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SEC Sues Musk and Seeks Ban for His Tweets on Go-Private Deal (bloomberg.com)
849 points by tysone 6 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 825 comments



This comment I made a few weeks ago is coming alot closer to the truth than I would have expected.

I hope for Space X and Tesla's sake that the reports of a directory and Executive ban don't come true.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18016250#18016292

SpaceX is doing well, Tesla has pulled itself back from the brink and may actually become a profitable car company.

All Elon had to do was keep his head down and not pick twitter fights....

EDIT one thing I should point out is that some people have questioned if the tweet had any adverse affect at all on the shorts, given that the stock is down now.

The answer is hell yes and the fact that the stock ash gone down since the tweet only strengthens the shorts case.

The reason is that when you are short the biggest issue you have is that the stock could go against you, in this case that means it could go up. So to guard against that you generally have a price level in which you would exit the trade.

So when Elon tweeted, a whole whack of shorts got stopped out, intentional or by their risk limits. Infact there is a lawsuit already filed by Citron due to this. That momentary bump, while short lived was more than enough to close out some short positions.

If he's found to be in the wrong here by the SEC, then it seems like it wouldn't be too hard to find him guilty in the coming lawsuits.


I'd hope the company itself would be fine. I really hate this idea of the grand visionary. A good friend of mine who is a mechanical engineer despises Musk.

I listened to a bit of his Joe Regan interview and when Regan asked him how he has the time to do all of the things he does, there are smoke jokes about him being an alien, but not once did he say, "Well I have an amazing team of engineers" and credit all the thousands of people in his organizations that actually do the work.

He made it sound like he just constantly engineers things, but I find it hard to believe that at any point he's sitting down with CAD and fluid dynamic applications and mapping out experiments for rocket prototypes. I don't doubt he's capable of doing that with his background (or learning how to do it) but it's much more likely there is a whole team of really dedicated experts that he just leaves uncredited.

Are Apple products different now that Jobs are gone? One could argue that, but the core people that make and design all their overpriced, planned obsolescence devices are still there, often uncredited, while everyone else likes to focus on the captain of a ship.


I don't know whether he's using CAD but Musk did learn a lot of rocket science. According to aerospace consultant Jim Cantrell, one of his early hires, Musk essentially memorized several textbooks on rocket science, learned more from experts he talked with, and holds his own in engineering discussions.

Sorry for the Business Insider link but this was the best I could google at the moment; Mercury Reader can get around the adwall: https://www.businessinsider.com/how-elon-musk-learned-rocket...

Of course that team of dedicated experts is also there, and Cantrell points that out too. I'm just pointing out that Musk really does do engineering.

Edit: Here's a Quora post by Cantrell. https://www.quora.com/How-did-Elon-Musk-learn-enough-about-r...


Musk does not do any engineering at all.


I posted a source. Can you?


He's more knowledgeable than the prototypical PHB. However, engineering work requires some form of design analysis (ultimately numerical) to prove that the end result will most likely function. He hasn't done that and no book smarts will instantly make you an engineer. He doesn't need to do that either and is just as important an asset by being a well-informed manager.


He can't. He lied. There are many people saying untrue things in this thread. Not all of them are as obvious.

I hope to God the auto industry doesn't lose the competition which scares them into changing themselves more rapidly than the coming fires and floods. The whitehouse is no friend to the renewable energy industry, advocating for the reduction of the price of oil.


You have no source. All you did is claim that Elon read some books.

Elon Musk is not an engineer and does not do any engineering at Tesla.


He posted a source. You are a liar.


You just said that Musk memorized several textbooks... Idk what kind of source can bail you out of that one. Probably discredits the source if anything.


I work for the guy, and I don't think anyone who has worked closely with him would believe that SpaceX or Tesla would be anywhere near what they are without him. He is an extraordinary leader who is deeply involved with all of the engineering decisions that happen at both companies. You'd be very surprised at how much impact he has on fairly low level decisions.


There is a phase in every company when that is a crucial thing to have, the earlier in a companies life cycle the more important it is. And then comes the point where such deep involvement of the CEO / founder is less important and even turns into a liability at one point.

At least for Tesla, I have the impression that this is, indeed, becoming a liability at the moment.

When the very top has a measurable impact on low level discisions it is a) eating up attention from the top level b) delaying even small decisions waiting for top level involvement and c) carrying the risk of bad decisions as the top level is, by definition, missing the detailed knowledge necessary for the majority of low level decisions. Not even to speak what that does to innovation and the flow of ideas and corporate culture in the long run.

Other famous examples of where this can end are VW and, at a smaller seriousness level, Bezo's deep involvement with the Fire phone.

Automotive mass production is, from a certain perspective, more complex than launching stuff to space. It is also a very well understood domain, first and foremost from established car manufacturers. So it would have made sense to also memorize some books covering that topic and than getting experts onboard. It doesn't help that an EV is less complex to build compared to traditional cars, so in that regard traditional manufacturers actually do have an advantage. I don't remember when he said it exactly (I think around the time Tesla bought this German manufacturing equipment supplier), but Musk stating that he also wants to revolutionize the way cars are manufactured. Why would you do that when your primary goal, one you are on very good track to accomplish, is revolutionizing mobility?


The company won't be fine because it'll be trading at $20 per share.

(Yes, $20 is hyperbole, now read the rest)

The real issue will be the 2019 bondholder covenants. Tesla won't have the cash to pay them, Tesla won't have the buying interest to absorb dilution, and Tesla will still need money.

Basically with a lower and lower share price Tesla has fewer and fewer ways to service its debt and do further fundraising. They can, it just won't be good for shareholders. This is called a death spiral.

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/d/deathspiral.asp

For a healthy company, a low share price has nothing to do with anything. For example, Tesla without debt and positive revenues would be a healthy company at $20 per share, it would even be undervalued and hurray you are the only person that noticed! But thats not the case for Tesla. Tesla is not a healthy company. And its going to become toxic.


Tesla's debt servicing cost 600 million yearly (Bill Cunningham estimates). It is producing Model 3s at a pace of 4k weekly (according to Bloomberg). Each represents 15kUSD in gross profit (according to Munro). It takes ten weeks to service the yearly debt using current Model 3 sales.

If these numbers are right, once Tesla proved to be able to produce Model 3s, it became financially stable. It will easily be able to roll-over bonds.


> Each represents 15kUSD in gross profit (according to Munro).

I was with you on every part but this. It is better to use the company's SEC filings than the Munro report for estimating cash flow per vehicle.


Good point. It's a different number, but a relevant datapoint anyhow. The last filing shows a gross profit margin of 15%.

It's a different number because it includes cost of the sale infrastructure. Unfortunately, it's for the quarter ending in June, so the volume of model 3 is still not very relevant against the other models.


Seems to be the underlying reasoning of a lot of short sellers, doesn't it?


Then the bondowners end up restructuring and owning a valuable company.


Tesla would almost assuredly not be a fraction as valuable with bondholders running it as they would with Musk at the helm. The company's fortunes are inextricably bound up with the founder. The only thing the bondholders are likely to do with the business if they find themselves owning it outright is liquidate. A fact that is quite likely being taken into account in the current market brinksmanship imbroglio.


My take from the Joe Rogan interview was that Elon is preoccupied/passionate when it comes to technology and engineering. Not pointing out that he obviously has a great team doesn't seem like much of an oversight to me. He didn't attempt to hide behind a facade, playing the super-CEO role, full of faux self deprecation and verbal gold stars for his team.

Perhaps I'm a little more generous in my interpretation of the interview, but to me, he just seemed like an awkward guy, who wanted to work on engineering cool stuff.


I suppose the unfortunate thing is, that isn't his role. He can still do engineering work when he has the time, but me, the SEC, and most other humans understand the CEO of a public company has actual responsibility towards operations. Part of that means, he might not being doing his job great if he works his employees 90 hours a week and pretends they don't exist when he wants to brag on the radio. Being kind and generous with well deserved praise costs nothing and actually benefits both the company and the humans making the company work.


> but not once did he say, "Well I have an amazing team of engineers" and credit all the thousands of people in his organizations that actually do the work.

He says it all-the-time. And sometimes without any prompt.


Musk told Stanton that he had "one of the world's best engineering teams who normally design spaceships and spacesuits working on this thing 24 hours a day."[1]

[1]https://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-reveals-email-thre...

That took all of 1 minute on Google...


If Musk never happened rockets would still be expendable, the US would still lack a Shuttle replacement, and EVs would be rare or nonexistent. We would still be talking about how personal mobility is doomed when oil is depleted, if not all of modern civilization.

Prove me wrong. Who else was doing this stuff before SpaceX and Tesla? On space launch you had nothing serious except the SLS which is 70s tech. On EVs you had a few boutique and niche vehicles but nothing pushing to break into any mass market. I doubt conventional car companies would ever have done it without a law to force them or monster incentives since most of that industry is full of ICE heads who hate EVs. They are now, but that's because of Tesla. I'm worried that if Tesla fails all these other EV projects will be scaled back since the ICE and oil crowd will leap on it to push an EVs have failed narrative.

Elon seems to have fucked up with this one, but I dont think it diminishes what he has accomplished.

Normally the only way to smash a mediocre Nash equilibrium is with the power of government-- either big government spending or legislation (regulation, anti trust, etc). It's normally the only hammer big enough. I have a lot of respect for anyone in the private sector who is able to pull it off. Musk and the teams he assembled broke two. That's just insane. Hell maybe it is literally insane. Maybe he's nuts.


A agree wizh you on the Tesla part, there Musk really forced very positive development. One could argue of course if that development wouldn't have taken place as well without Tesla. But even then it is clear that Musk / Tesla moved things along a lot faster.

SpaceX is an incredible achievement. The reusable rockets are a point I really need to dig deeper into, especially the financial aspects of it. Because there a pretty convincing argument is that peivate SpaceX launches are subsidized by government launches. I really have to go hunting for some numbers there more I think about it. And even then, building competitive rockets, not just one, in a private endevour is incredible.

I'm just wondering if Musk is not getting to much credit and hype. Not that he would need it, even the smallest common ground regarding Musk's achievements is more than enough for a lifetime. Unless he throwing all of it away over some paranoid obsession about short sellers and a loose Twitter finger...


I think Musk sometimes does get too much credit, but the opposite -- that he deserves none and is a fraud -- is equally ridiculous.

Gwynne Shotwell deserves a lot of credit for leading SpaceX in its day-to-day operations. Without her I doubt it would be working as well. Everyone else on these teams also deserves a great deal of credit. They are teams, of course.

On SpaceX being government funded -- yes, that's true to an extent, though they have made a lot of money off private satellite launches too. The fact is that the entire aerospace industry has been deeply embedded with the military and other government agencies since its inception. It's a very heavily subsidized and regulated industry.

But team building and capital raising is a skill, and Musk seems good at it -- at least at the beginning. He's great at getting things off the ground (pun intended?) and breaking through barriers of technological learned helplessness. I do get the sense though that he's less of an effective leader as things get more established. Tesla's problems are too boring for him at this point.


> but nothing pushing to break into any mass market.

Nissan Leaf 2010

Tesla Model S 2012

Renault Zoe 2013


> Tesla Roadster 2008


Nissan Altran EV, sold in California and fleet-tested, 1998. Nissan Garbage Collecting Truck, mainly sold to the Yokohama city government, 1988. Just saying.

https://www.nissan-global.com/EN/ZEROEMISSION/HISTORY/


Just to continue this thread, because it's interesting...

Walter C. Bersey's Hummingbird - 1897


Those were "compliance cars," not attempts to seriously invade the mass market with an EV.


Well, I actually agree with you. But John Carmack's armadillo aerospace was founded 2 years before SpaceX.


Well let's just put it this way after trying out new MBP I just bought my first non Apple notebook since 2006. I also have 0 intention of buying any iPhone models with notch. On space X a son of a friend who actually works at Space X as eng. mentioned that Musk gets pretty involved on eng. side of things (obviously pretty anecdotal evidence). I also seen many times Musk praising a team at Space X and Tesla so drawing far reaching conclusion from a single interview of a dude who is obviously under a ton of pressure and is physically and mentally exhausted is a bit strange.


I said it before, but: ever read War and Peace? I think you could easily adapt Tolstoy's thesis to business: executives are mostly there to ratify the decisions their subordinates made on the spot. Tolstoy stakes out the most extreme position, but I think we could at least say executive control is more attenuated than executives would like to believe.


> I don't doubt he's capable of doing that with his background

Which background is that? He has an undergraduate degree in economics and a bachelor's degree in physics.

I respect the guy but he clearly puts a lot into managing his image. As a relevant example, he used to claim to have been in the Ph.D. program at Stanford, but had to retract that (I leave it as an exercise to the reader to find that on Google).


I met Elon just after he raised $3M for Zip2[1]. He had moved to Palo Alto to enroll at Stanford, but then got sidetracked into Zip2 (later sold for $300M+). The company was about 8 people in one small room at the time.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zip2


>undergraduate degree in economics and a bachelor's degree in physics.

I'm in the UK my understanding is a bachelor's is a synonym for an undergraduate degree; so why did you use the different terms here?

Ah, I think I see it: you copied from Wikipedia; wherein it says he did a bachelors degree in Economics (BA?) and a further bachelors in physics (BS/BSc) whilst he was a graduate. Two undergraduate degrees.

Other sources suggest he did the degrees coterminously:

>"Musk graduated from UPenn in 1994, with double bachelor degrees in Physics (from the College of Arts and Sciences) and Economics (from the Wharton School)." (http://studyadvantage.co/elon-musk-education-study/)

That sources says he had 2 days in a PhD program.

https://www.wharton.upenn.edu/academic-programs/ suggests he did what they call a "dual degree". Making Wikipedia wrong, he didn't "stay" for his second degree he did the two together.


