back to article Tesla's chief accounting officer drives off after just a month on the job

Tesla's chief accounting officer (CAO), Dave Morton, has run for the hills after a matter of weeks at Elon Musk's electric car company. In a filing (PDF) to the US Securities and Exchange Comission (SEC), Tesla announced that Morton was to leave the building. For his part, Morton said: "Since I joined Tesla on August 6th, the …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Daft Man

    Tesla must be a snakepit right now with their make or break product having a torrid birth, but that should have been obvious to anyone joining at that level.

    It must be like working for the worlds biggest start up but without Hank Scorpio as a boss.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Daft Man

      Must be like working for Trump to be honest.

      All your plans are thrown into chaos trying to put out fires that your boss has started by posting something on twitter.

      1. LucreLout Silver badge

        Re: Daft Man

        Must be like working for Trump to be honest.

        I disagree. I'm pretty sure Elon Musk is an actual genius, rather than Trump, whom I suspect has too many flunkys that simply deadpan "genius" after every idea he's ever had, and he's started to believe it.

        I'll admit to talking my book in equity terms: My gambling money is in Tesla stocks. I've been down 10% and up as much as 30%, and I only placed a bet earlier in the year :-0 I'll either lose the lot, or make enough off it to buy my next car. Probably the former rather than the latter, but that's why it's in the pot marked "gambling" rather than "investment".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Mr Musk should retire

      Mr Musk looks burned-out and drug-addicted, it's time to say good-bye!

    3. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: Daft Man

      @AC

      +1 for the Hank Scorpio comment

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Daft Man

      I honestly think at this point it's either insanity, or an insane idea to drop stock price to buy back! :D

  2. NanoMeter

    Musk the weed smoker

    And Musk was caught on camera smoking weed. Everything is going wrong with Tesla at the moment.

    1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Musk the weed smoker

      Shock! Horror! Was he also listening to jazz and associating with Negroes?

      1. katgod

        Re: Musk the weed smoker

        Do you really want the CEO of your company smoking weed, dropping acid and taking ambien.

        I admit to not knowing if any of this is true but in this case where there is smoke there maybe other problems.

        If you don't care about the future of his companies then it should be fine. I am not sure why you want to equate this with Jazz and associating with Negroes, both of which shouldn't have any affect on you ability to manage.

        1. Frenchie Lad

          Re: Musk the weed smoker

          You should read a bit of Corbyn to understand the jazz part however Jeremy was speaking in the context of anti-semitisms when he used a phrase similar to "English irony".

        2. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Musk the weed smoker

          "Do you really want the CEO of your company smoking weed, dropping acid and taking ambien."

          Quite right, he should stick to more conventional CEO substances like cocaine, martinis, and expensive hookers.

          1. CentralCoasty

            Re: Musk the weed smoker

            Totally agree - after all, there are corporate standards we expect our CEO's to lower themselves to!

        3. LucreLout Silver badge

          Re: Musk the weed smoker

          Do you really want the CEO of your company smoking weed, dropping acid and taking ambien.

          In all honesty, I'm not sure I care. He's not a friend or family, and I can't even name most of the CEOs running businesses in whihc I have investments.

          Most of my investments are in indexes, thus no CEO makes up more than about 1% of my investment capital at any time. If (s)he nukes the firm, then it pretty much just bleeds into general market volatility.

          In terms of where I work - well, I make it my business, the defining strength of my career, to be able to attract another employer very quickly and on better terms, should my current employer blow up. It's the only real job security there is.

          So, yeah, I'm genuinely not sure I care.....

          On the flip side - I'm pretty sure he's amongst the most intelligent CEOs of the firms in which I hold investments, though looking at my Google stocks, intelligence isn't winning the race just now (AMZ are hammering GOOG, as are MSFT - I basically bet big on the cloud for my direct investments - it's not ideology, its cashing in, there's a difference).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Musk the weed smoker

        It isn't the weed. It is the fact his is starting to hide in drugs to escape reality. When I say drugs it could be weed, alcohol or other drugs. There is a difference between doing something to relax and doing something to hide from reality. I have seen the difference too many times.

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Musk the weed smoker

          RT makes an interesting point-

          As a government contractor for the United States Air Force and NASA, SpaceX is subject to the Drug-Free Workplace Act, which requires firms in receipt of federal money to maintain a drug-free policy.

          So Californian legality vs Federal illegality, and what happens with off-site/off-duty transgressions.

        2. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

          Re: Musk the weed smoker

          Thanks for your personal insights on hiding, anonymous coward.

          It has occurred to me that Musks's recent history of being a bit of a bell-end would be an excellent way to depress the stock price prior to a buy back. Although the more likely explanation is that he is, in fact, just a bell-end.

        3. BananaPeal

          Re: Musk the weed smoker

          are you genuinely saying that recording a show where the guest invites you to have a puff of weed is "hiding in drugs?"

          do you have any sense of proportionality?

          have you seen how many alcoholics are on the colbert late show? they have a drink almost every night! how ever do those degenerates make it back to their mansions??!

