Tesla CEO Elon Musk On Volkswagen, Vegas, And Probability

Elon Musk

SEP 4 2018 BY EVANNEX 33

ELON MUSK TALKS ABOUT VOLKSWAGEN, VEGAS, AND ‘THE MOST POWERFUL FORCE IN THE UNIVERSE’

With unparalleled fame and attention for a CEO, the spotlight is getting brighter for Tesla’s Elon Musk. His decision (and subsequent reversal) to take Tesla private, has only heightened the glare. One pivotal reason Musk backed off his bid to go private was reported by the Wall Street Journal, “It might mean allowing competitors inside his tent—one of the investors his bankers had lined up was Volkswagen AG, people familiar with the matter said.

*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: Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk (Flickr: Steve Jurvetson)

Meanwhile, much of the negative attention surrounding Musk is likely attributed to Tesla’s pesky short sellers — those betting against TSLA stock. Others feel an ongoing smear campaign can be tied back to Big Oil or… perhaps, Big Auto. An example? Musk told the Journal that back in July he emailed Herbert Diess, chief executive of Volkswagen AG, to ask if a Volkswagen employee was criticizing Tesla on Twitter, using a fake name.

It turns out the Tesla-hater’s Twitter account belonged (suspiciously) to the brother of a Volkswagen worker. “They would definitely be playing with fire, given that they are still paying the fine from their last emissions cheating scandal,” Musk explained referring to VW’s dieselgate scandal. Musk added, “Diess replied saying it was the guy’s brother. That’s pretty much it.” Mr. Diess declined to comment. Volkswagen said, “Mr. Diess’s aides handled the details.” Hmmm.

In any event, unlike the shorts and Volkswagen family members, Tesla bulls view things differently. According to the Journal, the bulls’ “bets on Elon Musk’s companies are, in fact, bets on Elon Musk. So far, they have paid off. Tesla’s market value—$50 billion-plus, even after a recent stock price drop—rivals those of traditional U.S. car makers.” Furthermore, Tesla continues to gobble up competitors’ marketshare.

And, it’s not just Tesla. Musk’s business track record speaks for itself. Recall that, “EBay Inc. bought PayPal for $1.4 billion in 2002. As the largest shareholder, Mr. Musk collected more than $100 million. He was 31.” And, currently “his rocket company, Space Exploration Technologies Inc., or SpaceX, is valued at more than $20 billion.” Now, “Mr. Musk, 47 years old, has a net worth estimated by Forbes at roughly $20 billion, and his allies warn about betting against him.”

Above: Tesla’s surging stock has some correlation with the public’s fascination with Elon Musk, according to Google Trends (Chart: Marketwatch)

Nevertheless, “Short sellers have amplified attacks against Tesla and Mr. Musk over the past months.” In response, “Mr. Musk said his actions and rapid decision-making can [often] be misunderstood as erratic.” As Tesla’s shorts increase bets against the company, it’s worth exploring — how does Mr. Musk approach his bets?

Musk explains, “It is better to make many decisions per unit time with a slightly higher error rate, than few with a slightly lower error rate because obviously one of your future right decisions can be to reverse an earlier wrong one, provided the earlier one was not catastrophic, which they rarely are.”

“If the odds are probably in your favor, you should make as many decisions as possible within the bounds of what is executable,” Musk told the Journal. “This is like being the house in Vegas. Probability is the most powerful force in the universe, which is why the house always wins. Be the house.”

With his disruptive businesses and bold bets on new technologies, the public remains captivated by Musk. Marketwatch reports, “search interest in Musk has exploded, according to Google Trends data… he has outranked some of the most famous CEOs out there — Amazon.com Inc.’s Jeff Bezos, Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s Warren Buffett, Apple Inc.’s Tim Cook, Facebook Inc.’s Mark Zuckerberg — for the past four months on Google Trends.”