I'm very curious about the Stanford thing. Do you mean that he was never admitted? Or simply that he never officially enrolled?

I tried my hand at googling this but found nothing but re-hashes of the same story of how he left after two days.


I remember reading in Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future something that Elon had been formally admitted to the PhD program at Stanford, but dropped out after three days. Vance contacted the Registrar's Office (or the graduate department itself?, I cannot remember) and received the confirmation that he was admitted.


He wanted to work on super capacitors in his PhD, but he realized that somebody would work on it anyways, and it's better for him to work on Paypal.

Watch the video of Sal Khan(fron Khan Academy) interviewing Elon musk.


Mostly right :). He actually thought it better to be involved in creating an internet company. This led to the founding of Zip2 (a kind of precursor to Yelp whose pivots ended up trying to help newspapers get online). The money from that led to the founding of X (think, transaction), which later took over and ultimately merged with its competitor, PayPal.

I second the recommendation of watching the interview. There is way too much misinformation surrounding Tesla and Elon Musk.


Yes, I recall him saying something similar. I was writing from my memory.


I couldn't find anything either.

My guess would be that you aren't technically in the PhD program until you've passed your qualifying exam. Until that point, you're a graduate student but not a PhD student. After you pass your preliminary exam, you're a PhD/Doctoral candidate.

Also, it's a moot point. There are no bragging rights to be found in simply being admitted to a PhD program. Plenty of very intelligent people fail to complete a PhD program (usually, IME, because of personality issues/conflict with the advisor (sadly extremely common), inflexibility of the advisor and/or department, or personal reasons (economic, social, health)).

(to be clear, Musk didn't brag that he was admitted to Stanford - he suggested that he felt dropping out was more useful than continuing. His fans often hold up being admitted to a PhD program as evidence of his engineering background)


In the USA, this is how it typically works. People who are enrolled in PhD programs are called "PhD students." Once they pass their advancement to candidacy exam, they are called "PhD Candidates." In both cases, they are enrolled in a PhD program. Typically people are accepted directly to PhD programs and they are not just admitted as generic graduate students.


The biography of Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance talks about this. Which I recommend everybody read. I don't remember the details but I think he was admitted but not enrolled. He ended up not going because he thought pursuing an internet company in Silicon Valley was more valuable than research work at the time.


> Are Apple products different now that Jobs are gone?

The better question would be, would Apple products be what they are today, without Jobs.


The real question is what Apple products do not exist because Steve is not around anymore.


Well, to quote Mueller:

>It’s really— it’s quite a trip, working for Elon. It’s different every day [laughter] because it all depends on what mood he’s in [laughter] — they think he’s joking> You know, he’s been in a great mood lately; we’ve been very successful, and Tesla’s been doing quite well. So it’s been good recently. Um, he still; he’s still extremely demanding. One thing I tell people often is that— I’ve seen this happen quite a few times in the fifteen years I’ve worked for him. We’ll have, you know, a group of people sitting in a room, making a key decision. And everybody in that room will say, you know, basically, “We need to turn left,” and Elon will say “No, we’re gonna turn right.” You know, to put it in a metaphor. And that’s how he thinks. He’s like, “You guys are taking the easy way out; we need to take the hard way.”

>And, uh, I’ve seen that hurt us before, I’ve seen that fail, but I’ve also seen— where nobody thought it would work— it was the right decision. It was the harder way to do it, but in the end, it was the right thing. One of the things that we did with the Merlin 1D was; he kept complaining— I talked earlier about how expensive the engine was. [inaudible] [I said,] “[the] only way is to get rid of all these valves. Because that’s what’s really driving the complexity and cost.” And how can you do that? And I said, “Well, on smaller engines, we’d go face-shutoff, but nobody’s done it on a really large engine. It’ll be really difficult.” And he said, “We need to do face-shutoff. Explain how that works?” So I drew it up, did some, you know, sketches, and said “here’s what we’d do,” and he said “That’s what we need to do.” And I advised him against it; I said it’s going to be too hard to do, and it’s not going to save that much. But he made the decision that we were going to do face-shutoff.

>So we went and developed that engine; and it was hard. We blew up a lot of hardware. And we tried probably tried a hundred different combinations to make it work; but we made it work. I still have the original sketch I did; I think it was— what was it, Christmas 2011, when I did that sketch? And it’s changed quite a bit from that original sketch, but it was pretty scary for me, knowing how that hardware worked, but by going face-shutoff, we got rid of the main valves, we got rid of the sequencing computer; basically, you spin the pumps and pressure comes up, the pressure opens the main injector, lets the oxygen go first, and then the fuel comes in. So all you gotta time is the ignitor fluid. So if you have the ignitor fluid going, it’ll light, and it’s not going to hard start. That got rid of the problem we had where you have two valves; the oxygen valve and the fuel valve. The oxygen valve is very cold and very stiff; it doesn’t want to move. And it’s the one you want open first. If you relieve the fuel, it’s what’s called a hard start. In fact, we have an old saying that says, “[inaudible][When you start a rocket engine, a thousand things could happen, and only one of those is good]“, and by having sequencing correctly, you can get rid of about 900 of those bad things, we made these engine very reliable, got rid of a lot of mass, and got rid of a lot of costs. And it was the right thing to do.

>And now we have the lowest-cost, most reliable engines in the world. And it was basically because of that decision, to go to do that. So that’s one of the examples of Elon just really pushing— he always says we need to push to the limits of physics.


Interesting interview. Where can we read the full version of this?



The posting you replied to reminded me of the following Skype interview. It might or might not be it but it's interesting anyways.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XH9uf7p4jb0


I really hate this idea of the grand visionary.

Which is amusing in the case of Musk. As I've said over and over, his approach is to find an industry where most or all of the hard, expensive fundamental R&D has already been done (and paid for) by someone else, and then start a company to incrementally improve it and promise vast cost reductions from economies of scale.

That's what SpaceX is. That's what Tesla is. There's not really staggering heart-breaking Copernican-revolution work being done at either company. They're just applying incremental improvement and economies of scale to problems where the hard fundamental work was already done. The idea that it requires some special sort of unbelievable genius to come up with that plan, or that it's impossible to do without this specific (alleged) genius, is baffling to me.


I think also he's applying many forms of incremental improvement all at once, and also in a field where the other players are stultified.

To some degree, you could say the same criticisms about Linus Torvalds (or, say, Rob Pike).


He does what any good businessman would do. He looks for money on the table. In this case its areas where research has been done but it hasn't been operationalized.

That being said I dont mean to minimize what Musk or the teams he has assembled have done. The first 90% of the work toward a new innovation is 90% of the work, then the last 10% is 90% of the work.

SpaceX basically finished the Delta Clipper project.


A businessman who actually wants to make money wouldn't start a rocket company. The return on rocket companies is nil.


If it's that easy why didn't you do it then? We should have plenty of competitors to SpaceX and Tesla with loads of reusable rockets and amazing self driving cars RIGHT NOW if everything seems so trivial in your opinion. Any dumbass can do it, including you! Time to get dirty and stack up on those millions of $ since things are so easy to pull off.

That's why Elon sleeps under the desk and works 18 hours a day because it's all very very easy.

I almost forgot how easy it was to sit on the sideline and critique someone else's work :) It's cute.


There's a difference between:

"This is not the revolutionary act of genius people portray it as"

and

"This is so trivially easy anyone could do it"

Tesla and SpaceX are trying to do things that have potential utility. Things which will advance the state of their respective arts even if they fail. There is no shame in "merely" doing that! There's also no need to inflate it into something it isn't.


What is baffling to me is the length that some HN commenters will go to to tear down people like Elon and Steve Jobs.

Maybe you don't like him, maybe you don't like how much attention and praise he gets. But to be so dismissive of what those companies have accomplished with him at the helm, to me is just unwarranted bitter negativity.

In your mind, what companies are doing staggering heart-breaking Copernican-revolution work? What bar must be reached to not be "just applying incremental improvement and economies of scale?" Pretty bleak outlook if pushing the bleeding edge of rocket technology forward is humdrum small potatoes.


the length that some HN commenters will go to to tear down people like Elon

I suppose if you read literally anything other than absolutely fawning worship of Elon Musk as history's most titanic genius as a "tear down", I could see that.

But... it is absolutely true that his business model is incremental improvements + economies of scale. Tesla and SpaceX aren't in the business of inventing fundamentally new things. They're in the business of making improvements to already-invented things, and mass-producing them to try to bring costs down. This is only a troubling thing to read if you're deeply invested in his cult of personality.


We're clearly talking past each other and we may have to agree to disagree. You didn't address my question at all, just restated your comment and implied that I'm a fanboy if I disagree.

"Absolutely fawning worship" is unnecessary hyperbole, there is a vast amount of middle ground between that and your position. But I suppose if you can't make a reasoned argument, you have to resort to that (and we're off to the ad hominem races!).

"Most titanic genius" is more telling hyperbole, reiterated from your first post apropos of nothing. I didn't say anything about him or his genius, but you continue to mock and, yes, tear down.

When you say "Tesla is just [this]. SpaceX is just [that]," that's a tear down. You're reducing and diminishing companies that have undoubtedly made real impact, but why? Forget about Elon the Magnificent for a second, I would guess that you have similar things to say about Google, Apple, and the rest.

So I ask again, what company is doing things worthy of your respect? You're very good at reducing big things to nothing, but can you prop anything up? Can you support something? Maybe you're afraid to, because you know I can reduce and diminish it. That's easy, anyone can do it. But there's nothing interesting about it, there's no value, all it does is reveal insecurity.


Would you agree that SpaceX and Tesla are not inventing any fundamentally new technology? That they are engaged in evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, work?

One can say "this is not a revolutionary thing" without simultaneously saying "this is utterly worthless". Avoiding the hero worship and the personality cult does not require throwing out any idea of useful things coming from SpaceX or Tesla.


>Pretty bleak outlook if pushing the bleeding edge of rocket technology forward is humdrum small potatoes.

Yes, the world's outlook is pretty bleak.


Well I genuinely hope you find something that gives you enough joy to change your perspective.


Totally agree. He makes it sound like he is the guy who figures out all that stuff in his basement. It's hard to imagine that a CEO of two companies that size has the time to do any real engineering. He seems more the type who has good memory and can repeat what the engineered are telling him. My VP is like that. He immediately comprehends and remembers what you tell him but he is not doing any development work.


So you want to say if you can understand, can discuss with engineer leeds, can make a decision and accept or decline a solutions to the problem which your company is making, you're not involved in the development work?


Not in the sense that he is doing active development work.


Would you call it passive?

You still need to understand all the details. You just didn’t necessarily need to do the grinding on iterations, schematics, math, etc.


> I really hate this idea of the grand visionary. ... I listened to a bit of his Joe Regan interview and when Regan asked him how he has the time to do all of the things he does, there are smoke jokes about him being an alien, but not once did he say, "Well I have an amazing team of engineers" and credit all the thousands of people in his organizations that actually do the work.

I think Elon's active perpetuation of the myth is kind of a red herring.

Promoting Elon Musk as a grand visionary is how Tesla will maximize its brand value, and contribute to a self-sustaining lore around their founder 50 years from now. It's the same story for Apple and Steve Jobs, and thousands of other companies (tech and otherwise).

People aren't capable of idolizing 200 mechanical engineers. They are very capable of idolizing a single visionary. A story with 200 protagonists would be far less compelling, which is why most stories only have 1. If you want to be as competitive as possible, and you have a leader capable of exploiting that aspect of human nature, then that's what your company should do.

Permitting and perpetuating this kind of myth-making is practically part of Elon's fiduciary duty to his shareholders at this point. You can't fault him for doing it, because he has to.

I think what's really at issue is the aspect of human nature that it's exploiting.

I think it's closely tied to hierarchy and pecking order instincts observed in all mammals. We always need to be identifying and reacting to an alpha, and using that to inform our choices and behaviors so we can stay competitive on a biological level. The same instinct might also be what causes people to immediately perceive this as an issue of Elon's individual behavior, and makes them feel so strongly about it.


I have to completely disagree with you on Elon not giving credit to others. If you have closely followed Elon Musk, ( please check his videos on youtube) even during unveiling Tesla’s new models you will find irrefutable evidence on how he credits his other team members , especially reiterating that people just think its just him but there are many others behind him who do the amazing stuff.


Insightful post. Musk has successfully built a cult around his personal brand,for the specific reason of super-charging his ability to raise capital. A poster above provides news coverage about him memorizing rocket science books. I suspect this was part of a well-orchestrated PR campaign and unlikely. I find it difficult to believe that anyone could or want to do this, let alone achieve it. Particular when that person later makes a schoolboy error exposing himself to fraud which could result in him going to prison, presumably.

That said, and being an entrepreneur and having spent time in negotiations with entrepreneurs, when people start talking about money, everyone hears what they want to hear regardless of what is said. Which is why lawyers can charge what they do. And why - in this - Musk looked a bit inexperienced IMHO.


Yes. Elon is not naive and no one thinks that Joe Rogan is just some secret thing that nobody watches. He went on Rogan with the intention to spread a specific message.

Practically the entire value of Musk projects is based on the myth that Elon is a mystical being bringing advanced technology to humanity. Going on Rogan and doing something to harm that belief, like diverting all credit to his "amazing team of engineers", would be far more damaging than anything else he's done.


Permitting and perpetuating this kind of myth-making is practically part of Elon's fiduciary duty to his shareholders at this point. You can't fault him for doing it, because he has to.