  3. Rupert Fiennes Bronze badge

    Worrying

    It's like the old days when they couldn't find a permanent CFO for love or money. The assumption is that the situation is so serious that finance people start worrying that working there might cause them professional grief if they tell any whoppers to investors or auditors....

    1. MiguelC Silver badge

      Re: Worrying

      It's worse that career limiting, as a CFO (or CAO in this instance) you can be personally held responsible for any financial misstatements. That can be "freedom limiting"...

  4. Joe Harrison Silver badge

    Who knew they make roof tiles

    https://www.tesla.com/en_GB/solarroof

    Looks good to me

    1. steelpillow Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Who knew they make roof tiles

      It's to protect them from all the **** raining down on them all the time.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Who knew they make roof tiles

      I've wanted a product like that for years, but it appears they don't actually make them, yet. Pay us £800 and you can reserve your interest in them

    3. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Who knew they make roof tiles

      Why bother though? I've got £2000 worth of roof tiles that dont get wet because they've got PV mounted over them. Why not just stick PV up instead of tiles - it would be a lot quicker and save a lot of (possibly literal) debugging when shit gets in the tile contacts!

      1. Duffy Moon

        Re: Who knew they make roof tiles

        Because solar panels on domestic roofs look terrible.

        I saw the Tesla tiles a while ago and thought it was a great idea - although not a new idea. I think an Australian (?) company already makes something similar. Unfortunately, the installation cost would not make financial sense for me. We use about £1.80-worth per day, so it would take many years to offset the cost.

    4. Ledswinger Silver badge

      Re: Who knew they make roof tiles

      Who knew they make roof tiles

      Anybody who noticed the $2.6bn Tesla/Solar City merger a couple of years back?

      But that's another fine example of Musk's enthusiasm running ahead of him. Tesla cars, the Powerwall battery, Solar City PV, Space X, Hyperloop, tunnel boring, even domestic flamethrowers.....all interesting ideas, but with the exception of Paypal he doesn't seem able to walk away from the things he starts.

      There's a whole lot of Musk brains, but effectively they've been spread far too thin because he starts yet another visionary/madcap idea long before the last one has been completed or closed off, and although he's not a "completer finisher", he evidently can't hand off the things he starts to people who do have delivery and completer finisher skills.

      We should celebrate Musk's achievements and energy, and that fact that he's one of a very few celebrity technologists. I hope he'll be with us for many decades yet, because it'll be a long time before we see somebody with this combination of vision, energy, wealth and intellect. Elon Musk, the I.K.Brunel of today.

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: Who knew they make roof tiles

        Elon Musk, the I.K.Brunel of today

        Brunel's genius was as an engineer and manager, and Musk ain't no engineer. He's probably better compared to Steve Jobs.

  5. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    I am pretty sure that however Elon Musk ends up, it will make Howard Hughes' final years seem sane and rational.

    1. TaabuTheCat

      Howard Hughes

      The sad part of watching this is we desperately need people like Hughes and Musk - entrepreneurs with an engineering mindset willing to THINK BIG and take HUGE risks. There simply aren't many people willing to roll the dice and suffer the humiliation if it all goes sideways, and that's a shame. I truly hope this is just a temporary setback for Musk, and once he gets some sleep things will be better. The world will be a lot duller without Musk and his dreams.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Howard Hughes, Tony Stark, Wizard of Oz..

        The sad part of watching this is we desperately need people like Hughes and Musk - entrepreneurs with an engineering mindset willing to THINK BIG and take HUGE risks.

        I'm not convinced Musk really has an engineering mindset. Sales, yes. Slick presentations, crowd pleasing, $30k affordable EV... Which turns into a $55k+ EV, but oh look! Electric semis and Teslas in Spaace!

        Meanwhile, back on planet Earth and behind the curtains, concerns are building about just how many laptop batteries can be crammed into a chassis inside a tent. The basics of mass-producing affordable and reliable cars are proving challenging. For Tesla anyway, Nissan & Chevy are managing, more manufacturers are competing at the high and low ends. Tesla's losing execs, it's chief exec is acting strangely and has also borrowed heavily against his stock. Hello, margin calling..

        And that's not including the bigger picture. A bit over 100 years ago, the world looked at electric vs petrol cars (ok, and a few steam). Petrol won on account of the energy density and ease of moving fuel around.. Which is a problem that still hasn't been solved. Lots of EVs means more electricty needed to keep those motors purring.. And someone has to pay for that, which means electricity bills increasing.

        So Tesla thought big. Solar panels, Electric cars, slight snag with night time but buy a Powerwall or 3.. And don't look at the acreage of solar roof tiles needed to fill up 1x100kWh battery. So a few risks, but Tesla's borrowed big and had US state and federal subsidies.. So not risked much of it's own money.

        1. Ledswinger Silver badge

          Re: Howard Hughes, Tony Stark, Wizard of Oz..

          I'm not convinced Musk really has an engineering mindset.

          When you've got a rocket into space and landed it vertically back on platform on this planet I'll accept that you are qualified to cast engineering aspersions. Although I still won't agree.

          If you want to cast some commercial aspersions, yes, the floor is yours, and I'll back you. But the man is a genius. I've worked with some very successful people, and I can say from experience that talent is rarely, and probably never unflawed, so I'll forgive Mr Musk every single one of his downsides.

          One of the main challenges of being a genius is overreach, because being talented and driven is never associated with common sense. As Mr Musk is finding out. I really hope he comes through this, because common sense may be rare, but bloody minded talented inspiration is even rarer.

          1. sabroni Silver badge

            Re: I'll forgive Mr Musk every single one of his downsides.

            How would you feel if he'd repeatedly called you a "pedo" on twitter?

            1. LucreLout Silver badge

              Re: I'll forgive Mr Musk every single one of his downsides.

              How would you feel if he'd repeatedly called you a "pedo" on twitter?

              I wish he would. Since it'd be completely untrue, I'd have zero concerns about suing him for millions or more. I'd have a lawyer working up the papers before he'd put down his phone.

          2. Spazturtle Silver badge

            Re: Howard Hughes, Tony Stark, Wizard of Oz..

            But Musk hasn't gotten a rocket into space and landed it either. His engineers and scientists did that.

            1. BananaPeal

              Re: Howard Hughes, Tony Stark, Wizard of Oz..

              nobody told all the other engineers working in the industry the past 50 years to do this though. probably never would have. probably just stuck on old ever more expensive rockets.

              NOW that spacex exists ULA is re-hashing the 1960s idea of catching the engines with a helicopter. they had the idea on the shelf 70 years. lol. gtfo with ur elon bashing and read a history.

        2. LucreLout Silver badge

          Re: Howard Hughes, Tony Stark, Wizard of Oz..

          So Tesla thought big. Solar panels, Electric cars, slight snag with night time but buy a Powerwall or 3.. And don't look at the acreage of solar roof tiles needed to fill up 1x100kWh battery. So a few risks, but Tesla's borrowed big and had US state and federal subsidies.. So not risked much of it's own money.

          On the one hand, I agree. On the other, all that roof space all over the world is literally going to waste in energy terms. Using it for solar farming seems like a sensible idea - and when there's no adverse aesthetic considerations, it seems like a win-win.

          I'm not suggesting that everyone run out and go electric (I need someone to eat the depreciation on a nice big V8 I have my eye on), merely that if you believe in AGW, or even if you just dislike inefficiency, then there seems to be a use case for Musk's work.

          He has the money, the marketing skills, and the balls to try his seemingly crazy ideas, and with his level of intelligence, some of them are bound to end up benefiting humanity. The rest will merely keep us entertained.

      2. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Howard Hughes

        Musk thinks too big though - he just jumps on ideas without really thinking them through. I dont think he's an engineer as such - more a hacker.

  6. Ledswinger Silver badge

    The end of the beginning

    ...and also the beginning of the end.

    Looks like Musk is in burn-out, and that the people around him can't stand it. The product is strong, and the vision is excellent, but the commercials are unsustainable. So my guess is that under the rapidly increasing investor pressure for corporate change, Musk becomes a troublesome non-executive chairman (or worse still co-chief executive), and the Wall Street suits appoint their choices of corporate bread-heads to try and run the operations. Then the breadheads end up at war with Musk (even as non-exec) because they have no vision or ambition, added to which they will want to play a short term cash game, so cane the business for costs, reduce the losses....and then sell the company to whichever gobal car company is rich enough to buy the brand and the IP.

    In many ways this is how it often ends for visionaries and entrepreneurs - what's different is that Musk has had the cash, the vision and the energy to get much further along with his well conceived but difficult to implement plan, and he's produced some stonking products. Arguably Tesla was about five years too early into the market, and made the mistake of not partnering with a firm who knew the industry, had strong engineering credentials, but were small enough and malleable enough to be transformed. As a result, many lessons everybody else in the motor industry has known for years have had to be painfully and expensively learned. Now (like its boss) Tesla Corporation is suffering from over-reach and exhaustion.

    All credit to the man - Musk has done more for car making in the last ten years than all other car markers have done in the past quarter century, if not longer. But I've said before, I can't see Tesla remaining a large, financially viable and independent car maker by 2030.

    When the one man pushing it along is on radio talk shows swigging whisky and smoking a joint, and getting embroiled from behind his desk in Twitter wars with people who've risked their lives to go and save others on the far side of the world, I have to conclude he's lost it. I suppose Musk's problem is about delegation, about appointing capable people, giving them the freedom to deliver his vision, and holding them to account without interfering in how they do their job and the decisions they make.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: The end of the beginning

      What you say is very rational.

