Things for Tesla just went from bad to worse when in one of the most bizarre conference calls since Jeff Skilling had some choice words for Richard Grubman, Elon Musk unexpectedly and abruptly cut off the earnings call when he encountered a question he appeared to find “uncool.”
Just as a Bernstein analyst was asking one of the most important questions to emerge from this earnings release, namely what does it mean for battery and production capacity now that Tesla has cut its capex estimate, and just CFO Ahuja started to provide some semblance of a response, the analyst was suddenly cut off, only it wasn’t because the line was dropped but because Musk literally cut off the analyst mid-question, rejecting it as “not cool.”
“We’re going to YouTube. These questions are so dry. They’re killing me”, the petulant Musk said, as he the testy CEO cut off off both the question and the entire queue, and proceeded to go to the Youtube channel for retail investors that had been arranged over Twitter.
Your pissant questions about topics like margins, capex and profitability bore me, you are banished from the kingdom. Ask me something about SpaceX $TSLA
— Donut Shorts (@DonutShorts) May 2, 2018
At this point, the Musk meltdown only accelerated, as Musk attacked media stories questioning the safety of autonomy, i.e. the company’s overhyped autopilot – which as Musk will tell you should never be called an autopilot if it results in a deadly accident – calling them “outrageous” and slamming “irresponsible” journalists who write about the dangers of autonomous vehicles, blasting that “people might actually turn it off and then die.” Or, as the recent tragic incidents have shown, die after assuming the autopilot actually knows what it is doing.
At this point, Musk found a question that “wasn’t boring” when someone on the Youtube channel asked how Tesla was competing with Porsche; the flamethrower man then gingerly pivoted into yet another non-sequitur, stating that “not being profitable is a good criticism that has been leveled at TSLA” and would be even greater if Musk had some answer to it, then claiming that “moats are lame” and what matters is the “pace of innovation”, however by this point the stock of Tesla was in freefall, sliding 5% after hours as increasingly more investors experienced a proverbial light bulb moment, realizing just what an “unstable genius” Elon Musk is.
And then, as if the above wasn’t enough, the absurdity really escalated when in response to Baird’s Ben Kallo asking for more frequent production updates – i.e. when Model 3 production hits 3k or 4k a week – Musk said investors should be focused on long-term things, and snapped that he has “no interest” in satisfying the interests of day traders.
“Please sell our stock,” he advised them, just as they were doing precisely that in the after hours.
Musk’s meltdown continued by stating that “Tesla is a leaky sieve of information”, and made another trade recommendation, saying that “if people are concerned about volatility, they should not buy our stock.“
And with that the most bizarre earnings call in years was mercifully, finally over and Musk can get back to his favorite Teslaquilla…