Plus he clearly lives for it, and when anyone makes even reasonable points against him, he loses his mind on a Twitter. That is after all what happened with “pedo guy” re the Thai cave rescue. Musk made an ass of himself by trying to inject himself into a potential tragedy for some PR and a man who actually helped to save the day called him on it.

I’m also not sure that it would be hard to idolize a group, people manage it for sports teams. Maybe if Musk put the effort he spends into grooming his ego into promoting his team he wouldn’t need to be the center of a cult of e-sychophants.


>>A good friend of mine who is a mechanical engineer despises Musk.

A lot of people despise Musk.

Its because the society in general hates these kind of successful non-conformist. No one likes to see a hugely successful anti-pattern to their whole life.


> Its because the society in general hates these kind of successful non-conformist. No one likes to see a hugely successful anti-pattern to their whole life.

This is just wrong. There are plenty of reasons to dislike Musk that have nothing to do with him being a "successful noncomforist", whatever that means.


I'm in the same camp. I'm going to be happy if at the end of this we've managed to get a better (cleaner, safer, more reliable, cheaper) car or a better rocket or whatever, but I don't buy the whole "rocket jesus" worshipping, like I don't buy the whole guru worshipping in startup culture in general.


I don’t understand what’s so unusual that there would be Jesuses walking around. Like a billion people are trying to imitate Jesus. Also we have the benefit of centuries of reflection in his teachings.

I would expect there to be dozens of Jesuses. Rocket Jesus. Pizza Jesus. Star Wars Jesus. Etc.


I think that Apple products have gotten noticeably buggier since Jobs has gone, I honestly think the horror of getting a 3am call from him about your feature was a legitimate fear engineers had at Apple and drove quality up. Not advocating for that work environment but I definitely think it had an effect.


Are Apple products different now that Jobs are gone?

https://www.fastcompany.com/3053406/how-apple-is-giving-desi...


Sour comment for whatever reason... It's actually pretty simple - imagine the world that is and probably will be with him, and then one without him.

We underdogs hate to be not credited for the hard work we do, but his positive impact on mankind as a whole is quite substantial, and as time goes by it will be only magnified. Hard to argue with this. SpaceX and Tesla are really a bit more than just a sum of all the engineers (and other folks) involved.

If you like to pick negative things on people, then there are no heroes, there are no ideals to look up to. Every single great person in history had a dark side, like it or not. I guess that's part of what makes us humans.

Personally, I like him. With all the warts, emotions and whatnot. Results matter, rest are details for pub discussion after 5th beer. World generally thinks similarly on this topic.


The world with him, is a whole lot like the world without him though.

I mean, I did the thought experiment, and I honestly don't see many things that would be different?

Are you arguing that without Musk, we wouldn't have commercial space companies, or electric cars? If so, I find that a bit difficult to believe.

The part of your comment about no one being a hero is correct. None of us are any better than anyone else, that's for sure. (It's the main reason I try never to point fingers in life actually.) But the idea that we would be worse off without Musk is just a bridge too far.

Even a world absent Steve Jobs, would have created PCs and smart phones. And, with respect to impact, Musk is no Steve Jobs.


I, living in Germany and having worked with and for our car companies, am completely convinced that without him we wouldn't have the electric shift we're seeing right now. We'd have another two decades of half hearted attempts at all kinds of technologies, especially bio fuels but no real progress. Tesla changed the game and I can only imagine it's the same with SpaceX.


Thank God for that. I don't mean anything bad about Germany when I say that. It's just that I don't think people realize how important it is to have good incentives. Getting rich on the basis of successfully electrifying the world is a very good incentive to have. Legacy automakers have to fight their own incentives. As a consequence, they can't quite manage to make the full turn. Regulation has helped curb this a little, but Elon Musk founded the company without the corrupted incentives. Their market capitalization in the electrical energy sector is a direct consequence of this. Anyone who knows about climate science ought to be happy with his accomplishments.

There is a causal link between Elon Musk putting all his money into SpaceX and Tesla and their successes. This is true from the obvious way (they were literally close to death with his last infusion), but its a truth that is more than superficial.


And at least 15 Years of "clean diesel" marketing.


Tesla completely changed the public perception of electric cars, from slow eco-friendly compacts to high-performance sports cars. Without Tesla I doubt that Mercedes would be spending $12 billion on electric cars, or Porsche would be releasing an electric car next year with a 0-60 time of 3.5 seconds and a nationwide fast charging network in the U.S. Tesla proved that it's possible and that there's demand for it.

SpaceX significantly lowered launch costs even before achieving reusability, and with reusability is changing the game completely. However, Jeff Bezos isn't that far behind with Blue Origin, and probably wasn't inspired by SpaceX; he started a long time ago and was a space nut from an early age. Still, it's better to have two great companies with cheap reusable rockets, rather than just one, and the two companies have somewhat different long-term goals.


Well, Jeff Bezos with Blue Origin is so far behind that they haven't launched anything to the Low Earth Orbit yet, and as far as I know they don't have plans to launch to LEO for the next few years. So wrg to reusable launch vehicles, so far SpaceX is the only game in town. OTOH, Jeff Bezos has more money and can speed things up if he wants.


Sure, I'm just saying that without Musk we'd still get reusable launch, just a few years later. Blue Origin is definitely behind but they've been focusing on advanced engines, and just licensed one to ULA, which is flying it in 2020. And of course BO is planning to fly suborbital passengers next year. Suborbital is way easier the LEO, but flying passengers at all is something SpaceX hasn't gotten to yet.

I'm a huge SpaceX fan and until recently I kinda scoffed at Blue Origin, but after seeing more about it I was more impressed. (On the other hand, the New Glenn is only first-stage reusable, so they might need to get that flying well before the BFR is ready.)


SpaceX is the only serious private company. And without government launches they would have a hard time as well. In the de-facto public sector you have the Russians, Ariane, the Chinese, the Indians... It's not that there wouldn't be anything in space without SpaceX. The thing I love about SpaceX is how they showed what can be done without the over abundance of bureaucracy you see elsewhere. Not that programs like Ariane would have learned the smallest bit from it.


What's really different about SpaceX is the cost of launch. Governments and their contractors are happy to launch your stuff into space for thousands of dollars per pound, but nobody was putting significant work into reusable rockets. Just a reusable first stage drops the cost by about 80%, and the BFR is supposed to take the cost down to about $50/lb once it's flying at high volume. That completely changes what we're able to do in space.


Refcently I stumbled over an article regarding SpaceX cost structure raising the theory that commercial launches are subsidized by government launches. Also that reusing stages is not such a relevant cost driver. I simply don't know enough about rocket technology and costs to actually judge the validity of these points, but they seemd plausible. As this point is coming up regularly I really have to take a deper look SpaceX costs and launch costs in general.


There's a reason we don't throw away a 747 after one flight.

Fuel is only a couple percent of the cost of a rocket launch. Rockets are expensive, and on the Falcon 9 the first stage is 80% of the cost of the rocket.

In the early days of SpaceX I saw claims that expendables were more economical because you could build them cheaper, but then SpaceX went and build reusable rockets that are also cheap; their rockets cost less than competitors even without reuse.

They're getting government business because they charge the government less than their competitors charge. The subsidy argument doesn't make sense unless it's only the commercial launches that are cheap.

There are a lot of vested interests in this industry that are strongly incentivized to say reusable rockets are no big deal. I think they'll continue to say that until the BFR flies and SpaceX drops their rates to levels far below what disposables could ever achieve.


Well, one point made in the article I mentioned above was that thermal stress limits the life time of a reusable rocket. Plus the lost payload as you need fuel to land the rocket again. Also, and at least that part I can confirm, a missile is tube is not a lot more than a aluminium tube. So, there is my home work for the weekend: rocket science and LEO launch economics!


There's also the rocket engine, which is a lot more than a tube. Disposables throw that away too. You can just look at the cost of the rocket to see how much expensive stuff is getting thrown away.

SpaceX does still use the Falcon 9 as a disposable for extra-heavy payloads. That doesn't mean you have to throw your rocket away for all payloads, and the capacity difference isn't dramatic. And there won't be that many payloads too big for the BFR in reusable mode.

It's true that the rocket wears out eventually. SpaceX is aiming for about ten reuses initially, thus lowering hardware costs by 90%. They hope to do much better than that later.


We agree on the hardware cost side. The missing step now is to compare these saved hardware costs against the lost payload and the revenue value of that payload. Averages will be fine I think.

Just looking at the hardware side without opportunity cost aonewhat misses the point. A really thorough cost analysis would need to factor in the impact on reliability, the risk of failed launches due to reused rocket stages. I assume these numbers are impossible to come by.

One other data point would be, if that's the case, how much premium SpaceX is asking for the use of virgin rockets as compared to reused ones. This would allow a rough estimation of the increase risk for failure and other costs. Again, I don't expect these numbers to be available.


Jeff Bezos has more money and can speed things up if he wants.

The first part is obviously true. The latter, I’m not so sure —- Blue’s budget has increased dramatically over the past few years, but New Glenn flights remain rare, and New Shepard remains well in the future.

It’s interesting to ponder where Blue would have gone if SpaceX (which was founded later) hadn’t happened. I think there’s a very real chance they’d still be thrashing, talking up bits and pieces of technology but without any complete vehicles (even of New Glenn size).


As far as I remember he was laughed at for just thinking to build reusable rockets or to sell electric cars. Either I or you have very serious memory problems. But I’m pretty confident that I can link several sources to corroborate my recalling of the events, can you do the same? If you can prove that the people that were laughing at him would have brought the electric car mainstream and would have invented reusable rockets without him than you are right. I’m eagerly waiting for your ironclad proof.


It's hard to not admire somebody who get all those laughs and delivered in very short time span. Not only that, we don't only have reusable rockets, we have freakin' vertical landing! Thought to be unrealistic by proper NASA engineers. For a very long time people didn't have that WOW experience for space technologies, and this one delivered.

Mankind needs people like him - with all ecological doom and gloom slowly unfolding, next mandatory frontier is clearly space. Also, disrupting entrenched monopolies/oligopolies that got just too comfortable milking people of their money for very minor improvements of their products.


I was thinking the same when I listened to Joe Rogan podcast. And the topic came up multiple times where he could have said he has a great team to support him. I was really disappointed in Musk.


Of course he has an amazing team of engineers.

But if Mush hadn't been born, they would have never come together to create Tesla.


> they would have never come together to create Tesla.

They already did, since Tesla predates Mr Musk's involvement


The engineers created the iPhone and had to beg Jobs to fund the product launch. Well documented.


Really? Where can I read about this?

What I recall is that Jobs tasked Apple to create a phone and had a bake-off between the iPod guy (Tony something) and Federighi, and the iPod side of the firm created a device with a click wheel, Federighi's team created a device with a touch screen and Jobs made the call to go with the touch screen. It'd be weird if it went from that to Jobs having to be begged to launch it, especially as it was clearly awesome and Jobs himself had been so deeply involved in the design.


>Are Apple products different now that Jobs are gone?

Air pods.


Are Apple products different now that Jobs are gone?

Yes. Jobs as local despot acted as a curb to bad decisions. Jobs had a vision which acted as a countervailing force to keep Apple from being completely sucked into being a money grubbing luxury goods company.

the core people that make and design all their overpriced, planned obsolescence devices are still there, often uncredited, while everyone else likes to focus on the captain of a ship.

We know from the historical record that Jobs had quite good judgement, even in technical fields, and we know that he countermanded and convinced executives and managers to steer them in the right direction. I suspect that the Apple of today is descending into being just a money-grubbing luxury goods company.


This is just revisionist history and completely wrong.

Steve Jobs pretty much set Apple on the premium goods track when he returned. The iMac, iPod, iPad, iPhone were all developed under his watch and all were premium priced.

Apple has pushed the margins higher but that's only because the market can absorb it. Computing is more central to people's lives and they are willing to pay a premium for a good experience.


This is just revisionist history and completely wrong.

Steve Jobs pretty much set Apple on the premium goods track when he returned

You are revising what I actually said, and about that you are completely wrong. I never denied that Jobs set Apple on the premium goods track. However, he was one of the major forces keeping it from devolving into being only a peddler of luxury goods.

Tech innovation does better with good margins, and good margins come easier for more upscale products. But doing that is better as an adjunct which increases your margins, and winds up empty as an end to itself.


People responding in this thread are failing to realize that there are two types of luxury goods (to obviously oversimplify): luxuries built on hype, and luxuries built on quality/craftsmanship. (Said craftsmanship can be innovative or traditional, but there's the sense of pride in the work that carries through in both situations.) One (though not all) of the nuances that the parent post evokes is that Jobs challenged the company to be more than just a hype machine.


I've heard the difference is between luxury goods, and premium goods. A luxury good is a swarovski crystal encrusted anything. It's only expensive because for some reason, people think glass should be expensive. A premium good costs more because it's actually better.

Of course, if you never use premium features, then it's a luxury good.


[flagged]


Apple produces better products than google and microsoft, get over it.

It sounds like you're the one who needs to get over something.

For the record, I've been an iPhone user since the 2nd iPhone. I'm typing this on a Macbook Pro, and I bought the 1st unibody Macbook. I've developed iPhone apps and I've been an Apple user since 1980.

Yes, Apple produces better products for now. However, as the years pass, those products might remain recognizably luxury, but become increasingly irrelevant, like a watch fob. Apple now is to Apple in the several years before Steve Jobs died as Pixar now is to Pixar in the days when they came out with Toy Story and Up.

The market decided. Here's the thing. It never stops deciding.


So Apple products are purely luxury goods and serve no utility. I think that's more than a little ridiculous.


You seem to be willfully interpreting the parent post. It's more nuanced than you are claiming.


I had to go back and re-read, your comment was so unexpected... but nowhere did I see anybody say Apple products had no utility.


I've started to think Apple is more competitive on laptops than it looks from the price.

Every time I've priced out a laptop with similar configuration to my MBP (including a good-quality display, NvME SSD, good battery life), it always ends up costing about the same as an MBP. And then Apple's customer service definitely tips in their favor (I've been spoiled by fast, convenient, competent repair service at the Apple store).

So either everyone is making big margins on well-configured laptops, or the perception of over-priced MBP's is misplaced.


I was just commenting to my wife how remarkable I find it that my 2012 Macbook Pro 15 Retina is meeting all my needs as a software consultant. I used to think 3 years, maybe 4, was the useful lifespan of a high-end machine for daily professional use. In a few months it'll be 7 (seven) years old. It has 3 or 4 dead pixels, but everything else about it is working flawlessly. Maybe they don't make em like they used to, but man have I gotten my money's worth out of this one.


That's mostly a function of the general slowdown in the hardware cycle (for most applications).

I have both a Mac and a PC laptop of that vintage and they're both still perfectly suitable for anything short of current gaming or other extreme tasks.


I'm posting this from a Macbook Pro I bought in November 2008. My family uses it daily.

My daily work computer is a 2012 Macbook Air which I dropped from a standing height 4 years ago. It has one bent corner but still runs great.


I still have iMacs from 2007 that are being used by my kids. I only upgraded the HDD to SSD a couple of years ago and they work flawlessly. No viruses, no tech support needed for 10 years.

That is just amazing hardware, but on the other hand, I have a pair of AirPods that just can't autoconnect to my MacBook unless I fiddle with the Bluetooth and speaker icons in the toolbar every time. And AirPods were fucking expensive and both are produced by Apple. What gives? How can they be so incompetent in making a wireless device connect to another wireless device?


Yeah Bluetooth sucks, and this is compounded by Apple's subpar BT handling in macOS.

That said, my Sennheiser HD1 headphones are absolutely amazing, and I don't miss being physically tethered to my laptop.


I think the problem with the AirPods is Bluetooth. I refuse to use any Bluetooth device because I've never had a pleasant experience with it.


Yep, I'm still using a 2008 MacBook Pro daily - I only replaced the HDD with an SSD and it runs great.


i am still using my t420 think pad from 2008

runs perfect

just saying...


I'm still using my mid-2012 Asus laptop that was like €1300 at the time.

I did buy a few upgrades since then (16GB RAM, bigger SSD, new battery) but given that I don't do any gaming, there is very little that a new purschase would get me.

So this is definitely not a Mac-specific thing.


Just to add another datum: Thinkpad T420, 2011. Bought used two years ago and still the best laptop I've ever owned.


I have owned four MacBook Pros since the introduction of the 2012 retina.

The years being 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2017.

The only two working still are the 2012 and the 2017 but I had a warranty swap on the 2017 in early 2018.

That 2012 model is incredible.


Tim Cook was in charge of this sort of logistics when Steve was alive. There are worse people to be left in charge.

When I bought a Cinema Display I figured out that a display with the same response time and color gamut would run about $75 cheaper and have a plastic case.

$75 for aluminum, more ports and being able to pick it up that day was more than fair.


This has been true for me until the last generation (Touchbar) Macbooks came out in 2016. They seem to be vastly more expensive than the older generation was and are usually quite a bit more than a comparable non-Apple Laptop. A well equipped 15" used to be around 2500 EUR, nowadays it's 600+ EUR more.


Yeah the touchbar really drives up the price, it's basically an apple watch built into a macbook (big oled screen, fingerprint reader and the apple watch's chip, plus all the interconnects required). So adding the price of an apple watch to a macbook pro makes sense.


sadly it's mostly useless


This depends a lot where you live. Possibly in the US this is true but currently here in Australia to get an MBP that matches the top spec Dell XPS15 would cost at least $1k aud more. And still not have the touchscreen the dell has.

That didn't always used to be the case. Previously at launch an MBP was often quite keenly priced for the specs. But the last couple of generations have been badly overpriced.


Same for Germany, I actually have to go out of my way to add bonus stuff to reach the price point of an MBP (I use ThinkPads).


No problem for me - I only buy used MacBooks lately. They work just as well and are cheap and you can always find one. As a side benefit, I prefer to prop up the second hand market today than the producer. I only have a new MacBook at work and I hate its keyboard and lack of varied ports (I always need to use a fugly dongle with it). Unfortunately the company can't buy second hand :-(


> the last couple of generations have been badly overpriced.

Which ties back into the earlier comment on this thread that after Jobs died, the company has gradually devolved into a 'premium cost for not quite as premium hardware' tech company. Previously MacBooks were well priced for what you got (Australian here also), nowadays they are more expensive that equivalent laptops which have more connectivity, touch screen etc.


> Every time I've priced out a laptop with similar configuration to my MBP

Which one is that? Until this past July, they were consistently a CPU generation behind every other brand on the market.

I paid $800 (I think it was $899 retail) for my current 13" Dell Inspiron 7000 laptop. It has an i7/DDR4 RAM vs the i5/DDR3 in the MBP, but given the slower hard drive, let's call it even.

The comparable MBP is $600 more at $1,499.00. The display is no doubt better, but I don't know that it justifies that much more money.


This has been true for at least as long as I've been buying apple laptops (over a decade).

If you want something with a similar form factor (light and thin) then anything with similar hardware specs from another company has always been around the same price, or more expensive.

I think the perception of over priced laptops is misplaced because people look at base specs, but ignore form factor. And, yes you could argue that you don't need something so thin and light, and maybe that's true for some people, but if it's a feature you want then apple laptops are competitively priced.


I like Apple too - writing this on a 2013 rMBP. Works flawlessly (touch wood).

But the new Pro series is just not pro enough for me. Why the hell should I buy a dongle for everything? It's supposed to be pro - you shouldn't have to basically carry a whole bunch of dongles to get stuff done. I don't know, maybe I am technophobe, but sometimes taking away the stuff which works and useful to shave a mm in height is just stupid from my perspective. If I want a super light laptop without the need for ports etc. I would go for an Air.

Dunno what's going to happen but will stick to my 2013 till it literally won't work anymore.

/end of rant


Apple's long been a proponent of doing things wirelessly; the main problem is that both power and displays aren't yet wireless. I wouldn't mind if Apple came out with a new display or 'docking station', I think they would need only one cable to connect the screen + provide power. USB-C is really versatile like that.

A shame they got rid of the SD card slot though, and I will be very upset if they get rid of the 3.5mm as well.


If one of the three or four configurations Apple sells is exactly the one you want, there isn't much or any premium. But if you make a fair comparison by picking a configuration at random (or e.g. pick a particular program that you want to run) then you can easily end up paying 50-100% more to get an Apple that does what you need.


Out of curiosity, I specc'd out a Thinkpad T480 as close as I could to the base model MBP, and they are reasonably similar in price (the Thinkpad is $2100 to the MBP's $2400).

Thing is, if you drop a few upgrades, such as dropping the CPU speed by a few percent, dropping the dGPU, going to a 1080P screen, and using a SATA instead of NVME drive, you're down to $1400 for largely minor decreases in performance and capability (none of those things would affect my use cases appreciably, you might be different). Apple doesn't give you those options in a MBP, and the standard MacBook is pretty outdated, topping out at an old dual core i7.


I’m sorry but dropping to a 1080p after using a Retina display or even a 2K dell screen is absolutely horrible. If you’re a programmer you spend your day looking at screens - make it nice.

Also, the difference between a SATA SSD and NVMe is night and day.


...that's largely irrelevant to what was said.

A similar model to the base MBP is ~$300 (~12%) cheaper, but by also dropping some other features they didn't feel were important for their use case, they could get the price close to $1400 (40% cheaper), but Apple doesn't even offer those options.

The point is not to say that a $1400 laptop is equivalent to the base MBP, but that a $2100 laptop is, and a cheaper MBP might be possible if apple was willing to offer some lower end/dated features. But they aren't.


FWIW I specced out a T480s and I got something that in terms of RAM wasn't even available on macs at the time (24 GB), weights under 1.5kg, has HDMI, ethernet USB and USB-C, a matte HIDPI display and a proper keyboard (and it came out costing like a top of the line MBP).


How heavy are both of those laptops, though?


And I would add that although some people see Apple's recent lack of innovation as proof that you need an asshole dictator at the top, I take it as proof that putting abusive people on top harms those under them, preventing people from really owning what they're doing or learning to innovate collaboratively.

It's basically "après moi, le déluge" as self-fulfilling prophecy. Real leaders create something that lasts beyond their deaths. Contrast this to George Washington, who could have ended up king but worked hard to make America about institutions, not men. Or, in business we can look at places like Toyota, which have remarkable cultural consistency and continuing innovation across the decades.


Premium, not luxury. There's a significant difference.


Can a premium priced goods be different than luxury goods? Yes. Prime example is an iPhone vs a name brand hand bag. The utility difference is massive.


You are wrong. Apple’s pace of innovation has slowed dramatically. This latest phone is but one example.

Here is what would have happened under Jobs:

http://magarshak.com/blog/?p=234


Ah it’s every second year again huh? When innovation is dead and nobody knows if it’ll ever be back. Until next September that is...


Really? Name another smartphpone maker that ships as many VCSELs as Apple did last year. And name a wearable that does as much as the new Apple Watch.


> With only seven million iPhones sold in China during the second quarter of 2018, Apple's market share in the country dropped by 12.5 percent year on year to 6.7 percent, according to a report by the International Data Corporation (IDC)

> If you head over to Xiaomi China’s official store (via XDA-Developers) you’ll see three new bundles unsubtly named the XS, XS Max, and XR sets. Included in each bundle is a new Xiaomi phone — either the Mi Mix 2S, Mi 8, or Mi 8 SE, respectively — a Xiaomi Notebook, a Mi Band 3, and a Bluetooth earpiece/earphones, all for the same price as their namesake iPhones.


What's that got to do with VCSELs?


I don’t think Apple products are any different without Jobs, the problem is they’re nothing new either. With Jobs you knew he loved and lived technology and was always looking for cool new things to do with it. Most of his product launches did just that and brought some excitement about possibilities.

Current Apple products are meticulously, exactingly designed and built, but they’re losing the excitement and expectation of something truly new and original that Jobs brought. That’s the big difference I think a visionary leader can make.

Musk is doing the same thing with electric cars and space. Tesla and SpaceX could survive without him for a time, and since they’re very different industries than consumer electronics, maybe even thrive under a Tim Cook-like operator par excellence. But no guarantee.


>Current Apple products are meticulously, exactingly designed and built, ...

I disagree. Look at the MBP keyboard issues, or the declining quality of OS X.

Under Jobs that shit wouldn't fly. Other roles aside, one of Jobs' most important functions was that of acting as a sanity check to ensure that the constiuent parts of any given product came together as a cohesive whole.


Again with the revisionist history.

Did you ever use the first 3 versions of OSX ? Because I did. And the quality was pretty unacceptable compared to OS9 or Windows. On the hardware side how long did Apple stick with the coffee puck mouse. Or how about the iPhone 1 never even having 3G or MMS or how about all of the issues with the GPU.

But yet Steve Jobs still shipped it all. Why ? Because his slogan was always "real artists ship".


Mac OS 9 didn’t even have memory protection, what are you talking about? The problem with early versions of Mac OS X were feature completeness, software support, and performance, not quality.


When did HN turn into Reddit?


Apple had issues like this when Jobs was there too. He's the reason "You're holding it wrong" is a common phrase


Yeah, it would have flown, and did. Remember when the MacBook first came out and every 5th it 6th white one had a dark yellow film? Or how the touch pads had waves and wobbles in them? The MacBook Pro exploding and misshapen batteries? The MacBook Pro thermal paste issues and how they ran at up to 100C and shut themselves down? Every time some big new production change happens there are teething problems no matter who’s in charge.


From what I understand Ives was distracted during this design cycle. Now that the headquarters are built I’m waiting to see if all of this crap is fixed in the next iteration.

But it’s getting easier and easier to skip a generation of laptop these days. My old machine is just starting to get slow enough that I notice. That’s a big problem for manufacturers.


You’re just listing things that have been described as product failures since Jobs died. Sure. But anyone can also make such a list from when Jobs was CEO.


For me the best examples of shit that wouldn't fly is the the iphone's protruding camera and the notch.


Me.com launch? That happened under Jobs' watch...


Why would you say that for example the Apple Watch is "nothing new"?

Or: what is the difference between jumping from an iPhone to an iPad (considered as genius by Jobs) and jumping from a fingerprint ID to a 3D face recognition.


Why would you say that for example the Apple Watch is "nothing new"?

Pebble.


So then the iPhone was nothing new either?


Indeed, and the ipod had no wireless and less space than a nomad, it was lame.

Oh wait, while Malda was technically right, it turned music files mainstream, and the iPhone turned touchscreen phones mainstream


Affirmative.


Yes it wasn't new per se, they didn't created first mobile phone with a touchscreen, but you can't deny that this one device single handedly shifted direction of entire industry. Similar things, just not in that scale is happening with watch. In reality no other smartwatch is even close to the Apple Watch. There is no competition. Same as with an iPad or the iPods before that.


but they’re losing the excitement and expectation of something truly new and original

It's just the technology which has matured. The innovation slows and becomes more incremental so certainly the excitement goes down. Jobs wouldn't have been able to change that. Maybe the quality of new Macs would be better or maybe he would have pushed his engineers more to make more elegant way to solve the notch problem, but that's it. Don't make a mistake, he was insightful executive, not the miraculous engineer inventing new technologies. At this stage of the company he would probably just pushed more to the services and content deals.


Your argument is fundamentally unconvincing because you're using unsubstantiated, subjective claims that anyone can disagree with and thereby nullify.

While you say that Jobs curbed "bad" decisions, and that now the company is "money grubbing," and that he alone kept Apple going in the "right" direction, you don't explain why you think so.

Someone could say the opposite (I don't have an opinion).

For example, far more people choose to purchase iPhones for far more money than they did during Steve Jobs' tenure, so there is some evidence that "bad" product decisions from your perspective are actually good product decisions in the eyes of Apple's customers.

Likewise, Apple's efforts to emphasize ethics and responsibility with respect to the environment, diversity and privacy are mostly new to the post-Jobs era. It may prove hard to argue that spending so much money on those priorities amounts to "money-grubbing," but I can't say for sure because you haven't really tried to argue anything at all.


Your argument is fundamentally unconvincing because you're using unsubstantiated, subjective claims that anyone can disagree with and thereby nullify.

https://m.facebook.com/JamesHBlack/posts/10156560054277932

so there is some evidence that "bad" product decisions from your perspective are actually good product decisions in the eyes of Apple's customers.

Where did I ever say that being luxury was a bad product decision? I never did. It raises margins. That's a very good thing for a company. However, it's empty and hollow as a driver of new product innovation.


I never thought of Apple as the GE (and GE Capital) of the tech world, but the "do more of the thing that makes us the most money, at all costs" metaphor is starting to fit.


The NCPPR representative asked Mr. Cook to commit right then and there to doing only those things that were profitable.

What ensued was the only time I can recall seeing Tim Cook angry, and he categorically rejected the worldview behind the NCPPR's advocacy. He said that there are many things Apple does because they are right and just, and that a return on investment (ROI) was not the primary consideration on such issues.[1]

Apple leads in recycling, renewable energy use and privacy as well.

So, no, your thesis is flat out wrong.

[1] https://www.macobserver.com/tmo/article/tim-cook-soundly-rej...


I don’t buy that Apple products or Apple as a company is worse off in any measurable way. I’m sure the there are some people who dislike decisions that happened after Jobs, but Apple and their products seem to be doing fine.


I knew everything was going down hill the second I seen that they weren't going to call it the Apple iWatch.

Like do they not know how important that lower case "i" is for their award winning and trend setting formula!

And I am being serious right now. My ocd is going nuts just thinking about the lost uniformity of the branding. Especially when they still insist on us calling their other products "my iphone, my ipod, my imac, and now we also have to say "my apple watch"?

How do you even tell somebody to pass you your phone, tablet, and watch all at the same time. "Hey man, can you pass me my iphone and ipad. Oh and my APPLE watch. Like do you not realize how much of my life you are wasting when you force me to say one more syllable.


I think Apple products are actually better, maybe not so much because of Apple but because their competitors suck.

Android is terrible, I mean, it’s looking more and more like iOS, but it’s still not iOS and it has no privacy if you want to use the official play store (which you want, because all the apps that actually make your phone smart, only live there). Android phones still die after a few years, my iPhone 5s is still a beast.

Laptops, well the surface book is arguably a great device, but it’s also more expensive than a MacBook Pro and doesn’t come with a thunderbolt port. The XPS is decent, but it’s build quality is Dell terrible. Lenovo might make good laptops, but working for the government, I’m not allowed to own one.

Apple has the only working Bluetooth devices on the planet. The magic keyboard and especially the AirPods always work, I can’t say that about anything else.

Plug and play egpu, who else has one?

I think the only place Apple isn’t actually best at what they do is in competition on software services like AI. Siri is terrible, Apple maps are terrible (why aren’t they just using OSM at this point? I’m sure OSM and Apple could find a way to benefit from each other, and OSM is currently better than google maps).

I may sound like an Apple fanboy, and I am, but I’ve become that way because their shit always works right out the damn box. And I’ve never had a piece quit on me by it’s own. I bought a MacBook Pro 2018 edition to work with the egpu, but my old 2013 macbook still runs perfectly fine. I can’t say I’ve ever tried any thing similar, except for thinkpads, and I’m not allowed to own one of those. Meanwhile my 1 year old work laptop from Dell is literally falling apart. The keyboard rattles, the battery lock is breaking and the screen can’t keep itself up. It cost almost as much as my MacBook, and it’s just complete shit. You may wonder why I care about cost of my work machine, but I’m a manager, I still pay for it.

As far as OSes go, Linux is still Linux, if you don’t mind spending half your life configuring it to your needs and then doing it every time it breaks then Linux is still awesome. Windows, the only plug and play option, however, has become atrociously bad. I like Microsoft, we use Azure a lot and stuff like AD and ADFS is heaven sent when you operate 500 different IT systems from as many suppliers, but windows 10 is one of the worst OSes I’ve ever operated. So again, Apple has managed to be great at OSes, mainly because their competitors suck.

I do think not having an iPhone SE is a mistake, but I also thought losing the headphone jack was a mistake, and sales have since proved it wasn’t, so who knows.


OSM is better than GMaps?

I hate having to go to Google for everything as much as the next guy, but I just can't bring myself to use OSM over Google Maps. GMpas are just.. better in every case.


I’m Danish, OSM is updated a lot faster than gmaps. Obviously google is better at routing and traffic, but routing doesn’t work if a road is closed for construction and google doesn’t know.


I get what you mean - but Musk isn't always like that. Not like Jobs.

If you look at the recent BFR video on the SpaceX channel, early on he gives an update on the technology, and there's a part where he takes much longer than the audience cares for to praise the job SpaceX' propulsion engineering team did on the new engine. And you can very easily tell it's genuine respect and gratitude (probably because he had to be more hands-off due to time constraints), not marketing fluff. He's certainly not above crediting people at his company.


Totally agree with the sentiment. I don't despise Musk, I rather like him a lot for all of his work.

BUT I also thought it was weird that, in the podcast, he didn't mention and never has mentioned (of all the appearances I've seen) the entire team of people helping him to the success. Specially in the podcast, because one question that was repeated several times by Joe was like "how do you manage to do all the stuff you do?". I do not like this way of portraying one guy as some sort of alien that does all this when in reality he does very little if you compare it to the work that is done by his employees.

Leadership that goes in the direction that Musk does is really good and very valuable but it's not what creates actual worth.


>but not once did he say, "Well I have an amazing team of engineers" and credit all the thousands of people in his organizations that actually do the work.

Engineers are a dime a dozen. They are responsible for the success of these companies in the same way cells are responsible for the formation of a human being.

Why couldn't all those engineers build a cost effective reusable rocket system before Musk came along? Or how about an electric car that could go 400 miles on a battery charge?


>They are responsible for the success of these companies in the same way cells are responsible for the formation of a human being.

So... entirely responsible?


Yo missed my point. Nobody walks around thanking their skin cells for existing.


Your point seemed to be that engineers are "a dime a dozen," yet I doubt any "dime-a-dozen" engineer or group of engineers could have accomplished what Tesla's or SpaceX's engineers have.

But let's answer a question you posed in your comment: Why couldn't all those engineers build a cost effective reusable rocket system before Musk came along? Or how about an electric car that could go 400 miles on a battery charge?

They could have, because obviously, they did. Their collective expertise is what made that possible. Elon Musk didn't just draw up all the plans and send it to them to make happen. Elon Musk, however, could never in a million years have done it alone.

So I didn't miss your point, I disregarded it. Those dime a dozen engineers are far more important than Elon.

> Nobody walks around thanking their skin cells for existing.

Well, skin cells are not human beings, so comparing human beings to skin cells is... disturbing at best.


I think OP's point is to credit Musk for the agency in organizing those fine engineers around tackling these problems. Together they had the ability to achieve these things, but that state of togetherness does not arise accidentally. Entirely seperate from his contributions to the engineering going on, building a company is an act.


You would if not thanking them meant you suddenly lost 10% of them though...


> All Elon had to do was keep his head down and not pick twitter fights....

You know what, this could be said about a lot of people, including the freaking President. I'm beginning to wonder if the real problem is Twitter. Specifically the most fundamental aspect of its design -- the ability to blast off brief messages to thousands of people any time, anywhere.

Maybe we're learning that that this design leads people, even smart, well-meaning people, to publish crap. No one is crafting well thought out, quality content in 280 characters on their phone. The vast majority of Tweets and RTs are going to be total junk, lizard brain stuff. Sure enough Twitter has become the abuse hub of the Internet.

Sure, people love to use it. They love to use cocaine too once they get a taste. And drinking socially is fine, but booze too hard and the nicest person can turn into a monster. Maybe we just shouldn't have what Twitter provides.


I completely agree with you that Twitter is playing a casual role in the degradation of discourse within our society.

Go to the popular Twitter feeds and there are very obvious bot posts trying to scam and manipulate people. Twitter has not managed to stop them. Elon Musk's twitter feed is a great example of this. It even has the bots pretending to be him.

Here, if you want to appear popular and have greater ability to manipulate people, you can buy some followers: https://devumi.com/twitter-followers/ Now regardless of your worthiness you have social proof! Advocate for the lack of existence of a round earth to your hearts content, now with greater effectiveness.

The spread property of news on Twitter favors falsehood over truth: https://www.businessinsider.com/mit-study-fake-news-spreads-... This fact when combined with medium as message https://www.litcharts.com/lit/amusing-ourselves-to-death/cha... leads to a system which actively promotes the wrong sort of content. Clickbait is a reality, because clickbait gets clicks, so people write clickbait titles. The existence of the rules like those Hacker News has are a fight against these forces. This community was built in part with an understanding that these forces are real and harmful to discourse.

Twitter meanwhile has better engagement metrics by not solving these problems. So don't expect them to change, without any effort on their part. Fighting your own incentives is very hard. Twitter is basically addicted to harming discourse. Obviously, no ill will on its part, since this stuff wasn't obvious early on.

It has benefits too though. Like getting to hear the perspective of the people in question, without intermediary.


>Specifically the most fundamental aspect of its design

One of my favorite hacker news comments is:

>Twitter is a planetary-scale hate machine. By which I don't mean "people post hateful things on Twitter." I mean literally generates hate, as in, put a bunch of people with diverse perspectives on Twitter and by the end of the day they hate each other more than when they started.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16501385


Wut. The problem isn't twitter (well, not in this case, not that twitter haven't destroyed their product with the non-chronological feed...), it's infants who can't control themselves on it. Addicts and occasional users exist for most things (the possible exception being strong opiates).


Really? You want to blame cocaine and hard booze?

1 to many communications is useful. Many to many communications (email) is useful. Push comms are useful.

People are responsible for what they do, and what they say. Be it drugs or (I can't believe I'm saying this), Twitter.

The most interesting thing is that many would blame Trump more for his Twitter mis-use than people who mis-use substances. And, conversely, many blame drug abusers but excuse Trump.

In the end, we are either responsible for our actions or we are not. I believe the former is a crucial piece for functioning society; it needs to be tempered with a non-judgemental attitude and treated as a public health issue if it spreads too far.


Amazingly, Musk apparently had reached a settlement with the SEC over this, then blew it up:

https://twitter.com/tomgara/status/1045472592595996672

I don't understand people who defend him as head of a public company.


Perhaps some of what makes him capable of making these mistakes is also part of why he has multiple revolutionary companies.


Being unconstrained by reality? You might actually be onto something there; I know a few people who are similarly unconstrained and they end up bringing just the right mix of crazy and sweat together to make something novel. It also has a serious downside in this particular case, however.


Not wanting to make this political, but one could say the same about the current US president. Based on his social media output it seemed he was downright batshit insane when he got elected (some might say even still, although he seems to have calmed down a bit). He seems to be achieving things though and we didn't end up with WW3 as a lot of people predicted.

Perhaps the world needs these crazy people occasionally to come in and stir up the pot?

(Don't get me wrong, I'm not a fan of the guy and not being from the US my opinion doesn't really matter, but thought I'd give me $0.02 so to speak)


"Achieving things"? What things?


I guess there's a difference between "head of a large public company" and "founder of a large public company".

His track record at the latter speaks for itself. But the fact that someone who founded a company isn't necessarily the best person to run it long term is uncomfortable. Especially on a website like this one, with so many aspiring founders.


Why is that uncomfortable? I don't think anybody takes issue with the idea that some engineers are great at being engineers but not great at being managers, and so it's important to have a career track for senior engineers to continue doing the engineering work that they're great at instead of forcing them into a role that's not fulfilling.

That idea shouldn't be more uncomfortable just because the engineer is a founder. It should be reasonable for a founding engineer to let somebody else come in and do the boring management work that a CEO has to perform while the engineer continues doing the work that got them to where they are.


Except, you know, he didn't found Tesla.


Wikipedia lists him as a co-founder, but even ignoring that you still have zip2, x.com, space x, the Boring Company, Neuralink, OpenAI...


People keep saying this, and it makes very little sense. The Tesla that he "didn't found" was a boutique outfit formed to modify another company's obscure sports car to make it run on batteries. That company no longer exists in any sense beyond the name on the business license. The Tesla that exists now is indisputably there because of Musk's ambition, willpower, and engineering instincts, for better or worse.


I'm actually confused.

By "another company's obscure sports car" I assume you're referring to the Lotus Elise - arguably one of the world's better known and more successful sports cars.


I'm British so I also take offense to this (how very dare you!) but I'm assuming this was written from a US-centric point of view. The Elise and Exige may have been fairly common this side of the pond but I get the impression they're very rare outside of the UK.


No more rare than any other sports car. I’ve seen more on the streets here in the middle of the country than I have seen of nissan gtrs.


Lotus's best sales year in the US was 2007, with about 3,000 sold across all models including the Elise. That year, the Corvette alone sold 33000 units.


Not in the US, it isn't.

In any case, the point still stands.


Just taking a shot in the dark here. Perhaps, just perhaps, he had more information to base his decisions on than is available to you from a 'Tweet' and a couple of lines in a media article.


Musk-ites will be saying the same thing even if he's eventually ousted from Tesla and banned from running another public company --- an outcome that is now explicitly on the table thanks to how he managed Tesla over the past 3 months.


This kind of thinking makes sense (Musk is smart, he must make decisions rationally) but it is sort of empirically denied. If Musk was so smart he wouldn't have called a random guy a pedo or violated securities law in public. After all, he has more information/advice available to him on securities law than you or I do.


Don't you find something off that you need to reference things that have yet to be resolved to find instances of him acting unjustifiably irrational? Neither statement he made has yet been shown to not be a statement of fact. If he was simply making up things in either case then he will pay, quite literally. If he wasn't then instead this will end up just being yet another 'sky is falling' moment that people will quickly forget before moving onto the next one.


I find that the easiest explanation is the God complex that has brought down many men before Musk and will bring down many more after him.


>Tesla has pulled itself back from the brink and may actually become a profitable car company

This is a very very generous assessment of the dire financial situation TSLA is in. At best they have hit their production at the expense of quality which will only temporarily offset their costs. Any sustainable mid-term profitability is a very big question mark at this point.


Tesla Model 3 is the most efficient and best quality electric vehicle I've seen. I've owned one for over 6 months now, and early on it was glitchy and needed a lot of software updates, but for the last 3 months it has been extremely rock solid stable, and I'm pretty certain this car will have great longevity. Not to mention, perfect 5 star ratings in safety from NHTSA.

First, I don't like Autosteer (autopilot), as I think it is a little too sloppy because highway lane paintings are not very good in some places. It does much better when tracking a vehicle in front, but I prefer to be in control because it gets a little scary for me personally when I'm traveling 1 foot away from adjacent vehicles and going around a curve and expecting the car to steer for me... This is mostly a personal thing for me - I prefer to be in control of my own fate... you might feel differently.

That being said, I love the Traffic Aware Cruise Control (TACC) - it's light years ahead of any other manufacturer, as it uses the Tesla computer vision system.

What it does that is really amazing is that you can set the speed to +10 (which is what I do) and with one flick of the steering wheel paddle once you get on the freeway it will set your maximum speed to 75mph (in a 65mph zone; +10) and it uses the computer vision system to determine when it needs to slow you down due to a vehicle or obstacle in front of you.

The amazing thing is that because it uses a computer vision system, it is smart enough to not brake when a vehicle is directly in front of you but you are going around a curve so you will never actually hit the vehicle. In other words, it keeps your maximum speed, with safe following distance, no matter what type of strange curve or oncoming traffic might normally fool it into emergency braking.


Lots of other cars also have 5 star NCAP ratings. I’m willing to bet at any time a Subaru will be in that list.

Adaptive cruise control and lane tracking are also not exclusive to Tesla.


Tesla safety record stats are better than the minimum required score for five stars. You can read an example of their pride/righteousness/aspiration in this truth/fact/reality here https://www.tesla.com/blog/tesla-model-s-achieves-best-safet... or here https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1042827334758260736


Yes, and they're not alone in that. Many car companies are above the minimum required for five stars.


On a percentage basis of test scores, Tesla is in the top 1% of test scores and was rumored to be in contention for the very best test score with their newest model.

The glowing review by the actual owner is justified by empirical data.


Servicing cost for Model 3 is likely to be greater than any other car in the same price range: https://cleantechnica.com/2018/05/20/heres-what-7000-of-dama... . Sure, you might say "but, fewer things break!" on electric vehicles. In case of Tesla that might not be true either: https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/business/Tesla-Owner-Frustra...


I thought the narrative was they just need to get through the short term before production stabilizes and is able to meet demand.

I do feel there is a difference between Tesla the car, and Tesla the company. Tesla the car is still the most desirable electric on the market. Tesla the company is a different story altogether.


The narrative shifts constantly because the narrative is anti-Tesla. So it has to shift, whenever they make it past another hurdle. It started with them being ridiculous for even trying to make an electric car. Then it became that they couldn't mass produce. Now they are being mass produced. It sometimes shifts towards their safety, but it isn't a preferred avenue of attack because the stats show that the cars are safer than other vehicles, which produces cognitive dissonance in people who are mislead as to the true nature of the news they are hearing about Tesla.


  The narrative shifts constantly because the narrative is
  anti-Tesla. So it has to shift, whenever they make it past
  another hurdle.
Or from another perspective, the narrative shifts constantly because the delivery date for my $35,000 car keeps shifting :)


Pay another $1000 for priority queueing!


That perspective would be a refreshing one, but the short interests which are pushing the current narratives are oftentimes not the ones who hope to see your car delivered. Their profits are maximized, not by the delivery of your car, but by volatility in the Tesla stock produced by negative news about a story stock.

I'll give an example. An often repeated story about Tesla is that they are not making a profit off any vehicle they make. It's a false narrative of a very particular type with a very particular goal: it generates confusion about the benefit of infrastructure investment.

It's clearly a false narrative. Investment in infrastructure is obviously a wise move for a company with ambitions as vast as Tesla. So why do you hear this false narrative? It comes down to the company being valued according to the assumption that the company will make these infrastructure investments. There is a causal link between the stock price and the infrastructure investment. If confusion and doubt exist about the value of that infrastructure investment, then it produces volatility which can generate money for the short position.

In truth, these people should be disregarded. However, unfortunately, negative news tends to get more attention than positive news. So the news tends to end up favoring these short-interest fueled stories as a consequence. Plenty of people realize that climate change is real and that we all stand to benefit from Tesla succeeding in its mission. Many people don't realize that the majority of news about Tesla is being fueled by interests who stand to profit from causing harm to the company.

The submarine of the ICE industry pieces on Tesla at least I think people are savvy enough to grasp fairly easily. They tend to have a more obvious structure, with the way a rival auto-industry expert will be brought on to breathlessly talk about how their competitor in Elon Musk is so crazy that he ought to be removed from leading the company or how electric vehicles are impossible or not ready or some other nonsense. Anything to harm their competition. They're just acting according to their own self-interest.

But the amplification of confusion generated by short interests? It was much harder for me at least to understand where that was coming from. I thought the people saying it were idiots up until I got so annoyed with it I downloaded the analysis of Tesla by a firm that was shorting it in which they laid out the way Tesla was a story stock and explained its subsequent volatility. It was really eye opening, because I had expected them to be idiots saying things that were false because they truly believed them, rather than explaining that they figured Tesla would do well, but that their was potential to profit off volatility. It helped me understand the strangeness of the news. The pieces amplifying confusion have more to do with the profit model of news and its relationship with attention, rather than value creation, and some people being clever enough to abuse that.

It's what motivated some of the interest Elon Musk had in going private. These things haven't been done under a rock. The Tesla board has called out the news for their amplification of these lies. Elon Musk has called it out. Plenty of green sector focused news have been calling it out. It's pretty sad that people are struggling to understand it. When tangentially related subjects have been brought up on Hacker News in the past, it was described as paranoia on Elon Musk's part. I guess its easy for Hacker News to understand the submarine that Paul Graham wrote about, since people read his writing, and harder for it to figure it out the rest of the bias, because someone didn't lay out the forces clearly enough. I'm not as good a writer as Paul Graham. I can't get across what I've noticed with as much eloquence. Hopefully people like him continue to be thoughtful and share their thoughts, so that everyone can benefit.

Tesla is the most shorted stock on the stock market. Tesla is a leading player in electrification of transportation. Climate change is leading nations to ban ICE vehicles. Something about these three statements, taken together, is odd. People point to Elon Musk being a fraud, but meanwhile he was so effective in his role at SpaceX that the superpower of Russia can no longer compete with his company in the sector that it is focused on. People say he is incompetent to reduce dissonance, meanwhile his friends and engineers insist otherwise even in the discussions in this news item and even on topics related to engineering rather than business.


Don't think that's the case -- did you listen to the latest earnings call? They're forecasting a cashflow positive Q3 with 15% gross margin on the Model 3s, and have sustained 5,000 M3 and 2,000 S&X per week for several weeks now. They even closed the reservation system and are taking orders for 2 months out.


It’s widely reported (even among usually optimistic forecasters) that Model 3 production has stalled as low as 3k per week after the initial rush week. There are further questions regarding warranty provision that may be hiding significant costs which would impact that 15% GM.

https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2018-tesla-tracker/

* edit: typo


>All Elon had to do was keep his head down and not pick twitter fights....

Do you mean, act like the CEO of a public ally traded company and not publicly make unsubstantiated material statements?


Yeah. As opposed of acting like the leader of the country


Twitter: where the rich and powerful publicly make complete fools of themselves.


Zing!


> I hope for Space X and Tesla's sake that the reports of a directory and Executive ban don't come true.

Why? Because Elon is a special snowflake and deserves a different treatment than other white-collar criminals?


Absolutely not, when and if he is found guilty of market manipulation then be it, he deserves everything that coming his way. If not then, well not. It would just be pitty that hubris has destroyed a great legacy in that case. And, even more troubling, with Tesla basically being Musk its future, and that of its employees, looks rather grim all things considered. Best thing for Tesla would be if Musk was not found guilty and stepped down none the less. I don't see that happening so.

SpaceX should be fine I think, even without him.


With the US's record on white collar crime, charging him and actually punishing him would make him the "special snowflake".


How about because nobody should be able to go from perfectly fine to having ruined their life* in under 30 seconds. you have one dumb thought, open twitter on your phone, push tweet, and it's over. That's not an ability people should have. We are impulsive and often dumb.


He was perfectly fine to surrender his CEO position at Tesla (and any position of power in any other company he is in) in order to get rid of this "ability". He did not.

Certain positions of power just come with the ability to ruin your life in seconds. Some even can ruin the life of others in milliseconds. You cannot cushion these people from these facts. If they cannot deal with that, they should surrender the power. The concept is called responsibility.


They are referencing other tweets and statements by him. So it isn't a single bad decision that lead to this. It is a constant flow of bad decisions run over several months. People in important positions really should put a legal/marketing department between themselves and their twitter account.


People go from perfectly fine to having ruined their life by jaywalking.


He had his dumb thought, broadcast it, and then continued to publicly support his dumb thought for days. I know it's great to be a CEO and say anything you want on Twitter, but you should at least run it by PR and IR first, because they're going to get asked about it. And maybe someone says 'Hey Elon, that's not actually true.' or ' Hey Elon, you can't post that while the market is open.' or 'Dude, we have to send this to the SEC and wait 10 minutes, dummy'


He’s a big boy.


Like that guy Elon accused of being a pedophile in under 30 seconds?


Elon Musk is being sued for market manipulation.


The difference with him is he is trying to move humanity forward and truly improve things and helping to secure our long term survival.

Those short sellers don't care about any of that, they only care about making money and it's understandable that Musk is trying to find ways to ruin their game.

Musk should have run this type of tweet by his close business friends / counsel.

I hope he will only get a slap on the wrist for this.

We need companies like Tesla, SpaceX or The Boring Company.


Musk is trying to make money, and he says that he is trying to move humanity forward to secure our long term survival. This may very well be true. However, similar statements are often made by people committing scams in order to give investors and the public an excuse to ignore serious signs of fraud. Anyone who gives him a free pass because of his claims of saving humanity is potentially making an enormous mistake. On the other hand, if he really is saving humanity, he should also be able to comply with the law.


I don't think he's a scammer at all - I think to him money is just a tool to achieve his mission, i.e. solving tough problems.

But I agree - he shouldn't have tweeted that and he should have consulted his business partners first.


You shouldn't be allowed to share this opinion, as you have never owned a single share of stock. Why don't you buy some, wait till you lose some money, then come back and tell us you feel good because, you know, the company pushes humanity forward.

Musk wasn't raising money for humanity sake; he was raising money to found his company and doing so he agreed to be bound by the rules that such market created. You don't like these rules? Sure go see your senator to change the rules and allow companies "moving humanity forward" to do or say whatever they want to when they are exchange listed. The problem is if that would to happen, nobody would invest a dime in such company because people don't invest their money into pushing humanity forward, but rather to multiply their hard earned cash.

And how the fuck is building rockets pushing humanity forward? We are not going to leave Earth en masse; With his behavior of "fuck Earth I will move everyone to Mars and adopt your body to live in Martian atmosphere", Musk is actually pushing humanity backwards. I recently saw someone on highway throwing away empty cigarette pack. It happens we pulled over on the same gas station I asked him about literring to what he answers "Dude, Musk throw away a car into space and you have a problem with me? why the heck should I care about some cigarette box thrown out of window".


I have shares and you only lose money if you decide to sell the shares now - price might recover if you hold on to them and if you believe in Tesla's mission and value you might even think it's a good time to buy some more. (This is not financial advice)

But like I mentioned, I said he shouldn't have tweeted that message and should have consulted with his business partners first. I think he just wasn't thinking clearly of the consequences along with his other rather eratic tweets. I blame his lack of sleep and taking stuff like ambien...

I don't think he is a scammer and is all about making money. If you follow his history - he's an engineer and he wants to solve tough problems and wants to add value (see recent interview with Joe Rogan). What I would have liked to see more though is him mentioning his team and the brilliant people working at his companies.

To your last point (paraphrased):

> How is space technology moving humanity forward?

SpaceX is about space technology and that technology can improve life here on Earth - see:

http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Engineering_Technolo...

https://www.nasa.gov/centers/johnson/pdf/167752main_FS_Spino...