      However, I'd love to see the reactions of the Teslerati if you posted this on a very pro-Tesla site such as

      Electrek.com.

      They'd probably want to have your guts for garters if they could.

      But honestly, smoking dope like that. How bad is that for PR in the immensely puritanical USA.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: The end of the beginning

        But honestly, smoking dope like that. How bad is that for PR in the immensely puritanical USA.

        But he's Tony Stark. Hip, Happening and Edgy! And as CEO of the largest car company in the world (by valuation), he's able to take a break from his 120+ hour weeks, pan-handling for $70bn+ to take Tesla private etc... To appear on a comedy show. And smoke a blunt.

        So that may appeal to Tesla's target audience, ie people with more money than sense that think Tesla's are environmentally friendly! Hello, Mukondo Mine.. But that's out of sight, out of mind to the average Californian. Tesla's bigger problem is probably with tyranical analysts who might wonder why the CEO can take time out for comedy, but not answering questions on their analyst call.

    2. keithpeter
      Childcatcher

      Re: The end of the beginning

      ...I can't see Tesla remaining a large, financially viable and independent car maker by 2030.

      Sell the company to a car maker then, and focus on Spacex?

      Small number of technically sophisticated customers, history of extreme innovation and novel solutions in the business so more acceptance of ideas, plenty of problems to solve.

      Might even get a holiday.

    3. Mage Silver badge

      Re: The product is strong, and the vision is excellent

      Really?

      It's a niche product subsidised by less tax than regular car fuels. That's not sustainable in the long term. Electric cars are over 100 years old.

      The traditional car makers tinkered with Lithium battery powered cars before Tesla. If there is a decent market they will promote the Electric and Hybrid cars THEY ALREADY MAKE, more. Both commodity market and niche deluxe versions.

      Tesla can't compete with GM, Nissan, VW, Ford, Fiat/Chrysler, Toyota etc.

      He's tried to be more profitable by vertical integration (making his own batteries). Except the more he sells, the bigger his losses get, despite being essentially a subsidized product. About 67% of fuel here is Government tax. Governments are planning on how they will tax Electric cars if the fuel burning ones are gone.

      His car company has no future.

      1. Ledswinger Silver badge

        Re: The product is strong, and the vision is excellent

        It's a niche product subsidised by less tax than regular car fuels. That's not sustainable in the long term. Electric cars are over 100 years old.

        Cards on the table: I don't agree with the widely accepted carbon dioxide = climate change hypothesis (and having studied the subject to first degree level, I think I'm more entitled to have a view than the PPE and geography graduates). But regardless of that, the PPE graduates and climate change religionists have won the argument. Countries are falling over each other to promise ever more emissions cuts. And in their rabid anti-carbon thinking, they conflate zero emissions at point of use with zero emissions full stop.

        All of which means one thing: If you agree with the "climate change=carbon dioxide" camp, or if you don't but are realistic enough to accept that all established energy policies are driven by this belief, then electric cars are somewhere between all of the future, and a whole lot of the future.

        Musk (and colleagues) saw this and responded. They were right, but their timing and approach were wrong. I'll wager that by 2030, NOBODY in developed world markets (and some more advanced "emerging markets") will be buying petrol or diesel cars. As much as anything, as soon as the car industry saw the policy direction, it became a self fulfilling prophecy, because the industry works on huge, long term investment cycles, and now they are investing minimal amounts in ICE tech, and focusing on an EV future, with tiny, tiny side bets on crap like hydrogen.

        Governments are planning on how they will tax Electric cars if the fuel burning ones are gone.

        I agree, they certainly are. But you and I won't have much option. Government are fighting valiantly to save us from climate change, and you and I can pay all of the costs whether we concur or not. So our cheapest electricity in the UK (baseload) they've signed contracts to double the cost of with their nuclear programme. They've announced plans to ban new sales of ICE cars by 2040. And long before then the car makers will have discontinued ICE car sales.

        1. Chris 3

          Re: The product is strong, and the vision is excellent

          OK, I'll bite. Do you not believe that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, or do you not believe that human activity has changed the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere?

          Or do you not believe either?

          1. Ledswinger Silver badge

            Re: The product is strong, and the vision is excellent

            OK, I'll bite. Do you not believe that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, or do you not believe that human activity has changed the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere?...Or do you not believe either?

            Thanks for the polite interest, but the detail of my views in this context aren't relevant, the reason for stating that was that I wanted to be clear that I wasn't pushing an agenda associated with the direction of most government policy because I didn't want to undermine my own argument.

            I don't actually rule out the CO2=climate change argument. But the evidence is not as clear cut as many believe, and anybody who's done any climate modelling really ought to know that, not to put too fine a point on the matter, climate models are crap. There's impressive correlation, but a 100,000 year correlation of toothpaste consumption and measured global temperatures would probably have a better r squared.

        2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          @Ledswinger

          "by 2030, NOBODY in developed world markets (and some more advanced "emerging markets") will be buying petrol or diesel cars"

          That the UK government announces plans is hardly significant. They plan to have a working border system in time for Brexit, but there isn't a soul who thinks that's actually going to happen.

          I concur that ICE vehicles are on the outgoing path, but 2030 is way to early to replace all the gas stations with electric chargers, not to mention have the electrical power production in place to ensure that the rolling guzzlers will all be recharged without fuss or incident.

          I would think 2080 a more realistic tipover point.

          And I still haven't read about how ecological all those batteries will be.

      2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: The product is strong, and the vision is excellent

        Mage observed, "About 67% of fuel here is Government tax."

        So, the maybe $12 recharge would ultimately cost about $36.

        Still compares well to $80-ish.

        YMMV.

        Point being, even a tripling of the recharge cost is not really a show stopper.

        1. Warm Braw Silver badge

          Re: The product is strong, and the vision is excellent

          Still compares well to $80-ish

          67% of $80 is around $54 and is the amount of current tax that needs to be replaced. Add that to your $12 recharge and you get $66, not $36...

          1. LucreLout Silver badge

            Re: The product is strong, and the vision is excellent

            67% of $80 is around $54 and is the amount of current tax that needs to be replaced. Add that to your $12 recharge and you get $66, not $36...

            My roof space can't safely produce petrol while I'm at work, but it can produce electrickery. Unless you tax domestic power at the same rate as road fuel, then its a non-starter.

            Tax on vehicles is all but finished, absent tracking where & when they move and charging for that. Obviously, there might be one or two privacy concerns there, not to mention the idea of the government installing the ability to tell the vehicle not to move (something they can't currently do).

            1. John Dawson

              Re: The product is strong, and the vision is excellent

              For the record my Tesla Model S costs about 2.4p per mile to run using overnight economy 7 electricity; I have calculated that you can charge about 10M vehicles this way in the UK before the grid reaches capacity. About half my car's electricity comes (indirectly of course) from the modest solar array on my roof. That will take us perhaps 10 years forward giving time to work out improvements in electricity generation, storage and distribution.

              Taxing vehicle usage is another matter entirely but it clearly has to change and that may alter my present economic model :-(

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The battery is flat, the CEO is stoned and Tesla came bottom of the What Car reliability ratings.

    Thankfully I don't own any Tesla shares.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: What Car survey

      The sample size was totally unrepresentative when compared to the number of cars sold.

      Statistically, it was wrong.

      I'm not the biggest fan of Tesla but this is just jumping on the 'Tesla is doomed bandwagon'

      1. Ledswinger Silver badge

        Re: RE: What Car survey

        The sample size was totally unrepresentative when compared to the number of cars sold.

        Maybe, but its backed up by Which, JD Power, Consumer Reports.

        Tesla have server logistics and manufacture problems because they chose to reinvent the wheel, and then they ladled a further helping of crapness on top by deciding to manufacture in the US.

        Don't get me wrong, the design brief of the product is superb, but the build quality is shocking compared to similarly priced cars from companies with a lot more experience.

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: RE: What Car survey

          It's also interesting watching Tesla's being torn down on YouTube. Theory went that the EV would be simpler and cheaper to manufacture and service.. But looking at how they're assembled, they're anything but. Motor and transmission are probably larger & heavier than a modest ICE, and then there's the batteries. Even things like the door handles seem needlessly complicated, and I'm not entirely convinced there's much of an aerodynamic benefit. But then the car industry's always managed to sell big wings to drivers who may feel inadequate in other areas.

        2. LucreLout Silver badge

          Re: RE: What Car survey

          Don't get me wrong, the design brief of the product is superb, but the build quality is shocking compared to similarly priced cars from companies with a lot more experience.

          I've not read the surveys, but I expect you're right. When you rush tings, quality is the first casualty.

          That being said, scalaing upa new product offering isn't the most difficult challenge in business (everyone from Apple to Cisco has done this before), so Tesla should be able to sort this out as things progress.

          Assuming of course, they don't run out of money first.

          (I have a small bet on Tesla but I'm pretty sure that it's not influencing my thinking here)

  8. DrRobert

    There's no need to wonder where the musky smell is coming from at Tesla.

    Sell Tesla buy, anything.

  9. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    Pace

    The pace of the work, or the pace at which the company goes through money?

    It has never occurred to me to hang up boots. If the ex-HR person was exposed to company publicity, I hope she cleaned them well before hanging them up.

    1. Def Silver badge

      Re: Pace

      It sounded to me like a over-paid exec discovered that he was expected to do some real work for a change.

      1. DropBear Silver badge

        Re: Pace

        I rather suspect he discovered his job would have required him to be a bit more, uh, creative with money than he would have felt comfortable being.

  10. msage
    Mushroom

    Wonder if Tesla will do an 80's Apple style meltdown... On the plus side arguably it saved the company and made it what it is now.

    I wonder if they can tempt John Sculley out of retirement :)

    1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      @msage - Apple was a profitable company back then unlike Tesla. I do not remember Tesla ever making a quarterly or annual profit nor coming close to meeting production goals. Apple was doing both in the throughout most of its history. Apple did have a near death experience and survived. Tesla reminds me of many of the late 90s DotCom bubble companies with an interesting product but no clue as to how to make a profit to survive. They eventually burned through the VC cash and burned spectacularly.

      Another key difference is Apple was one the early companies in the PC market when PCs were emerging as useful devices around the home and office. Thus they had a chance to evolve with the market. Tesla is a late entry into a very mature market of cars and trucks. There are numerous well established companies who have been making cars for decades if not over a century. They know how to make a car. Other than the power plant there is nothing 'novel' about a Tesla. Even its 'novelty' is not new; electric cars have been manufactured since the 1890s with varying degrees of success and profitability. So there is nothing stopping say Ford or Toyota from making an all electric car and trying to sell it. Plus they can afford to have a few years of lack luster sales with minimal profits for an electric vehicle as the infrastructure supporting them improves. They also have the facilities to ramp up production rather quickly if consumer demand shifts.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Get off the man's arse...

    So he smokes weed. Doesn't surprise me, and it makes no more difference then if it was just Tobacco.

    Get over your Taboos and ditch the brainwashing from the Reagan era. Weed isn't your enemy.

    Methamphetamine, Crack/Cocaine,Synthetics, and Opiates are the real drugs you need to be concerned about.

    1. onefang Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Get off the man's arse...

      "So he smokes weed. Doesn't surprise me, and it makes no more difference then if it was just Tobacco."

      The thing that disappointed me was the tobacco content of the joint. Mixing a perfectly good drug with the horror that is 'baccy, the man should be ashamed. I did see this coming when he was talking about going private for $420 a share.

  12. DougS Silver badge

    All this, with real competition finally on the horizon

    Mercedes Benz just announced their intention to spend $12 billion over the next several years to create a whole line of electric cars. No doubt the other big automakers are not far behind on such plans. They have simply been biding their time until electric cars were ready for the mass market - and they want them as a base for future autonomous vehicles (I doubt we will ever see a non-electric level 5 autonomous car)

    Now Tesla is going to have to really compete, and with all the chaos happening there they are not in a position to stand against Mercedes, let alone the rest of the big players once they get involved. At the rate they're going, they may not still exist five years from now.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: All this, with real competition finally on the horizon

      > Mercedes Benz just announced their intention to spend $12 billion

      Which makes Musk ecstatically happy, as that's one of his prime goals. To get EVERYONE making EVs, not just Tesla, and hopefully cut down on ICE production. As far as he's concerned, the more, the merrier.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: All this, with real competition finally on the horizon

      We're starting to see the groundwork being laid for this. Some manufacturers are starting to build cars with "fly by wire" tech in them. The prediction is that as the market gets used to these and new enhancements are made in the near future, autonomous cars, electric powered, will be brought out.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: All this, with real competition finally on the horizon

      A major issue with Tesla is that they're fundamentally an American car.

      As opposed to being, for example, a German car.

  13. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Musk did get one thing right

    Asked about the wisdom of smoking marijuana while he is under investigation by the SEC for the “take private” tweet, Musk told the Guardian by email: “Guardian is the most insufferable newspaper on planet Earth”.

    ref: The Guardian

    (Personally, considering its tiny circulation, I'm surprised he had heard of it)

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: Musk did get one thing right

      I used to read The Guardian till I realised you needed an income over £150k a year for it to be worth the effort. Musk has probably heard of it because its readership is the most likely in the UK to buy one of his expensive cars.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Musk did get one thing right

      It's something like the 4th or 5th most read English language newspaper website. The circulation of the paper version is essentially irrelevant compared to the huge international readership online

    3. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: Musk did get one thing right

      The Guardian certainly has an insufferable side to it, particularly some of the columnists, but it is still one of the most trustworthy newspapers out there. Not least because it isn't controlled by tax dodging newspaper proprietors so it has a tendency to be more independent and free about what it reports.

      1. ChrisPv

        Re: Musk did get one thing right

        This is what I thought, until I had opportunity to observe their “see no jihadist, hear no jihadist” attitude to Syrian civil war reporting.

        Since then I have them marked as “CIA front” or “Saudi money” or maybe both.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Musk did get one thing right

        This is what I thought, until I had opportunity to observe their “see no jihadist, hear no jihadist” attitude to Syrian civil war reporting.

        Since then I have them marked as “CIA front” or “Saudi money” or maybe both.

        1. onefang Silver badge

          Re: Musk did get one thing right

          I'm guessing you just outed yourself AC. Quick, delete the original, before anyone else notices.

