NYT On Tesla (TSLA) & Elon Musk: Hype & Arrogance Don’t Equal Success

The New York Times published a lengthy profile of Tesla Motors (TSLA) co-founder (should say disputed co-founder) Elon Musk on Sunday, highlighting the fact Mr. Musk is an excellent salesman and perhaps a bit too confident.  Call it borderline arrogance.  I suppose you don’t become a mega millionaire at a young age without at least a hint of those elements. 

The article peels away the glitter and the glam and cuts to the core, which is a company that remains far away from a smash success and one that continues to bleed red ink.  I’ve discussed this in the past and it’s the reason I believe it’s too soon to invest in the company for the longer haul.  The Model S was supposed to hit the streets next year, but is being pushed out to 2012 as sales of the Roadster have stalled.  All that being said, you can’t take away what Musk has accomplished and I couldn’t agree more with fellow PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel who said “the country needs more entrepreneurs like Mr. Musk who are willing to take risks.”  Musk has apparently dumped his entire PayPal fortune into Tesla, SpaceX and SolarCity.  I truly hope Tesla is a raging success, pushing the boundaries of what is possible.

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4 thoughts on “NYT On Tesla (TSLA) & Elon Musk: Hype & Arrogance Don’t Equal Success”

  1. If you truly hope the company is a raging success, why wouldn’t you invest in it? This is the problem with investors that only look in the short-term to make a quick buck. We need people to invest in ideas that will help fuel our future.

  2. Investing in hope is a sure fire way to lose big on an investment. I want to see better visibility on a long term investment and Tesla is about close to zero visibility

  3. I believe that in order for continued success in our economic markets, aggressive risky ventures need to be undertaken. I agree with you Tate, in that these companies are pushing the boundaries of what is possible (almost to the sci-fi level). If green technologies are truly going to be successful, then they need to commercially produce and be accepted as cool by the general public. Government aid will only take these technologies so far. I think Tesla, SpaceX, and Solar City provide ways for the public to embrace these technologies in a commercially beneficial way (as far as I can tell – the car isn’t exactly cheap but cool looking and I can’t tell how much the solar panels cost).

  4. Correct, they are not releasing the model-S until 2012, but you forgot to mention that they are delivering a fleet of electric Rav4’s to Toyota this year. They haven’t announced how much that fleet is worth, but it IS revenue. And depending on the success of the Rav4 Toyota may want to streamline production, meaning much more revenue.

    And let’s also mention Tesla’s long-term goal; to have a fully electric, long range car at every price point. Gutsy? Yes. Unrealistic? I don’t think so. With Toyota’s support, rather economies of scale, I believe they can reach this goal sooner than anyone expects. In a recent interview Musk stated he wants to have a model at half the price of the model-S by 2015. A fully electric car at <30K!! I think Tesla is the game-changing company this country needs.. now we just need to create the infrastructure to support this revolutionary technology.

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