Above: Interest in Elon Musk has spiked in contrast with other top CEOs, according to Google searches over the past four months (Chart: Marketwatch)

Karl Brauer, an analyst with Kelley Blue Book explains, “Now you have a large swath of the U.S. population interested in Tesla,” coinciding with the launch of the company’s lower-priced Model 3. Therefore, interest in Musk could continue to grow. And Brauer acknowledges, “He is, to a lot of people, somewhere between heir apparent to Steve Jobs,” as a charismatic, innovative leader, “and the whole Tony Stark thing.”

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Source: Wall Street JournalMarketwatch

*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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33 Comments on "Tesla CEO Elon Musk On Volkswagen, Vegas, And Probability"

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John

Interesting to show a photo of Musk portrayed as a man of the cloth.

P.Lindley

He’s in a Tuxedo, or are you trolling .

John

If you ever pay attention to my comments you’d have your trolling answer. And look at his collar in the photo.

p.lindley

It’s a collarless shirt. But yeah, I’ll do a background check on you, just to make sure /s

Fashionista

Sorry P. Lindsey, but you’re wrong and John is correct: Elon is dressed as a priest.

The pic is from the 2018 Met Gala, a fundraising benefit for the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MMA) in New York City that is hosted by Cosmopolitan editor Anna Wintor, and is know as “fashion’s biggest night out.” The theme for the Met Gala is always based on the MMA Costume Institute’s upcoming annual fashion exhibition, which this year is “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.”

Also, John is not a troll. John is actually an ardent and prolific Tesla fanboi on this forum. You’re attacking one of your own.

https://www.harpersbazaar.com/celebrity/latest/a20525062/who-is-grimes-elon-musk-girlfriend/

https://www.vogue.com/tag/event/met-gala

P.Lindley

Well, that’s me told. Teach me to open my eyes.

John

Thanks for defending me as a “fanboi’ (gag again)..

John

Also, I drive a Volt and am looking at trading it for a Bolt when the lease returns come in. Am I also a GM ‘fanboi,’ too? Can one be both?

Pushmi-Pullyu

I don’t find any cognitive dissonance about being a fan of more than one EV maker. Sure, I’m a Tesla fan, just like very nearly all true EV supporters are. But that doesn’t prevent me from wishing all the success in the world to Workhorse with its W-15 PHEV pickup, as well as EV startups Rivian and Bollinger!

Being an EV enthusiast shouldn’t be a zero-sum game.

Up the EV revolution!

John

Thanks. I sure hope I pass your background check..

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Jesus Christ, were going to off on a tangent about his clothes?!?!

Robert Weekley

They say “The Clothes Make The Man!”

Chris O

Maybe fitting, he is a bit like Jesus: he figured he had a mission to make the world a better place only to find out he disrupted some very powerful interests that ended up organizing a troll mob screaming for his crucifixion .

G2

As long as he doesn’t do a John Lennon and get misquoted saying he’s “bigger than Jesus” because he doesn’t need trolls, Shorts, Zombies *and* the Religious Right all on his case.😄

eject

Referencing a WSJ article for alleged VW trolling and than it turns out the article is actually about Musk head butting a car repeatedly and not about VW.

REXisKing

If Tesla were just a battery company this could have been a marriage made in heaven.
So, what were the terms VW was demanding???
Had they just wanted a solid battery supply this could have been a done deal.

Mark Baum

These Evannex advertorials are probably the most biased and worst researched ev articles on the web.

Seven Electrics

Research secured.

ffbj

Source WSJ. Of course you can say what ever you want, even if it’s wrong.

REXisKing

Oh, and the shorts will. 99% Invalid Comments is the Statistical Average.
You’d have to be a fool to invest with “info” from Seeking Alpha.

Pushmi-Pullyu

I take it, then, that you’ve never read any article about EVs by John Peterson, Edward Niedermeyer, or Linette Lopez. Nor any of ~75% of the FÜD-filled anti-Tesla blog posts which pass for “articles” at Reeking Seeking Alpha.

Admittedly the tone of this article did make me feel a bit like I was drowning in treacle, despite being a strong Tesla fan. But to suggest the bias isn’t more extreme — much more extreme — from those trying to spread smear campaigns about Tesla… that’s simply not true.

