This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

When I Apologized to Elon Musk

Stocks in this article: TSLA F GM

He claimed that if he did not do the financing, Tesla would not have been able to sell 20,000 sedans in North America. I hadn't heard that before. Everything I read had a quote similar to the one in this Forbes article: "We do have plenty of demand for the car even without a finance product, but as much as possible I'd like to expand the affordability of the car."

That's much different than we would not have hit our number if we did not offer this financing scheme.

Musk told me he had mentioned this point in interviews that coincided with last month's announcement, but nobody "picked up on it."

Not earth shattering, but interesting nevertheless. Given what I see every day here in Santa Monica and what TheStreet's Anton Wahlman reports seeing in Silicon Valley, I didn't think Tesla required any additional bells and whistles to sell cars to the upper crust.


Otherwise, the big thing I learned from our conversation: Don't allow the media to shape your perception of another person, particularly a celebrity. I have learned this dozens of times over in my 38 years.

The media treats Musk as a spectacle. As the second coming of Steve Jobs. As a superhero. When I asked him about his celebrity, he was reluctant. Musk claimed that outside of Southern and Northern California, most of the rest of the country doesn't know who he is . . . or at least doesn't care quite as much.

Talking to Musk is no different than talking to the baker or shoe cobbler down the street who is hyper-passionate about what he does. He's unassuming. Not even close to pretentious. He speaks about helping electrify motor vehicle transportation like the baker talks about making the perfect donut or the shoesmith discusses replacing the sole on a worn out pair of boots.

Musk thinks Tesla can be the No. 1 electric vehicle maker, even when it enters the mass market and, presumably, competes with the likes of Ford (F) or General Motors (GM). But I do believe him when he tells me Tesla doesn't have to be No. 1 to be successful. And that he would be thrilled to see another automaker produce a better electric vehicle if that took the sector closer to mass adoption.

I can't claim to have come away from my conversation with Musk knowing whether or not he's the next Steve Jobs. But I can confidently say this -- based on a mere 45 minutes of interaction -- I don't think he really cares.

-- Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.

Rocco Pendola is TheStreet's Director of Social Media. Pendola's daily contributions to TheStreet frequently appear on CNBC and at various top online properties, such as Forbes.
2 of 2

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!

Markets

DOW 17,804.80 +26.65 0.15%
S&P 500 2,070.65 +9.42 0.46%
NASDAQ 4,765.38 +16.9840 0.36%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs