Tesla and the Cult of Elon Musk. Are We Seeing a Bursting Bubble in Tech? | Mark Spiegel

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In this week’s episode of Hidden Forces, Demetri speaks with Mark Spiegel, Managing Member & Portfolio Manager of Stanphyl Capital Partners, a New York-based equity investor who has been publicly short Tesla since 2013. Mark has also been openly critical of the company’s CEO, Elon Musk, whom he believes is committing securities fraud by misleading investors about the capabilities of Tesla’s present and future products and financial prospects.

In our most recent episode with Charley Grant of the Wall Street Journal, we discussed the state of Tesla’s financials and the overall health of the company’s business, which seems increasingly dire. The Tesla story also sits at the intersection of a number of powerful forces that we have covered on this program: the ready availability of cheap financing, the growing wealth and income gap, and the preponderance of technology in the popular culture. In this sense, Tesla is about more than just electric vehicles or the car manufacturing business. It is a poster child for the financial excesses, stock price manipulations, and general euphoria for anything “tech” related that we have seen during this latest bull-market. The rise of Tesla also stands as a testament to the power of personality and to the inextricable role that Elon Musk has played in building faith among the company’s shareholders and the general public.

As the Federal Reserve continues to tighten by raising interest rates, companies like Tesla, which have relied on cheap financing in order to fund their businesses, are coming under significant pressure. The company’s stock has been besieged by speculative shorts and heavy selling in March, though it has recouped more than half of those losses in the past week. Still, serious questions remain about the company’s path towards profitability. Does it even have one? Assuming Tesla can raise the capital it needs from investors over the next six months, can it manage to overcome the major production challenges that have plagued the Model 3? What happens when Jaguar, Audi, Mercedes, and Porsche, each come to market with their own electric vehicles, some of which are cheaper and seen by many as more attractive than Tesla’s suite of electric cars? And, what about Elon Musk? The famous short seller Jim Chanos, who took down Enron in the early 2000’s for defrauding its investors, has made similar claims against the popular Silicon Valley car executive. The cult of Elon Musk surpasses anything we have seen in decades. Some would say that even Steve Jobs did not command as much adoration from congregations of the faithful. And yet, there is something noticeably rotten in the state of Denmark…

In last week’s episode, we asked the question “what is the path towards profitability for Tesla?” In this week’s episode, Mark Spiegel questions the very credibility of Elon Musk, as CEO of the electric car company. Can he and Tesla survive the onslaught of bad publicity amid a rocky period for capital markets and for the company’s stock? Ten years from now, will we look back at Tesla as the poster child for this latest bull market? Is Elon Musk the personification of a bubble in tech? Only time will tell.

***Disclaimer: This podcast is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a basis for investment decisions.***

Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

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Dino Rei says:

Grrrr woof woof woof…grrrraurrr…woof …woof…

pirucreek says:

supercharger network will be an asset, with the model 3 they start charging for power.

Karol Sudol says:

I lost all respect to Demetri after these two podcasts.

Lachlan O'Neil says:

from an investors stand point elon might not be a god but he is generaly we dont care if its a viable business its awesome and the government shouldmpay for him to do his things.

Sergei Rybakov says:

The guy is a douchebag. “Making car is easy, launching and landing rockets is easy, an electric car is simple…”
5 years and still shorting. That’s genius.

Andor Koval says:

I agree this guy is smart. He see what a ripoff Elon Musk is . He had so many government subsidies that private business all don’t get.

J de la Cruz says:

The blind leading the blind.

Manuel Carmo says:

I am a shareholder of Tesla, and I did not invest little … and if the company ends, I do not care, for the pleasure I had of seeing the, Elon Musk to do this revolution to improve the world. This you will never realize, jealous big mouth , Mark Spiegel !!!

Richard Smith says:

lol short since 2013

Squeeze Me says:

Jeff Bezos Blue Origin landed a booster rocket before Musk did. Additionally, Nasa already spent millions on researching similar technology decades ago.

alex0711a says:

The “interviewer” is fucking annoying. Talks way too much and interrupts all the time

Lewis Edwards says:

Demitri. Please stop interrupting your guests! Let them finish what they’re saying.

Meek Mekado says:

what an expert… you identify an ponzi scheme, rides with it and later you go short… with more money.
this expert been short since 2013 *LOL*

Pitapi Pitapo says:

Since when?

F3ND1MUS says:

cool interview.

Midnight Phister says:

self landing rockets exited way back in the 1990s, musk invented nothing. lots of people are questioning the economics behind these things anyway, since reliability goes way down and the cost savings aren’t that significant.

when yo’re putting a satellite worth hundreds of millions of dollars into space, that took ages to build, is mission critical, etc. you’re not going to risk it being blown up by some discount, faulty, used rocket. you’ll just pay the 20% or whatever premium and get it done.

