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New venture giving "voice" to "everyday investors"

 

The project reported in the article below was presented in a January 25, 2019 Say newsletter inviting "everyday investors" to "have your voice heard," and in this January 24, 2019 HyperChange TV presentation by Say's advisor, Galileo Russell, "Democratizing Tesla's Q4 Earnings w/ SAY":

 

For past Forum attention to the "MoxyVote" venture supporting similar individual shareholder engagement, but focused exclusively on proxy voting rather than on both governance and financial communications, see July 11, 2012 Reuters: "Shareholder website closing, cites complex voting rules."

 

Source: CNBC, January 30, 2019 article

 

Investing

This time, Tesla will take questions from regular investors, not just analysts and YouTube nerds

[January 30, 2019]

Liz Moyer

 


 

KEY

POINTS

  • Elon Musk's Tesla earnings conference calls have been higher-octane recently than your typical quarterly call.
  • A small number of Tesla shareholders are submitting questions through a mobile app and voting on which ones they want Tesla to answer.

 


 

Tesla Chief Executive Office Elon Musk speaks at his company's factory in Fremont, California.

Noah Berger | Reuters
 


Tesla is preparing to open its fourth quarter conference call later on Wednesday by fielding questions submitted through a mobile app by some of its mom and pop investors.

It's likely to strike a different tone than what happened in May, when CEO Elon Musk sparred with professional Wall Street analysts over their questions about Tesla's production issues and cash burn rate. Musk lashed out at one analyst who asked about Telsa's capital requirements, saying "Boring, bonehead questions are not cool." He later apologized.

That second quarter call featured a surprising guest in the form of a 20-something YouTuber and small Tesla shareholder named Galileo Russell, who was allowed to pepper Musk with questions.

But it seems some of Tesla's rank and file owners have some pointed questions of their own.

"Owners, many of them with large followings online, are becoming very vocal about Tesla's worsening customer service experience with delivery, service, and repair," writes one shareholder in a submitted question. "This has a severe impact on sales and returning sales. What are you doing to change this growing negative reputation?"

Another shareholder writes: "How are [you] feeling about demand right now across the product line?"

Earnings conference calls normally feature a polite repartee between company executives and research analysts and are seldom open to questions from news reporters (CNBC's Phil LeBeau did slip in a question during the October call) much less ordinary investors.

But Musk's conference calls in recent quarters have been a little higher-octane.

After the bonehead comment on the May conference call, Tesla opened its subsequent quarterly call with questions from the two analysts who had been the targets of Musk's ire months earlier.

Crowdsourced questions

Barely a week after that, Musk sent shareholders into a frenzy over a casual tweet that he was considering taking Tesla private. He paid $20 million to settle with the SEC over that tweet.

The questions submitted for Wednesday's call represent a tiny sliver of Tesla's 171 million shares outstanding. They are being gathered and submitted by Say, a tech startup backed by hedge fund manager Steve Cohen's private Point72 Ventures. The first question about reputation issues is backed by more than 67,000 shares and has gotten 279 votes on the app as of early afternoon on Wednesday, the most so far.

Shareholders representing about 173,800 Tesla shares, or $52 million of its $52 billion market cap, are participating.

While Tesla has agreed to address some of the questions submitted by shareholders, it hasn't indicated which questions it will answer. Tesla's call is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. ET.

Russell is an advisor to Say.

Say got its start last June as poll for Tesla shareholders to opine whether Musk should retain the chairman and CEO titles. Musk has since been required to step down as chairman for three years.

A representative from Tesla wasn't immediately available.

 

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