      3. LucreLout Silver badge

        Re: Musk did get one thing right

        The Guardian certainly has an insufferable side to it, particularly some of the columnists, but it is still one of the most trustworthy newspapers out there.

        Ya think?

        https://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/11/27/guardian_use_me_as_a_mouthpiece/

        Not least because it isn't controlled by tax dodging newspaper proprietors

        Ya think?

        https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2016/04/will-the-guardian-now-investigate-its-own-tax-arrangements/

        https://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2013/06/28/the-insufferable-hypocrisy-of-the-guardian-on-corporation-tax/#39accd4a5969

        https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/guardian-media-firm-makes-186m-but-pays-only-200000-tax-8675818.html

        LucreLouts law: Facts may be used to form opinions, however the inverse is not true.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tough times

    It's got to be tough for Tesla's board and everyone else at Tesla to deal with the eccentric behavior of Musk. Now that the SEC has subpoenaed both the board and Musk for the untrue twitter post that Musk had secured financing to take the company public, the melt down continues with Musk smoking weed on live TV. Tesla stock is dropping like a rock. A class action stock holders lawsuit was also announced today against Tesla and Musk for the apparent intent to burn short sellers with the twitter post that has proven untrue.

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: Tough times

      Musk is also about to be sued by Vernon Unsworth in three countries. Calling a 40 year old Thai woman a "12 year old child bride" could just possibly come back to bite him. Especially in a country where aggravated libel can result in a prison sentence (Thailand). Not that he's likely to be going there.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Tough times

        While Tesla was already on shaky ground, and the Boring company / Hyperloop will never get off the ground, SpaceX is doing great things. I hope the board of SpaceX has a plan in place for how to continue operations should he continue further on his descent into Trump-ness.

        1. IceC0ld Bronze badge

          Re: Tough times

          While Tesla was already on shaky ground, and the Boring company / Hyperloop will never get off the ground

          ======

          not to be TOO pedantic, but those company parts aren't supposed to get off the ground :o)

      2. katgod

        Re: Tough times

        Don't put it past the man to get stoned and book a flight to Thailand so he can punch Vernon in the face. This is a man that never took Clint E. advice, "a man has got to know his limitations".

      3. FlamingDeath Bronze badge

        Re: Tough times

        To be fair, Thailand is a magnet for paedos, and just because he has a wife, it doesn't mean he isn't a paedo

        Hopefully a PI is looking into this

        Sometimes people just give you the creeps, and I suspect this guy gave Elon the creeps.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No way to behave

    I once had respect for Elon Musk, but due to his recent behavior that respect is now for the engineers and staff that put in the work to produce the Tesla and SpaceX products.

    He seems to have lost it and his judgement is now poor. He doesnt seem to know when to keep his mouth shut.

    My first electric car wont be a Tesla due to Elon Musk being a jerk.

    1. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: No way to behave

      ...or you could just grow up, learn to separate someone's achievements from their personality and realise that most people with a strong enough personality to see extraordinary things get done repeatedly tend to also not be particularly pleasant people for the exact same reason. Not that any of that would require you to like the man, and what car you buy and why is absolutely up to you, but a bit of perspective is badly needed.

      1. gregthecanuck

        Re: No way to behave

        Exactly. Steve Jobs was a dick.

  16. StuntMisanthrope Bronze badge

    Exhibit 3. Rockets.

    The guy burns virtually anyone else, no doubt on productivity and output regardless. Yes, it's boring on some levels, the share-holder block on it's own, is a bit silly. But smoking a joint, it's the end of days.

    Not sure what parties you're going to, but you wouldn't get a reply, even if you offered to post the cheque. #whatstheshopfellacalledmightneedabitofteamwork #x.com

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Buy back just got cheaper

    If he really is interested in buying back the company, knocking a few billion off its market cap can’t harm. Much more sensible than his initial plan of completely unnecessarily broadcasting a wildly inflated offer, driving the share price even further from what he could feasibly afford.

  18. Gordon861

    So he smoked a joint ... so what.

    It's legal, would there have been all this shit if he'd been sitting there with a beer or spirits?

    1. Spazturtle Silver badge

      It's not legal though, it is a federal crime, it is just that California has no state level laws against it. It is also a violation of his security clearance.

  19. JJKing Bronze badge
    Flame

    Shorting stock rewards the slime of the world.

    Congratulations to all those brave Anonymous Cowards sticking their oar in the water deriding Musk and projecting their personal, honest anonymous opinions. If he hadn't started this electric care craze then we would still be stuck with the yuppie Toyota Hybrids and the oil companies would still be destroying the environment in an attempt to further their obscene profits and keep polluting the atmosphere for generations to come. Like the tobacco companies hiding the results of effects of their poisoness product, oil companies have done the same plus they have acquired any possible alternative to the ICE (and I am not talking about those water engines of yester year).

