Published on October 9th, 2017 | by Zachary Shahan0
The Future — Screwin’ With Shortsightedness Since 1982 (#Tesla Edition)
October 9th, 2017 by Zachary Shahan
I have waaaaaaaay too many important things to do than spend time writing this article, but I can’t help myself. This morning, I decided to read an article we published yesterday evening that got ~47,000 views on it before I got my eyeballs on the full thing. It’s an article about Elon Musk vs Tesla haters (well, it’s just a small subset of Tesla haters, but an interesting lot nonetheless). I figured I better make sure I’m not missing anything new or odd in the piece … especially since the title was a bit enticing and it was getting quite a bit of attention. Surprisingly, the piece got me laughing a few times, and then certain segments inspired me to write this quick reflection piece.
The most hilarious thing for me was just how obsessively some people keep ignoring obvious trends and obvious Tesla benefits. The obsession with shortsightedness is also fascinating. Somewhat humorously, but also demonstrating several points in the article, the comments thread was fairly representative of the battles described in the article.
Hilarious line #1: “It turns out that one of the most notorious Tesla shorts is Mark Spiegel. And Spiegel hasn’t even driven a Tesla yet. He says, ‘I’m more into sports cars.'”
You’ve got to be kidding me. This guy is extremely well known in Tesla media circles, and publishes on now infamous Seeking Alpha under the username Logical Thought. He has visited CleanTechnica comment threads as well, but aside from his persistence, seemingly cooler than average demeanor, and grammatically correct writing, it would probably be hard to notice the difference between his arguments and any other anti-Tesla commenter’s.
But the dude has been trolling Tesla for several years. In all that time, he’s never driven a Tesla? If that’s true (it seems too absurd to be true), it’s one of the funniest things I’ve read this year. This guy has a million arguments by Sunday why Tesla isn’t innovative, isn’t disruptive, and isn’t going to succeed. He’s apparently been pushing those arguments for a living for years … yet hasn’t bothered to drive a Tesla and try to better understand the product and company?
In this one case, I have to say that I hope this is “fake news.” Either way, it does capture well one of the core problems of many anti-Tesla commenters — they don’t know what they’re talking about.
Hilarious line #2: “Everyone who’s anyone in Wall Street’s small and clubby world of short sellers has been short Tesla at one point or another… In the past, some of them also shorted Google and Amazon — other high flyers who weren’t making a profit — and somewhat sheepishly [now] admit they were wrong. Clearly, these guys are not dreamers from California’s La La Land, and Musk’s grand plans and his ‘save the world’ ethos can elicit a few eye rolls.”
This part just brings a hilarious picture to my head — a picture of Wall Street number crunchers who totally lack vision and societal foresight.
Yes, it’s easy in retrospect to make fun of people who shorted Google and Amazon, since we know today how successful those companies have been. But the way Tesla is slapping them in their wallets after they missed the obvious trend time and time again is just like something out of a Hollywood comedy. Dudes, wake up — companies that offer more convenience, more freedom, and a 21st century cool factor tend to see insane demand. If such a company then proves it can deliver the goods and aims to ramp up production on a steep J-curve via sensible “design for manufacturing” principles, get the heck out of Short Town and splash some water on your faces!
In all seriousness, perhaps they missed that Bing wasn’t going to take down Google, perhaps they missed that Amazon wasn’t going to fail simply because it was investing revenue into growth, and perhaps they missed what these companies were doing that others weren’t (with the same scale, pace, and effectiveness), but they should definitely realize by now that only one automaker has a Supercharger network, only one non-Chinese automaker has plans for multiple battery gigafactories in the works, only one automaker has offered Autopilot-quality features for a significant period of time and is developing a deep learning network based around that, only one automaker has brought a car to market that has pulled in approximately half a million $1,000 reservations, and only one company has the hot new brand appeal and performance + tech reputation that could lead to such an insane reservation list.
This: “And while an army of short sellers persist, plenty of Wall Street’s power players remain steadfast Tesla longs: ‘The biggest holders, aside from Musk, are mutual funds like Fidelity Investments, which has owned the stock since the IPO. With a current 12.8 percent stake (down from a high of 15 percent), the mutual fund giant is the largest institutional investor in Tesla, and portfolio manager Kyle Weaver says Fidelity has a long-term perspective on the company that is playing out largely as expected.'” [emphasis added]
That is hilarious just because of how simple and obvious and logical it is. Elon Musk published “The Secret Tesla Motors Master Plan” 11 years ago. Shockingly, Tesla has basically delivered on that plan. Anyone closely following along since that was published must have noticed. If you noticed that Tesla keeps doing what it planned to do, there’s a tendency to believe that will continue to be the case. When you then look at what Tesla’s plans are, the company’s future certainly looks bright.
Now, some people may be inclined to bring up timing here, but I would note a couple of things. First of all, a few years ago, Tesla aimed to produce 500,000 cars a year by 2020, but that target has been moved up to 2018 and the target for 2020 is now 1 million. Also, Tesla’s initial target for annual sales of the Model S was 20,000/year, and it was 10,000–15,000/year for the Model X. The combined annual target for those two models is now triple that 2012 estimate.
Yeah, I think Fidelity’s approach to the company/stock is pretty sensible. Maybe it’s just too sensible for the company’s investment cousins to accept.
Hilarious line #3: “It was the worst short I’ve ever had,” says Whitney Tilson, managing partner of Kase Capital Management, who was short when the stock went from $35 to $205. Last month, Tilson told investors he’s shutting down his funds due to poor performance. Tilson explains, “I can do the numbers and see how much money the company is losing, but you’re short an incredibly maniacally driven CEO, with maniacally driven engineers assaulting the world’s largest industry. If they succeed, Tesla could be a $400 billion market cap company.”
Epic: “Incredibly maniacally driven CEO, with maniacally driven engineers assaulting the world’s largest industry.” 😀
Duh: “Earlier this year, China’s Tencent Holdings took a 5 percent stake in Tesla.”
When it comes to economic sensibility, China seems to know what’s up. It also seems to know the future is electric. It’s not surprising that a Chinese giant took a 5% stake in Tesla even at a time when the price was “so high.” The tea leaves seem to be saying something … or not. Maybe I’m just a foolish dreamer.
As usual, though: Don’t take my word for anything, and certainly don’t take my investment advice!