What Made Tesla [TSLA] Naysayer Kevin O’Leary Buy Tesla Stock?

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Kevin O’Leary is a wealthy Canadian businessman who has achieved notoriety as a judge on ABC’s sitcom/reality show “Shark Tank.” For quite some time, O’Leary has been a detractor when it comes to Tesla. Although, to be fair, he sees any investment in the automotive industry as a risky gamble. A year ago, he was asked about buying shares in Tesla and replied, “I just don’t get it,” according to a report by International Business Times. That didn’t stop him from purchasing a Tesla Model X, though.

Photo by Kyle Field | CleanTechnica

A few days ago, O’Leary revealed to CNBC that he had recently purchased “a few shares” of Tesla for his own account. Why? Because his son goes to McGill University, where he became involved in the school’s Formula SAE electric race car program. In Formula SAE, students build electric open-wheel race cars and compete against other teams from all over the world. When better electric cars are built, Formula SAE participants will build them.

Sharp-eyed readers will notice right away that O’Leary can’t spell and doesn’t know the difference between a Formula One car and a day-old bagel, but those things don’t matter if you are rich and willing to run your mouth on TV.

O’Leary attended one of those Formula SAE competitions recently and was amazed to find the young people on every team only wanted to talk to recruiters from Tesla. He told CNBC, “Colleges and universities around the world with an engineering department generally put forward an electric Formula 1 car and engineering teams in their graduating years race these cars all over the world.

“I’ve been hanging out at the pits with these engineers, and I’ve learned something extraordinary. When you go to one of these races, when the race is over, the winning team — they come from anywhere on Earth — who do they want to talk to?

“They want to talk to the Tesla hiring team there; the HR people hanging around at the pits. Every one of these engineers, the smoking hot kids that sit with their cars, the men and women that sleep with them for 24 hours a day; it’s an unusual culture I’ve never seen before.

“They all want to work at Tesla. Why? Because the teams are six to eight people. If they go to a legacy car company, they get drowned out in the back somewhere. These smart, young men and women make a big difference as interns. I can’t believe the access to talent they have. That’s why I bought the stock.”

We don’t make stock recommendations here at CleanTechnica, even though many of us do own shares in Tesla. But if you want to know what the future of a company might be, you might be better off paying attention to what all those talented young engineers are doing when it comes to picking a career path rather than listening to a bunch of bloviating stock analysts who can’t be bothered looking past the next quarterly earnings report.

The most valuable asset any company has is its people, and Tesla has the best of the best of the best. On that basis alone, if your focus is 5 years down the road instead of 5 minutes from now, Tesla’s prospects look pretty amazing.

Related Story: Tesla’s World Changing Mission Attracts Top Talent

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."

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