Tesla will take questions from regular investors, not just analysts
and YouTube nerds
[January 30, 2019]
Executive Office Elon Musk speaks at his company's factory in
Noah Berger | Reuters
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.
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.
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.
seems some of Tesla's rank and file owners have some pointed questions
of their own.
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?"
shareholder writes: "How are [you] feeling about demand right now
across the product line?"
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.
Musk's conference calls in recent quarters have been a little
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.
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.
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.
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.
is an advisor to Say.
its start last June as poll
for Tesla shareholders
to opine whether Musk should retain the chairman and CEO titles. Musk
since been required
to step down as chairman for three years.
representative from Tesla wasn't immediately available.