Elon Musk seems a lot less sure about how Tesla could benefit from Twitter or the new X company the social media platform is now operating under – something he promised would happen to Tesla shareholders last year.
Financially speaking, Tesla shareholders are those who suffered the most from Elon Musk’s Twitter acquisition.
The CEO had to sell tens of billions of dollars’ worth of Tesla stock to acquire the social media platform, which heavily contributed to a crash in Tesla’s stock. Some also suggested that Musk’s behavior on the platform has been negatively affecting his and Tesla’s credibility with buyers and investors.
Amid the crash late last year, Musk claimed that he would “make sure Tesla shareholders benefit from Twitter long-term,” but he didn’t explain how.
During Tesla’s earnings call following the release of its Q1 2023 financial results, Musk was asked if he had more clarity about how Twitter or a new X.com/super app would potentially help Tesla’s business model and shareholders.
In his response, the CEO seemed a lot less sure about the benefits, seemingly having forgotten his promise made to shareholders last year:
Well, I don’t know. I guess it could make it potentially easier to buy cars? Somewhat off-topic here, because I think there’s some benefit. I think probably there’s some benefit, yes.
This didn’t do anything to squash concerns about Musk losing interest in Tesla since the Twitter acquisition, especially following reports that he is building a new AI company to compete with OpenAI.
This move has been concerning to Tesla investors since he initially severed ties with OpenAI due to a conflict of interest with Tesla’s own AI effort and recruitment.
Since then, Tesla has doubled down its efforts to build AI products – primarily to power its self-driving program, but also through its Tesla Bot humanoid robot.
Musk actually went so far as to claim that Tesla has the strongest AI team in the world, saying he believes the company would “play a role in developing artificial general intelligence (AGI).”
Yet he is now reportedly starting a company separate from Tesla to develop AI products.
I think this should be the top concern for Tesla investors or at least the top problem within the company’s control. Macroeconomics and interest rates are not really within Tesla’s control, but its CEO is to a degree, and having a CEO who is focused on multiple major ventures unrelated to Tesla is a genuine concern.
It was one thing when it was just SpaceX and a little time spent on The Boring Company, but now with Twitter and a new AI company, it’s starting to be a lot, especially when he is in charge of arguably the world’s most critical company when it comes to transitioning the world to a sustainable energy economy.
I think Musk is too used to being able to do whatever he wants, and it is starting to affect some of his decisions negatively. It was helpful when people were telling him that his ambitious goals were impossible, but now it is beginning to be a problem.
How was the question “somewhat off-topic” when he was directly asked what plans he has for Twitter that will positively affect Tesla shareholders – something he said would happen?
I think it’s a fair question, and he clearly doesn’t have the answer to it, making his promise a lot less credible.
Ultimately, that’s a big part of the problem. He is losing credibility. The man has accomplished some incredible things, things that many thought would never happen or not happen for years to come. That has given him a ton of credibility with a lot of people, especially Tesla shareholders.
I know many people still think he is just a charlatan, but I personally believe the credibility he gained from his part in building Tesla and SpaceX is warranted. But I also see how he is currently losing some of that credibility.