    Yes I believe Musk is losing the plot and the stress of Tesla cars is likely the cause. If the manufacturing had gone as envisioned then things would likely be totally different. They only have to get out of their "manufacturing hell" and things will turn around and quickly.

    Also, until the company actually goes bankrupt, NOBODY has lost money on their shares. They still own the same number it is just they have a lesser or perhaps in a few weeks, greater value. It is only when you sell them at the lesser price do you then lose money, assuming you bought high and sold low. 1929 was caused by the panic of greedy people selling at a lower price. I like the Warren Buffett quote. When people are greedy be fearful. When people are fearful be greedy. Here is seems the greedy want Tesla to fail so they can make a quick buck. It is disgusting to bet against a company failing to make money where thousands can lose jobs, communities die rather than try and help to build something better where everyone prospers and not just the 1% or the arseholes in wall street.

    1. LucreLout Silver badge

      Re: Shorting stock rewards the slime of the world.

      Also, until the company actually goes bankrupt, NOBODY has lost money on their shares.

      Sorry, but you're wrong. The mid-price for my shares is less than the value at which I acquired them, thus I have lost money on my Tesla shares. I may yet regain it, or I may lose further money still, but economically, for real, I have lost money. Why is everyone so afraid of admitting that?

      They still own the same number it is just they have a lesser or perhaps in a few weeks, greater value.

      Ok, so you seem to understand very basic market mechanics but apparently miss the significance of this in relation to your earlier point. Losing money on shares is multiplied by the quantity held, no mitigated by it.

      I like the Warren Buffett quote. When people are greedy be fearful. When people are fearful be greedy.

      You're seriously going to quote the Sage of Omaha, after just positing that nobody has lost money on a share that has lost market price? Really?

      It is disgusting to bet against a company failing to make money where thousands can lose jobs, communities die

      I'm not suggesting that Tesla is a zombie company (yet), but shorting is one of the things that helps zombie companies die out, which free's up the capital and staff for more productive use elsewhere. It's a core tennet of capitalism.

      Why do I feel like I'm talking to a socialist who thinks they're a capitalist?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Shorting stock rewards the slime of the world.

      You seem to not understand short selling...

      Short sellers actually purchase shares of a company so in reality they are providing funds for operation of said company. What they are betting on is the reality that a poorly managed company will in the end see a price drop in their share price. The short sellers have no influence on the day-to-day operations of the business.

      Musk has bet the farm on the model 3 making Tesla profitable for the first time in history. Unfortunately his poor execution of model 3 production has failed to deliver the 5,000 weekly model 3 units required by Dec. 2017. With Tesla burning thru billions in cash per quarter their meager cash reserves are ready to run out. Tesla continues to state they will be profitable in Q3 that's now or in Q4 that's next month. Poor management is not a result of short sellers. Tesla has in fact cut labor in an effort to shore up cash. They even begged certain suppliers to refund them money paid for previous parts supplied. No properly run Biz acts like this. Betting on Tesla is risky business and it could all turn to tears for everyone except Musk. That will be all on Musk's shoulders and no one else's.

  20. FlamingDeath Bronze badge

    I found the 2hr+ podcast far more interesting than the brief toke on the spliff

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It could only mean one thing..

    .. this happened to my (vastly smaller) dot com biz in the mid-2000's... my CFO left the company just when things looked desperate: a) he can see the numbers and b) financial types are risk averse.. so looks like TESLA is not out of the woods yet.. things will probably get worse for TESLA before it gets better.

  22. Noonoot

    Seriously?

    Why hasn't anyone written that he's a twat yet because that's what he is? Sorry, but you can have all the money in the world and think you have a good business, but when you are a twat, that's what you are.

  23. DrXym Silver badge

    Musk's worst enemy

    Is himself. There is no doubting he is a visionary and he has pushed his businesses further than anyone else would dare.

    At the same time even a visionary needs a filter to stop the stupid from bubbling up to the top. On top of that he is clearly overworking himself and the pressure / ambien means the stupid has joined forces with impetuous and nasty. It's just one bad news story after another and the stock has taken a massive hit.

    It's probably why Tesla announced a bunch of promotions on Friday. Hopefully it's the company stepping up (or intervening) to relieve Musk of some of his duties and hopefully impose some normality on their business. Musk is fine as a figure head and a visonary but he needs to step back and allow some of his subordinates to do what they're there to do.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Elon Musk trying too hard to be John McAfee

    1. LucreLout Silver badge

      Elon Musk trying too hard to be John McAfee

      I fucking love John McAfee. There, I said it. He's just the gift that keeps on giving - and endless parade of low-brow fun and shennaigans, from someone too smart to believe his own words.

  25. Potemkine! Silver badge

    What the fuss about Musk smoking a joint ? Are business people shocked because he doesn't sniff cocaine as they do?

  26. CentralCoasty
    FAIL

    Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells.....

    My faith in the Reg readership is gone....

    ..... not one comment about the CEO of SpaceX being spaced!

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