Pushmi-Pullyu

Chris O

Yeah, who is behind the well oiled anti-Tesla smear campaign…it’s not just some guy’s brother, that’s for sure. For instance, every green car blog is meticulously staked out by a handful of people carpet bombing it with anti-Tesla FUD, what sort of people are those? Whatever is behind it, it works because they succeeded in turning Tesla’s positive aura into one surrounded by negativity using the very platforms intended to promote green vehicles.

David Murray

I’ve noticed this as well. And for a while I wondered why it was just Tesla? But, then it occurred to me. If you can bring down Tesla, you could delay or stop all of the other EVs being made. Sort of like when they killed the EV-1, all of the other manufactures gave up too. So it makes sense that all of the anti-EV propaganda be focused on Tesla. So part if it is probably short-sellers who are just trying to make money (advancement of the word be damned.) But, I think Big-Oil is definitely 50% or more of it.

REXisKing

True. Notice that no other manufacturer can build in the volume of Tesla.
Also, notice that the solar stocks have the same short lies published as well.
Oil is dying, the smart play is to get out of oil now before the sector crashes.
And the shorts? They must all be holding oil and praying for a miracle against technology and economics.

Only a fool would fight both at the same time.

Chris O

Actually fuel economy and emission mandates are currently the main drivers behind the energy transition in transport I think but it would be a lot easier to lobby against those without Tesla showing it’s possible to build and sell EVs profitably in substantial numbers.

Pushmi-Pullyu

As the Romans used to ask, when looking for suspects in a crime: Cui bono? Who benefits?

The list of suspects for an organized, paid smear campaign against Tesla is rather short. Who both has the motive and the excess cash to use an army of paid tr0lls on a long-term basis?

One of the most prominent anti-Tesla smear campaign promoters, “Montana Skeptic”, was recently outed as the manager of a Big Oil investment fund. Coincidence? I’d say not!

Now, that’s not to say that every single persistent anti-Tesla tr0ll is in the employ of Big Oil. But it seems reasonable to think a goodly percentage of them are. Note that some of them also promote the “hydrogen economy” hoax, which also benefits Big Oil. Again, is that just a coincidence? Hmmmm… not only no, but hell no!

Chris O

Guess you can’t expect to disrupt trillions worth of vested interests without having to face a counter attack of sorts at some point and with the current all out, wall to wall, 24/7 FUD campaign those vested interests are really going shock and awe on poor Tesla.

Not much Tesla can do about it, if its adversaries have decided on death by FUD they have the budgets and networks to make sure that FUD reaches people on whatever platform they want it to reach them, including such venerable outlets as NYT that did what Clean Technica recently dubbed a billion dollar hit piece on Tesla on account of its impact on Tesla’s market cap. Typical how that outlet whatever people project on it in terms of reliability and political inclination always seems to have the vested interests back when it counts.

Doggydogworld

–“Montana Skeptic”, was recently outed as the manager of a Big Oil investment fund.

Hardly.

G2

Are you saying he wasn’t in the pay of a fossil fuel company DDW?

Pushmi-Pullyu

My source for that is below. What’s your source which indicates that’s not true?

A week ago @shortshorterhmm exposed @MontanaSkeptic1, a fierce Tesla critic, as Larry Fossi – managing director of The Stewart J. Rahr Foundation. Rahr heavily invested in oil. Today Larry was forced by his boss to close his Twitter account.

https://cleantechnica.com/2018/07/23/tesla-shorts-are-scared-exposed-desperate-memo-to-media-dont-be-duped/

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

These shorter/hater fud spreaders are all from legacy ICE makers and OPEC.

Vote with your wallet and by from a car company that isn’t tied to OPEC consumption or ICE vehicle manufacturing.
Your money/Sales revenue goes to help fund their lawyers and greases the pockets of crony politicians.

windbourne

Out of that 5, only Musk and Bezo are the ones that are worth watching.