten minutes as well as a decade out… Elon is the most relentless person I have ever met in my entire life. If you have the right people and you’ve built the culture right it’s extraordinarily compelling. It’s very similar to what I saw when I worked with Steve Jobs.”

Robert Zubrin, founder of the Mars Society: “When I met Elon it was apparent to me that although he had a scientific mind and he understood scientific principles, he did not know anything about rockets. Nothing. That was in 2001. By 2007 he knew everything about rockets – he really knew everything, in detail… [Elon] put in his heart, his soul and his mind. He put his talent into it – not just his technical talent, which while I would say is first class, there are other people that are comparable. What is incomparable is his business talent, in terms of recruiting the right people and creating the right company culture and defeating people out to destroy him.”

Jim Cantrell, CEO of Vector Launch; SpaceX co-founder: “When he got mad, he got really mad. One of the first things he and I got into a conflict over was the Falcon 1 fuel tanks. When he read my email about how much these tanks would cost… He’s famous for his ear-burning phone calls, and I got one of those. I was on my way somewhere – I was trying to find a parking space in the parking structure in Salt Lake City International Airport, and I was driving around and he’s yelling at me. He was just yelling about how it was bullshit about the tanks costing so much. I remember him saying, ‘If these tanks cost a million dollars for a set, I’ll have you and I go out there and weld them our fucking selves.’”

Jim Cantrell, CEO of Vector Launch; SpaceX co-founder: “His inability to even imagine failure is incredible…. You’ve got to have faith and passion in what you’re doing to make it work, and he did. Many of us, myself included, couldn’t see how he could possibly succeed. He couldn’t see how he could possibly fail.”

Dave Lyons, co-founder, Peloton Technology, former director of engineering at Tesla: “In December 2007, four of us flew across the country to Detroit to triage where we were on the transmission. This was a period of time when he was absolutely stretched to his limit, and he saw all of his stuff in massive jeopardy. I’ve got to paraphrase this, but he goes: ‘I’ve spent all my money and all of my friendships on this. It has to succeed. You need to do whatever is possible to make this happen – you need to use special forces methods to make this transmission happen.’ I watched in his eyes that night how incredibly invested this guy was. I have never seen anybody in my life who was willing to put everything on the table the way I saw him that night.”

Dave Lyons, co-founder, Peloton Technology, former director of engineering at Tesla: “He has a way of slashing through the red tape with a machete. He was continuously challenging the status quo, and he has no tolerance for anything that is perceived to be a runaround at all. He is absolutely burning the ships to shore. There is no way back. The only way to go is forward and through and he sends his teams to do whatever it takes to do that. I have been unbelievably impressed by Elon’s ability to make his own luck… I will never bet against him.”


Source: Wired UK

*Editor’s Note: EVANNEX, which also sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share some of its content with our readers, free of charge. Our thanks go out to EVANNEX. Check out the site here.

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29 Comments on "Betting Against Tesla CEO Elon Musk May Be Risky Business"

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What on Earth is this article??

It seems fairly self explanatory.

It’s an open love letter to Elon Musk.

It’s an article about the leading electric car maker selling out to the largest fossil fuel back sovereign fund in the world.

That really hits the nail on the head.

EVANNEX is threatening its readers. Elon is the new Godfather, apparently.

It’s from the Future, on Mars!

It’s exactly what Tesla/Musk needs you to read.

Another Euro point of view

All those articles about yet another of Elon’s tweet blurps 🙂 🙂
His tweet should have been:
“in discussion with one of the largest private equity fund about taking Tesla private”
He should learn to word his tweets properly, it would avoid all the drama and the lawsuits. It just takes common sense.

@ Another Euro point of view said: “His tweet should have been:
“in discussion with one of the largest private equity fund about taking Tesla private”…”

Had Elon tweeted exactly that there would have been an equal amount of FUD (perhaps more) from the anti-Tesla Jim Chanos wolfpack.

Reminder: Project Dunkin Chanos:

All Tesla owners and Tesla reservation holders….

Every Monday purchase a dozen Dunkin’ Donuts for the office coffee break-room in honor of Jim Chanos… each purchase hurts Jim where it counts… his Kynikos Associates fund’s reputation… which is heading towards WORTHLESS.

Chanos also shorted Dunkin Donuts… shorting Tesla is not his only investment Chanos is big-time $$$ underwater with.

Anti-Tesla Wolfpack leader Jim Chanos not long ago arguably made the 2nd worst short bet in history (1st place being Chanos shorting Tesla):

“Alibaba: Chanos Covers Short Position…Despite consistent bearishness from hedge fund managers like Chanos, founder of Kynikos Associates, Alibaba shares are up nearly 100% so far this year…”:

Jim Chanos knows how to place a loosing bet… big time.

Getting to be a habit…

why? It would not have changed a thing.

Another Euro’s post properly encapsulates the complete and absolute absurdity of the attacks against Musk.

All of this ranting and crying over the pedantic word choice of armchair quarterbacking this statement:
“in discussion with one of the largest private equity fund about taking Tesla private”

vs. this statement:
“Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.”

