Optimist versus pessimist.
The long-running fight between those who believe in the long-term success of Tesla — bulls — and those who believe the company's efforts will end in tears and bankruptcy —bears — moved to a new battleground Monday: the Quoth the Raven podcast. The debate was set up to give a representative of each side of the argument the opportunity to state their case, as well as refute points made by the other.
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Representing the bulls was Galileo Russell, host of the Hyperchange TV YouTube channel, who many might recall as the person Tesla CEO Elon Musk turned to for questions in a now infamous earnings call with analysts earlier this year. In the bear's corner was a Twitter personality and contributor to the Seeking Alpha financial website whose nom de plume is Montana Skeptic, rumored to be Lawrence J. Fossi. According to the bio for "Skeptic," he manages a $1billion+ portfolio and holds a Degree of Juris Doctor (J.D.) from Yale and has practiced law for 30 years as a trial lawyer. Fossi seems to have a very similar, if not identical, background.
Russel kicked things off the hour-long discussion by stating he is a Tesla shareholder and that his confidence in the company is tied to CEO Musk. Said he, "I like to bet on the jockey, not the horse." He paints an incredibly rosy picture of the California company's future in electric and autonomous vehicles, as well as the energy side of things. They are both areas, he believes, that are ripe for disruption. He acknowledges there is a lot of cash burn but focuses on revenue and its growth. "They're going to get to $20 billion in revenue from $100 million faster than Amazon did."
For his part, "Skeptic" summed up his skepticism to incoming competition to the electric vehicle sector. He laid out that Tesla has owned the luxury EV market for the past six years and said that despite having something of a monopoly and taking advantage of billions of dollars in subsidies the automaker has still "lost fabulous amounts of money." With vehicles coming on the market like the Jaguar I-Pace, and entries from Mercedes, Audi, and Volvo, he reasons the once aspirational Model S will lose its luster. About the Model 3 being the vehicle for revenue and profit, he reminds us that it has been in production for a year and during that time Tesla has lost more money than ever.
While we're sure the faceoff between the bull and bear will most likely result in the confirmation of biases held by listeners, we think the truth of the matter lies somewhere in the middle. Russel is probably overconfident, while empty cup view of "Skeptic" ignores some pretty blatant realities. But what do we know? We are not investors, merely scribes. Have a listen for yourselves and let us know who you think comes out on top.
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