And there is nothing wrong with trying to find or create outer space habitats. We can improve life on Earth and build rockets at the same time, i.e. we have enough resources and minds to work on all these problems.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/space/7935505/Steph...

Edit: typos


Sorry but I don't believe you own stocks... this just sounds too naive, like first advice any broker will give you NOT to do is to buy and keep for the sake of it:

> I have shares and you only lose money if you decide to sell the shares now

Many stocks went to near zero just to get de-listed next minute. Some of these fine folks that have played marked by your advice blew their head off in the process. Never assume stock will just rebounce; to the contrary before you execute a trade set a head ceiling (in most cases) and definitely set the floor that you going to play by strictly following it. This is indeed an advice any book on trading stock market will tell you.

I'm not gonna comment on the part about Musk being scammer or not. I don't want to change a subject all of sudden.


You're right - technically I don't own TSLA outright. I trade CFDs. I should have made that clearer - my bad.

And of course you have to set your stop losses - that's just common sense, no?

But TSLA is not near zero, so I'm holding the position I've got, because I believe that if Tesla can overcome this hurdle - the price will recover again, because the underlying long term value Tesla produces is immense in my opinion.

And that's my point - what Elon and his companies / teams are trying to achieve is game changing and a big value add to society.

And you did talk about more than one subject in your previous comment - which I've responded to.


Nice rebound today - over 16%...


You say the shorts don't have any power to hurt tesla, but much of tesla's and elon musk's personal debt is backed by Tesla shares. If the price dips too low, it's potentially catastrophic for the company and him.


What exactly did the shorts do here? Musk has brought on all this scrutiny himself. The shorts didn't bail out Solar City, miss nearly every production target, use TSLA as a way to personally finance a lavish lifestyle, or commit securities fraud.

The shorts are all over this stock because of issues like the above. They were not the cause of those issues.


The idea that Tesla is drastically missing its production targets is overstated. It originally claimed that what was later named the Model 3 would begin production in 2017. This claim was made as far back as 2014. This occurred as projected. It has since been ramping up steadily. The rate of that ramp up has been slower than initially projected, but is well within the long-term projected numbers.

Critically, Tesla ramp up is already high enough that it is now leading the US in sales of electric vehicles. The numbers are decidedly in favor of Tesla, who sells almost as many vehicles a month as the other electric providers sell in a year.

This should be a good thing in your eyes, considering the impact of climate change which will be felt by this generation. However, the legacy of effect of sowing doubt about climate change and automobiles is bearing itself out. The seeds were sown and they now sprout. Enough idiots were convinced to bet against renewable energy and now they're going to do their best to damn the rest us.

This seems to me like a woe to the world moment. The world is trying to take down someone seeking its good. It reminds me of the persecution of Jesus Christ. Read through this thread and see the false witnesses being refuted by his co-laborers and friends. Read the testimony of the people saying that his product is good. Read the empirical reports on the quality of his work.

When the righteous are persecuted, it is done, not because they are evil, but because they are good. Nobody is afraid of the incompetent fool, but rival automaker executives line up to plead that Elon Musk should be removed from his position, now that they realize the danger they are in.


> The idea that Tesla is drastically missing its production targets is overstated.

The target misses seem like quite a bit more than tiny, immaterial/technical misses. July 2017 projection of 1500 Model 3s in Sept and 20,000 in December with actuals of 260 and 2425 (17% and 12% of target, respectively).

[0] - https://www.statista.com/chart/12415/tesla-deliveries-and-mo...

Word choice tip, intended as incidental and constructive:

It's "sowing doubt" (as in sowing seeds or sowing discord, not as in sewing clothes).


Thanks for the tip. I appreciate it. I also appreciate the extra effort you put into making sure I interpreted in the spirit in which it is given. It can be hard to understand intent via text.

You're right. They definitely aren't immaterial misses. I'm not trying to deny that there are misses.

I'm trying to talk about the vector that Tesla is representing and the way that vector makes the claims about their misses less important. There is now a new trend in the auto industry, with the monthly sales of ICE vehicles going down every month and the number of electric vehicles sold every month going up. Tesla is now projected to have a vehicle within the top 20 most sold vehicles in the United States. They are projected to be first by vehicle revenue for a single model. They are doing worse than they wanted, but not terribly. They need support, in my view, so that they can continue their mission of electrifying transport. Not to be torn down, which feels almost suicidal at societal scale for as long as the other manufacturers still make most of their income on ICE vehicles.

Though, I suppose legislators will eventually ban those vehicles outright, it is already starting to happen in some places.

Hope you have a wonderful day. As for me, I'm in the house of mourning. I'm certain that more people are going to suffer in the future. It has me really down. I'm watching people trying to bet on disasters occurring, seeing another person realize this and try to do something to fix it, and then seeing that blow up in the most horrible way. It is tragedy. Already, I have friends and family that have been impacted by climate change. I can't stop caring about them.

We're late on stopping climate change. So is Tesla. It sucks.


> Enough idiots were convinced to bet against renewable energy and now they're going to do their best to damn the rest us.

No one is betting against renewable energy. They are betting against a company drowning in debt that has been poorly ran with a CEO who has been charged with securities fraud.

And please do not try to compare Musk to some modern day Jesus Christ. My bible studies are a little rusty, but I do not remember Jesus buying up multiple mansions [1], doing shady bail outs for family like Solar City [2], or leveraging himself to the hilt on a company that is in a crisis [3].

[1] https://variety.com/2016/dirt/real-estalker/elon-musk-bel-ai...

[2] https://www.forbes.com/sites/jimcollins/2018/08/09/solarcity...

[3] https://www.forbes.com/sites/jimcollins/2018/05/18/musk-has-...


There are people actively experimenting with manipulating people through feeding a process which produces division. They have confessed to this [1]. Some people are choosing to bet against Tesla as a result of this. The knowledge doesn't come with the disclaimer when you get it secondhand.

But, you're right that I'm speaking too broadly when I say it is a bet against all renewable energy. Thank you for removing this speck from my eye. I appreciate it.

As to your being offended by my reference: First off let me be clear that Elon Musk is a man. He cries the tears of a man. He has the many failings of a man. Many talks in which he describes his life makes it clear that he hates it and would not recommend it to others. Part of what is feeding into that these days is the cruelty directed toward him, much of which is not fully justified by the ever so slight nature of his failings.

Now as to your attempt to show Elon Musk as having done some sort of wrong? Let me remind you of some of your rusty scripture:

Jesus Christ talks about the many mansions of his father. He does not need to buy them. He made them. All things are made by and for him. Therefore, I'm not about to condemn someone for having mansions, in isolation from the rest of their deeds [2]. Solomon also had incredible wealth. Rather than calling that evil, Jesus Christ described Solomon as wise.

As to bailing out family? Jesus Christ came to save us, despite our sins. A healthy person doesn't need a healer. Moreover, we are described in scripture as children of God. So I'm also not about to condemn a person for trying to help someone related to them. Especially since I consider the continuance of solar deployment to be a moral /good/. That said, I've read the reviews of SolarCity. Clearly SolarCity is falling well short of the rest of Tesla given customer reviews of the company. Hopefully they manage to get things together at some point. That would be wonderful. Eventually, I expect solar to be a dominant provider of energy. It seems to me like a good long-term investment.

[1]: https://twitter.com/TeslaCharts/status/1008405211432570880

[2]: TL;DR for the people who didn't read the article: He bought mansions. The mansion are near another. He converted one it into a school for his kids and others he knew who presumably were interested in attending. The other was for his wife, who was interested in having the option of alternate living arrangements. Another is thought to house security staff. It is a tabloid piece, trying to make a sordid story of Elon Musk's personal life for the entertainment of gawkers.


I'm ignorant of the practical aspects here: aren't shorts self-fulfilling eventually if the people taking this positions are powerful enough?

If I'm long on Tesla, then I lend my shares for someone and the shares happen to fall at all (normal market variations) then I lost money. If I see more short orders then surely I'm going to get antsy, move to "a more stable share", pushing the price down a little, making some other short positions come off and starting the snowball rolling.

Add to that the ability of people to win on large short positions by selling shares 'they' are holding (pushing the price down), or knowing what major news outlets are publishing in advance, and any inkling of weakness gets multiplied beyond reality.

Surely you'd be stupid not to respect a major trading operation going short on a company you're long on; but that makes the position easy to manipulate?

If you see the sharks circling ready to depress your share price the temptation to blip the share price with an announcement "free cake for all shareholders!" is going to be strong. Especially if that might save the company.

Teach me oh wise ones, where am I wrong, what am I missing.

(I'd guess one thing would be the ability to hide the origin of bids/buys; I assume these are public.)


If you see vultures circling a dying or dead animal, does it mean they killed it? The vultures show up when something is dying or dead.

TSLAs financials have been a disaster for a long time. Its stock price has been completely disconnected from reality for a long time. Musk/TSLA fans have buoyed the stock price, but people are starting to realize that even if the TSLA car is nice it doesn't mean it's a good company.

> aren't shorts self-fulfilling eventually if the people taking this positions are powerful enough?

Powerful enough to do what? There is not some grand short conspiracy. TSLA and Musk have given the shorts all they need. Yes, a lot of short interest could cause people not to go long, but because people use short interest as a proxy to something is wrong at the company. It only takes 2 mins of research to see that TSLAs financials are a disaster. The CEO is on Twitter calling people pedophiles and now looks to have committed securities fraud. The shorts are a symptom of the problems of the company, they are not the cause.

> Add to that the ability of people to win on large short positions by selling shares 'they' are holding (pushing the price down),

First, you're making an assumption this person holds enough shares to move the market (millions of shares change hands per day in TSLA). Second, there are all sorts of rules around market manipulation of that type. If someone is moving that kind of money to move TSLA with the sort of daily volume it has, then that person is on the radar.

You know Musk how could screw all the shorts? Get off Twitter and execute. Hit a target more than once a year. Actually make some money. Unfortunately it may be too late because of the TSLA debt load (added to by the Solar City bailout which was itself shady).

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jimcollins/2018/08/09/solarcity...


It was intended to be more of a general question on shorting, but thank you for your analysis - I shall cogitate on it; I'd certainly agree Tesla has problems.


> use TSLA as a way to personally finance a lavish lifestyle

The others I get but this seems like an odd personal attack. What CEO of a huge public company doesn't live a "lavish lifestyle"? Or is this just supposed to make us hate him more because he's rich and we're not?


Perhaps it was harsh, and I can't find the article right now outlining the multiple mansions, etc... Outside of that, I don't care how rich someone is, but the problem is that he's using TSLA stock as collateral for large personal loans. This puts enormous pressure on him to maintain a stock price above $X at all costs. Assuming he has used all of the other money borrowed to fund his other companies, if TSLA goes down could it take down all of his companies? That I'm unsure about.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jimcollins/2018/05/18/musk-has-...


Winner winner chicken dinner.

Lol. Musk over extended. Plain and simple. He played it risky and now, when it didn’t work out, he is pissed.

In response he waged war via twitter on those who took risks in the other direction. Would have been wiser for him to focus on finding a way to cut his losses so he can continue fighting. Instead he played with fire and was burned.


Shorts don't affect the stock the price that way. They profit if the price goes down, sure. And lots of short interest might make people more likely to sell, which will drive the price down, but just shorting a stock doesn't have much effect on the price.


Shorting is selling a stock. Selling a stock lowers its price.

The way shorting works is Alice lends a stock from Bob and gives him a small compensation for that. Then Alice sells that stock she lend. Somewhere in the future Alice will buy the stock and give it back to Bob.

If the price goes up enouogh, Alice will (be forced to) cut her losses. For this she has to buy a stock, which will increase the price further. This can lead to a so called 'short squeeze' when shorters Carol and Dave also (are forced to) cut their losses, driving the price up even further.

Right now >28% the TSLA float is sold short[0]. That must have an impact on the price. Also should a TSLA short squeeze ever happen, that's going to be epic. There will be enough Tesla believers that it's probable going to be hard to find that 28% for anything close to reasonable prices.

[0] https://www.gurufocus.com/term/ShortPercentageOfFloat/NAS:TS...


Is there any evidence the short sellers have ever caused the price to move at all?


Shorting a stock means borrowing shares and selling them (making the seller short of shares they still owe). This puts the shares back on the market and absorbs purchasing demand. By supply and demand the price goes down.

Regardless of any change in public sentiment or incentives to publicize dirt, at scale shorting a stock inherently reduces the price while the short positions are open.


In practice, at the scale of short selling actually taking place, does it materially impact the price of Tesla shares? Is there even any way to know?

Seems like a boogeyman to blame all manner of company ills on. For example, I think very few of the negative press Tesla has received over e.g. union busting or manufacturing defects is due to a short seller conspiracy. That's newsworthy stuff and the media is doing its job.


> In practice, at the scale of short selling actually taking place, does it materially impact the price of Tesla shares? Is there even any way to know?

If you divert some of the water from a river, the water level goes down. How much does it go down? You can calculate it if you know the values of all the variables that go into it. If you don't know all their values, does that mean the principle ceases to operate?

> Seems like a boogeyman to blame all manner of company ills on.

Not being responsible for 100% of all problems is not equivalent to being responsible for 0% of all problems.


> In practice, at the scale of short selling actually taking place, does it materially impact the price of Tesla shares? Is there even any way to know?

Right now >28% the TSLA float is sold short[0]. I can't imagine that not have an impact on the price.

[0] https://www.gurufocus.com/term/ShortPercentageOfFloat/NAS:TS...


Permitting and perpetuating this kind of myth-making is practically part of Elon's fiduciary duty to his shareholders at this point. You can't fault him for doing it, because he has to.