Orion Gural says:

The extreme irony here is that the Tesla Bears and Short sellers are the largest cult on Wall street.

Vo0dooChild says:

((SPIEGEL)) investment banker

Grant Smith says:

No One landed a rocket on a barge before. I like how you just gloss over the part where he created reusable Rockets. Funny that people are so quick to call Tessa followers cultish when you see the anti Tesla people looking equally cultish. This guy sounds ignorant.

Bob Cornford says:

Amazing how many gullible people are taken in! Elon Musk is a con man – King of Bullshit.

Kent H says:

This guy is good.

Me and E-man says:

These guys are clearly not morons, for them to be saying what there saying must mean there’s some hidden agenda.

Paul Faso says:

EVUR- ELECTRIC VEHICLE UNLIMITED RANGE http://www.evur.us TESLA is set up to fail broad market penetration by lunatic forces perpetuating the Petro/Dollar scam at the Fed as China’s Petro/Yuan converts to gold during the same period China ends the internal combustion engine and becomes the largest manufacturer of EV’s in the world.

Robby May-Sylianteng says:

I suggest reading this before you watch the video:

Mark is short on Tesla. This essentially means that he has to bash the company as much as possible in order to make rookie investors sell their shares out of panic and anxiety. He buys after he’s convinced enough people into selling their shares. Then ***shorts*** them after they soar which, predictably, tends to happen after every Tesla product ‘reveal’. That is all he does, and he is clearly great at it.

***To ‘short’ means to sell common stock without having held it for more than a year. When someone is ‘long’, it means that they intend to hold the stock for at least a year.

He showed his cards the moment he admitted that he was ‘short’ on Tesla. In every sense, he is the absolute reflection of what he himself perceives in Musk. The difference between the two is that Musk is actually trying to do something for the species rather than capitalise off and prey on its weaknesses (e.g. the ‘rookie investors’).

The stock market tends to bring out the worst in people. Elon doesn’t own any stock other than TSLA, and that’s only because he has to maintain a majority share in order to make sure that he has executive control. He will own TSLA stock because he has to. Mark Spiegel doesn’t. He capitalises on the successes and failures of others (e.g. investors, companies, funds, etc.) to keep afloat. He’s essentially a bloodsucker who is tremendously good at fooling people into inadvertently selling him their blood so that he can sell it back to them at a higher price. Just keep this in mind.

Robin Harrison says:

The shorts are beginning to panic as 5k/week looms. Tough luck guys, suck it up.

Elon Musk & Insane Ones says:

critic & hater.they ain’t similar word

Nikola Tesla says:

Spiegel – running a EV car, rocket and boring companies is easy. If they’re easy, where’re are your companies bitch!

Bruno TaTa says:

Can you stop interrupting your guest you sniveling little worm? Every time he got to his point you shoved your stupid bland opinions in.

Raymond says:

“It doesn’t save money to be able to reuse the rocket.”

Mark spiegel, ladies and gentlemen. I think what you have here is someone who got conned by a small cap tech penny stock. Instead of concluding that he understands nothing about technology, he proceeded to troll and berate any new technology that he knows nothing about. Poor guy.

Chrisroygbiv says:

Hahaha This guy is a god damn idiot

kaylee says:

so he lost at least $134 per share so far. yeah people should listen to him.

Winston Wolfe says:

Last 2 vids… hit-piece on Nobel Foundation and now a hit-piece on Tesla by a Wall St guy with a massive short position on Tesla – Seriously? Someone remind this guy that the Tesla can remain irrational longer than he can remain solvent.

nosherz says:

If the reviews on the new Jaguar i Pace are anything to go by then Tesla’s goose looks well & truly cooked – and this before Audi, Bmw & Mercedes bring their offerings to the table. Tesla’s over emphasis on unnecessary extreme power has always struck me as bizarre too. It’s like they’ve gone out of their way to highlight drag strip performance on a family car in order to disguise other shortcomings, knowing full well they’ll be outclassed in every other area once the main players join the game.

Liberty Hayek says:

you little troll idiot, electric cars and motorcycles are already huge in china and the best countries in the world. this movement isnt about musk its way beyond !

Wombie says:

He’s totally spot on when it comes to Elon, but I’m wondering where was that bullshit detector when he voted for Gary Johnson? I guess it’s pretty easy to speak condescendingly about “Trump fever” when you’re not one of the millions of lower class people whose livelihood is directly threatened by his policies.

Marcus Aurelius says:

so funny. at that prior minute, i was thinking are these guys going to get back to Tesla. i mean i was really enjoying the quick dialogue and all the excursions, too much; to the show’s credit, i was not really thinking about this until almost 50 minutes. but ….

jazeboy69 says:

peter thiel says never bet against elon musk. i believe him and hostory has proven this statement. tesla is a battery company primarily not a car company.they made 200 million in the battery storage of electrical utilities like south australia. watch hyperchange for tesla insight

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