On April Fool's Day, the big-thinking Musk tweeted about a potential bankruptcy filing for the electric carmaker. Musk's Twitter ridiculousness (an ongoing theme) prompted a rare response from yours truly. I say rare because it has been my practice to never engage in social media wars. As Mom once said, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it all."
But in this case, Musk's tweet just struck a nerve. Tesla is bleeding cash, the stock is down 21% in the past month, it's having trouble making cars, the National Transportation Safety Board is looking at the company after a fatal crash and it's likely sitting on a weak sales report to be released this week. Yet here is Mr. Hyperloop making a mockery of what it means to (1) be a leader; and (2) be a leader of a public company.
This is not the type of behavior any Tesla shareholder should want to see from Musk right now. Seeing as Tesla's board is poorly constructed (some top names on the board: a retired chief financial officer of the acquired SolarCity; James Murdoch, CEO of the same Twenty-First Century Fox (FOXA) that is attempting a major overhaul; Kimbal Musk, Musk's brother and a restaurateur) it's unlikely a tweet of this manner will be met with any slap on the wrist. Too bad.
Let the rabid response to my tweet serve as a reminder to investors as to how much hype is still priced into Tesla's stock. Legions of people remain convinced Musk will change the world not only at Tesla, but also via SpaceX. It's this same group that has probably bought the stock on blind hope rather than studying the fundamentals of the company and auto industry. It will be this same group that's left holding the bag as Wall Street loses faith in Musk & Co. after a challenging start to 2018.
Tesla Goes Bankrupt— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 1, 2018
Palo Alto, California, April 1, 2018 -- Despite intense efforts to raise money, including a last-ditch mass sale of Easter Eggs, we are sad to report that Tesla has gone completely and totally bankrupt. So bankrupt, you can't believe it.
Elon was found passed out against a Tesla Model 3, surrounded by "Teslaquilla" bottles, the tracks of dried tears still visible on his cheeks.
This is not a forward-looking statement, because, obviously, what's the point?
Happy New Month! pic.twitter.com/YcouvFz6Y1— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 1, 2018
CEOs of public companies shouldn't be putting out tweets like this Elon. Let's get real here, stay focused on what you need to be doing for shareholders.— Brian Sozzi (@BrianSozzi) April 2, 2018
The Afermath (Some)
@elonmusk breaks the mold and takes the tension out. It's not easy changing the world(s), and we all need space to make mistakes.— Steve Lasker (@SteveLasker) April 2, 2018
*Aggressively rolls eyes— Saskuatch (@Saskuatch_) April 2, 2018
You must have a lot of friends.— Daniel (@wutsupton) April 2, 2018
You're gonna tell Elon Musk how to do business? Lolz— wolf for hire (@thewolfforhire) April 2, 2018
abso..f..g.lutely!!!!!!!! Elon's management style is, although a bit excentric, a complete breath of fresh air— Mark (@milkteaoriginal) April 2, 2018