Tesla CEO Elon Musk has long been good at smooth-talking investors, and he continued to show off this skill last night on the company’s earnings call. However, some are now starting to question whether there’s really anything of substance behind Musk’s charisma or if it’s just hypnosis.
Elon Musk on Tesla’s conference call
Last night on the company’s earnings call, an analyst asked Elon Musk about how Tesla can become more valuable than Apple, the most valuable company in the world. According to the transcript of the call, Barclays analyst Brian Johnson reminded listeners that in 2015, Musk gave a scenario in which the company could within ten years achieve a market capitalization of $700 billion, which was about where Apple was at the time. He then asked Musk how things are going with that now that the Model 3 launch is approaching.
According to the transcript, Elon Musk prefaced his response with the phrase “of course I could be completely delusional, but…”
And then he went on to outline a very futuristic scenario involving “the machine that builds the machine” and also “a tremendous amount of software.” He clarified that his plan is about robots being programmed to interact in specific ways as they build cars.
“I think, this is going to be a very difficult thing for other manufacturers to copy,” Elon Musk said on the call. “I would not know what to do if I were in their position.”
Is Elon Musk just hypnotizing people?
Tesla stock finally started to drop on Thursday as the news of the company’s bigger-than-expected loss started to sink in and the number of people questioning Elon Musk’s charisma started to grow. Hedge fund manager David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital has discussed his bearish view of Tesla for quite some time, and he said this week again that Musk has simply “hypnotized” investors. But he’s not the only one to make comments such as this.
CNBC’s Jim Cramer said on Squawk on the Street while discussing Tesla’s first quarter result that he had gone over the transcript of the company’s earnings call three times and that understanding it all requires “mind-altering drugs.” He also referred to the earnings call as “a psychedelic conference call.”
“The man has answers for everything,” Cramer said, referring to Elon Musk.
AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson also said last month that Tesla was “either one of the great Ponzi schemes of all time or it’s gonna work out.”
Tesla stock declined by as much as 4.78% to $296.15 during regular trading hours on Thursday.