You have to admit though, based on comments all over any story about Tesla here at least, that it works as a bogeyman. The only other fiction that’s more powerful is that Musk does everything he does to send humanity to Mars, save the world, etc. Musk has a true talent for figuring out what his target audience wants to believe, and then selling it to them at a premium. Smart, technically minded people (key early adopters of Tesla) are desperate for a way to keep humanity going in the face of climate change, possible impact events, and so on. Musk more or less frames his rather mundane personal aggrandizement and money-making endeavors as lynchpins in just those areas. He helps to convince people who want to believe, that they can help save the world not through anything like sacrifice, but by buying stock or a luxury car!

They eat it up, and are enraged at people who scoff, and no one scoffs harder than someone who puts their money on a bet that the stock is overvalued. As a result the short is already a subject of hate, and perfect to pin all of the evils of the world on. It perpetuates a classic tribal narrative and dresses it up in just enough pseudo intellectual finery to convince a target audience which already wants to believe. As a bonus that audience thinks it’s too smart to be fooled that way, and above tribalism, making it easier to sell the story and harder for them to admit what they’ve fallen for.

Look at some of these comments, and you see the evidence of just what I’m talking about!

The law says a lot of things. I'm ok with short sellers losing their shirts regardless.

I also take the long view; Elon is instrumental to the long-term outcome for Tesla, our species, and our planet.

Because he made short sellers look like idiots? I think not. I just bought more.

SEC suing Elon Musk is , quite frankly one of the most abhorrent actions a US govt agency can ever do against genuine American Entrepreneurship and American innovative spirit. There is not a single human being on the planet who comes close to Elon Musk when it comes to big , bold innovation and tech entrepreneurship who is putting his heart and soul into leading the human race into the future.

you can’t disrupt or otherwise show up all of these players: the us/eu/russian/chinese space industries (and by extension the governments of china and russia), the oil industries of russia/saudi/usa, the major auto manufacturers, power companies, professional car and truck drivers, and the us dealership association (what am i forgetting), all of whom are politically very well connected, and some of whom have their hordes of paid shill internet commenters, and upvoting/downvoting bot nets (not that that would ever happen on hn (and if it would it’s against hn rules to suggest it)) and expect not to get trounced. elon might have fucked up by sending that tweet, but the response here, on reddit, and by the gov’t is way out of proportion, esp considering everything positive that this man has accomplished and is currently working on.

He didn’t screw anyone over. Wall street gamblers lost money, and our culture coddles Wall Street bros like helpless babies. Traders who lost money wouldn’t have had the stock to trade without Elon in the first place!

The entire world will lose if Elon is forced out. He’s the biggest fighter for climate change and space travel in modern history, greater than Al Gore in marketing and execution, greater than Buzz Aldrin, Tyson, and cosmos. I’d much rather have an honest relatable Elon Musk than a suit. I’d rather have creativity than suffocating structure.

The subtext is that Elon intentionally bumped the stock price to screw over short sellers like Jim Chanos. But the rationale behind 10b5 is to protect investors from fraud. Right, we are not concerned with protecting short-sellers who spend all day on twitter making up negative stories about their targets.

The battery and solar operations side of TSLA are critical to spaceX's mission to Mars. Can't have a martian colony without being able to harvest and store energy. Additionally the CV being done at Tesla could prove critical in automating prefabrication of living spaces and life support infrastructure. Can't be doing anything like that remote controlled with 8 min latency.

What a joke, there are plenty of scumbag and criminal leaders of corporations and this is the guy who doesn't walk. It'll be a sad day for the world if this guy goes to jail.

I know where Elon comes from, what missions and goals he has stated for years now, and what he is trying to accomplish. I promise you, Elon legitimately thought there would be an opportunity to go private again. He's said he wanted to do so in the past, and even has said they never wanted to go public, but were left with no choice. I don't think any part of Elon was trying to commit fraud or security manipulation. He made a mistake, we all do. He said something that should not have been said at that given point of time. I'm sure he was excited. He even said he typed that tweet in the car after leaving SpaceX.


Its hard to disagree with the comments.

Somethings are just not worth doing, regardless of whatever little virtue fight is at stake. Punish Musk and you handover the keys to the auto-industry kingdom to Germany and Japan on a platter.

You also risk scaring away, Musk like entrepreneurs to other countries. Emmanuel Macron wants to set up a SV competitor in France, and UK tops the world in quality universities. Germany too could put up a tough fight. Most of the world already has infrastructure to dethrone SVs dominance over creating high quality value and leadership. This is beyond countries like India and China having millions of super hungry entrepreneurs wanting to prove themselves.

Even if there is small chance of this happening, you risk losing trillions of dollars of future worth economy, talent, IP, ecosystem and culture to competing countries.

And all of this for what? A few overzealous prosecutors and short sellers on the market, all of whom are inconsequential and sometimes even a net negative to the economy.

In my country(India). Plenty of small to even large business people are known to indulge in blatant corrupt practices. Government does nothing because you rather have them at home, than compete with someone like them in a competing country.

Prosecuting Musk will make US Justice system win a tiny inconsequential virtue war, but it will be massive shooting in the foot at the country level.


> one of the most abhorrent actions a US govt agency can ever do against genuine American Entrepreneurship

This is because the current Administration is anti Silicon Valley and anti Clean Energy. It makes sense for them


No, I don't think all that negativism in the news about a company that is disrupting the automotive industry in less than 15 years, have a product that customers literally make lines to buy and they love it when they finally receive them are brought up by short sellers. I mean, who would not want a company like that to succeed? /sacarsm


In what way would that be catastrophic for the company?


If the stock falls below a certain price, they have to pay down debt. This is a requirement when you use stock as collateral.


From what I understand, and I'm sure I'm using the wrong terminology, they got loans to run the company using Tesla stock, and if the value dips below a certain amount, the loan terms say they need to be repaid with cash instead of stock.


>If the price dips too low, it's potentially catastrophic for the company and him.

Shorting a stock doesn't magically make its price drop.


More buys = higher price. More sells = lower price. Shorting is selling* . This is neither magic nor controversial.

* And buying back later of course. But in the meantime, does a short-sell look any different than a sell on the order book?


Every transaction has a buyer and a seller.

Shorting is selling? Selling to whom? Ah, right, a buyer.

Telsa share price has risen through extreme short interest for years. How?


> Shorting is selling? Selling to whom? Ah, right, a buyer.

A buyer who would otherwise have had to buy from a seller who wanted a higher price.

The stock price is really the value for which shares were most recently exchanged. If the price is $500, shares were exchanged for $500.

That isn't the same as what other people value the shares at, which is different for each person. The people who own shares value them at more than their market price (or they would sell) and the people who can afford but don't own shares value them less (or they would buy). Someone could own shares and value them at $600, so they wouldn't even sell at $550, meanwhile another owner values them at no more than $500.02, so they sell as soon as the price hits $500.02.

That's where the bid/ask spread comes from. The lowest seller values the shares at $500.02, the highest buyer values them at $499.98, so the seller keeps their shares and the buyer keeps their money, and the share price is still considered to be $500.00 because that's what the last actual sale went through as. To get another transaction either the seller or the buyer has to "cross the spread" and meet the other side's price and then the price goes up or down based on whether it was the buyer or the seller.

So what happens when someone makes a short sale? They borrow shares and cross the spread to sell for $499.98. Now the share price has gone down two cents. Moreover, the buyer willing to pay $499.98 now has their shares. The next highest bid is $499.97. If another short seller supplies that buyer with shares, the share price drops again and so does the bid price, because the previous high bid already has their shares. The more short sellers, the lower the sale price.

This is one of the reasons why short selling is frequently unprofitable. If you're not an early short seller, you're selling shares for $450 that all else equal would be worth $500 once the existing shorts close their positions, and at some point you have to buy them back. Which means to make money the company doesn't just have to lose value, it has to fail hard enough to prevent your profits from being erased by other shorts buying back shares to close their positions.

> Telsa share price has risen through extreme short interest for years. How?

If the share price would rise by $3 while short selling would cause it to decline by $1 then on net the price rises by $2, i.e. $1 less than it would have but still a positive value.


It doesn't sound like you understand how stock markets work.

A limit order doesn't necessarily get filled immediately, or at all.

If there is a lot more volume in sell orders than buy orders on the book, it is a buyer's market and price will go down. Inversely if there is more buy order volume, it is a seller's market, and price will go up.

I don't know if shorts have affected the price of Tesla significantly. This is really fact-specific and I didn't do the research. But the principle is sound.


In addition to causing a short squeeze, his tweet also swung the options prices unfavorably for the time-bound put holders.


Why do you say for SpaceX's sake? Would it not be great news for SpaceX that their CEO would be forced out of the other companies he's running, and thus almost has to focus most of his time on SpaceX?


When the sec bans you from running a company, you’re banned from running -any- company


> The SEC [..] will ask a judge to bar Musk from serving as an officer or director of a public company

Article says public company. SpaceX is private.


> So when Elon tweeted, a whole whack of shorts got stopped out

What means stopped out? The bank forcing the lender to give the stock back right at this point?


"Shorting" a stock means selling it without owning it, essentially owning negative stock. You're betting that it will go down, and then when it does go down, you close your position by buying the stock (to get back to zero shares).

The risk in doing this is unlimited. If you short a stock at $100, and then it goes to $500, you've lost $400.

Your broker doesn't want to take liability for your loss if you're not able to cover it. So your broker will forcibly close your position for you.

Even if your broker doesn't close your position, you might do it yourself to stop losing money.

When a lot of people do this all at once, it's called a "short squeeze" as everyone who was short buys shares to close their short positions. It can make the price go up.

I don't follow Tesla's stock price, but Musk getting on Twitter saying something that could make the stock price go up could (and perhaps did) cause a short squeeze.


My understanding is different:

Shorting a stock means borrowing it and paying a fee for borrowing it. Then selling the borrowed stock and hoping when you buy it back it's worth less. If the borrower doesn't want his stock back and the price is too high for you, then you simply don't buy and continue to pay the fee.

So if you borrow stock for $100, maybe each year you pay a $5 fee, and sell it for $100. Considering there wouldn't be any transaction fees you would now have $95. If the price now rises to $500, you don't buy but continue to pay the $5. So it means you are only $90 ahead instead of $95. But you are not in the minus.

This is actually a really good deal for both the borrower and the short seller, which is why I bet there are lots of rules forbidding that and banks not actually doing it if you don't borrow a certain minimum size of a few million $. I don't know that, though. In theory you and I could do that game as well, if it's not illegal.


If you have > $400 to cover the difference, then yes, you could keep on holding the stock at $500.

But most people don't 'leverage' like that. So they either get spooked and cut their losses (before the price goes on to $1000) or their broker steps in and basically says: "either you show us that $400 or we sell before your bad judgement becomes ours."


Many investors (long or short) place what are called stop orders to protect their positions from steep losses.

For a long investor, you might buy a stock at $100, watch it go up to $150 and enter a sell-stop order at $130. That stop order has no effect so long as the price stays above $130. When/if the stock drops to $130, the order becomes a market order to sell out, protecting from further losses.

For a short seller, they might place a buy-stop order (at a price higher than the current price) to protect from disastrous runaway price to the high side. Those stops could have been triggered by the run-up after Musk's tweet.


I think it's quite interesting that the SEC is obviously in the right, but it brings to question whether or not broadly, the SEC serves the public good.


Exactly. It’s called a stop loss. A spike in the wrong direction can be very costly to shorts.


SEC suing Elon Musk is , quite frankly one of the most abhorrent actions a US govt agency can ever do against genuine American Entrepreneurship and American innovative spirit. There is not a single human being on the planet who comes close to Elon Musk when it comes to big , bold innovation and tech entrepreneurship who is putting his heart and soul into leading the human race into the future.


I love the work that Musk has done. Everyone has to play by the same rules though. We cannot bend the law because someone has otherwise done amazing work.


So how many financial execs got punished for creating the 2008 financial crisis, the worst in our lifetimes (hopefully) , which brought the world to the brink ? https://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/finance/309544-why-ha...


What they did might have been morally appalling, but much harder to pin as breaking a law. What Elon did was a blatant and highly public violation of regulations


Obviously Elon’s mistake was not changing the laws to make his crime legal. Cf Goldman Sachs the great vampire squid.


Most of the root of the financial crisis was things that weren't illegal.

Poor lending standards and verification practices.

Financial institutions buying and selling complicated derivatives they should have understood but didn't.

Relying on ratings agencies to do a good job, when they didn't.

Relying on insurance that wasn't appropriately priced or capitalized to cover the risk.

There was some outright fraud in loan applications and foreclosures, which was prosecuted when there was sufficient evidence.

All of these stupid decisions and the resulting easy money distorted the housing market, and the results when it fell apart were painful, but bank execs don't have a legal duty to not engage in stupid endaevors or maintain the stability of our markets. On the other hand, officers of a public company do have a legal duty not to knowingly distribute misleading information about their company in order to manipulate the stock price.


Not an apples to apples comparison there, but even if it were; is your argument now that we should let Elon get away with breaking the law because others have gotten away with it in the past and you happen to respect Elon more than those people?


>genuine American Entrepreneurship [...] //

He's African isn't he?

Although why entrepreneurship needs a continental characteristic adding to it I'm not sure.

Perhaps you just meant "against entrepreneurship and innovative spirit in USA"?


Personally I don't Musk had a choice. If he didn't do what he did then very likely Tesla would be bankrupt by now because of its debt obligations + short sellers. The short sellers counted on it. The choices he faced were go bankrupt and lose company or do this risky move and hope SEC lets you go with slap on the wrist.


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