Tesla's Contentious Conference Call

Called "the most unusual call...in 20 years," "bizarre"—and "the best call I've heard in a long time," Tesla's earnings call is a popular news item. On balance, as one analyst said, “Needless to say, the call didn’t go well," and the evidence is in the stock price, which dropped 7.9% (5% within 20 minutes).

Here are a two highlights of CEO Elon Musk's responses to questions:

Sanford Bernstein's Toni Sacconaghi: "And so where specifically will you be in terms of capital requirements?"

Musk: "Excuse me. Next. Boring, bonehead questions are not cool. Next?"


RBC's Joseph Spak: "The first question is related to the Model 3 reservations, and I was just wondering if you gave us a gauge as maybe some of the impact that the news has had. Like, of the reservations that actually opened and made available to configure, can you let us know, like, what percentage have actually taken the step to configure?

Musk: "We're going to go to YouTube. Sorry. These questions are so dry. They're killing me."

At one point, Musk, frustrated by a question, said, "Please sell our stock and don't buy it." Candor is one thing, but I'm not sure a CEO wants to alienate investors.

CNBC host Jim Cramer is one of the opposing voices, who complimented Musk on his directness and telling the truth. He said that many CEOs are thinking what Musk said out loud. At the same time, Cramer acknowledged that this might be Musk's last call.

Image source.


  • What's your view of Musk's responses during the call? What factors into your assessment?
  • Watch Cramer's analysis. To what extent do you agree with his assessment?
  • What are the risks of Musk's approach (in addition to the short-term stock price drop), and what are the potential rewards?
  • Some might say Musk is being authentic. How do you see it?