Now the ranters are accusing Musk that the pedantic difference between what they think he should have tweeted, and what he did tweet somehow proves that he INTENDED to commit a premeditated criminal act when he wrote his tweet.
As if the difference between their word choice and Musk’s is the difference between announcing the intent to go private and having criminal intent to break the law. In reality they are just twiddling over pedantic world choice and both word choices clearly show Musk’s intent was to announce him considering taking TSLA private.


“All of this ranting and crying over the pedantic word choice”

Yeah, that’s called “jurisprudence.” People go to school for it, then they spend a lifetime practicing it. It’s pretty pedantic, and winning or losing a case usually turns on just how much more pedantic one can be vis-a-vis statutes, case law, and their opponent. So being pedantic is kind of important when you’re playing the kind of silly social media games Musk does.

If you are the expert Pedantic, please show EXACTLY which word shows PRE-MEDITATED CRIMINAL INTENT between the two phrases while the other doesn’t. Provide a cite in Federal Case Law that would support your claim.

I’ve already provided multiple direct primary source links to SEC regs and guidance regarding this issue in stories here, each time debunking you folks. So either put up or STHFUUA.

Thanks for proving yet again why Tesla has no choice but to go public, as ranting loons commonly toss around libelous accusations.

Another Euro point of view

Nix that new definition of “funding secured” by the longs & co is more or less the apex of bad faith I have heard since I was born. For a deal as complex as the one envisaged by Musk (likely even not feasible in the exact terms he is describing it) it would at least need a signed memorandum of understanding with its clauses well scrutinized by lawyers to claim “funding secured”, all the rest can be described as “currently being discussed” or whatever. This is not about the stock price or manipulation I do not care if the stock is worth $1200 or $12 but this is just to decide if your nation wants to turn banana republic or try (against recent odds) to remain an example for other nations around the world as far as rule of law is concerned (as it used to be). Now agreed I don’t expect nor wish to see Elon having to resign on that but at least the SEC issuing guidelines and clearly stating that Elon did cross a limit that should never be crossed again.

a bit ridiculous to make an epic fight between Tesla and shorts out of this.
The horrible shape of Tesla balance sheet and P&L is not the invention of malicious short sellers.
Nor is the behaviour of Elon Musk.

Oh FFS, Tesla’s finances were in bad shape in the run up to Model S mass production, then in the run up to Model X mass production the same again in the Model 3 mass production.

Why is this so hard to understand?

The problem is,it did never improved after these run ups, but actually always and steadily worsened – interrupted only by external capital infusions. Look at the losses of the last 12 Quarters, or the liabilities, operative cash burn…
I maintain an excel sheet with all these figures since 3 years, gives a feeling of these dynamics. Looks not good…

@gagaga said: “a bit ridiculous to make an epic fight between Tesla and shorts…”

That’s the doing of the anti-Tesla Jim Chanos wolfpack…

It’s they whenever wherever they can promoting that Tesla is “worthless” “not a leader”… hoping to pull down Tesla to make a quick buck.

@gaga said: “…The horrible shape of Tesla balance sheet and P&L…”


So horrible that Tesla has private & institutional investors lined up wanting to participate investing taking Tesla private @$420…

Considering that shorts are going to lose tens of billions on shorting Tesla over time, I don’t know how you could be surprised at all that the shorts are making this into an epic fight. The amount of e-ink they are spilling over this is absolutely astounding as they fight with every ounce of strength they can.

They blow up even the most tiny pedantic word choices into what they think is literally a “Federal Crime”.

“Tens of billions”? How do you get that?

Again: When a lot of Normals find out I’m a plughead, they ask me about Musk (after the usual sneering “is it a real car” questions about my Leaf), I tell them he is without doubt bats**t crazy, but in exactly the way we desperately need right now. I then go on to say that in Musk you get a LOT of very good and a LOT of, well, not so good. Does the good outweigh the not so good? In my opinion, averaged over a year at a time or longer, the answer is yes. But over short periods, like the infamous “pedo guy”, a flaming wreck of a tweet if there ever was one, he makes me question my assessment of him and Tesla’s future. To me, the biggest question about Musk in the near term is how much he will adjust his behavior. I could do without his Twitter follies, and if given the chance I would tell him Tesla certainly needs to continue to be bold in their designs but they also need to curtail the self-indulgent, “look at me” things like the falcon doors and trying to banish every physical control possible in favor of… Read more »

I disagree. Tesla needs to try unconventional things to keep standing out from the grey mass. Just like Apple, some of the things they attempt turn out to be really useful, once people are willing to look past the downsides; others prove to be just bad ideas — but they are in a unique position at least to *try* radical new approaches; unlike all the other established players just honing the same mainstream formula, afraid of trying anything new, since any failure might throw them behind the rest of the pack…

The ultimate irony: An electric car company, established to get drivers to stop using oil…is being taken private by a group of investors who made their billions from selling oil.

Being a best seller by volume in the worlds largest oil producing country and by percentage in a country that made it’s wealth on oil. It is a transition….it’s not strange that the old will meet the new.

No more ironic than Norway, having made a fortune on oil, being the leader in electrification, with no close second…

Da’ Bears.