Tal Liani - Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Hi, Jayshree. I'll ask a question and you'll yell at me like the Tesla call and I'm going to be famous after that. So I'll ask the question.
Jayshree Ullal - Arista Networks, Inc.
Thanks, Tal. I can't wait to hear the question.
That's from Arista Networks' Q1 call and as you can see, Tesla has become a standing joke following Elon Musk's Wednesday evening performance, during which he, among other things, accused analysts of being "boring" and "not cool" on the way to actually suggesting that anyone who doesn't enjoy volatility sell the stock.
That didn't go over particularly well with the analyst community which was quick to remind Musk that, to quote Morgan Stanley's Adam Jonas (who seemed particularly hurt by Elon's off-putting demeanor), "irrespective of the Tesla CEO’s annoyance with the genre of questions he was receiving from analysts, an important part of Tesla’s success has been its relationship with the capital markets in funding its ambitious plans [and] the analysts on the call represent the providers of capital that Tesla has throughout its history depended upon.”
Barclays echoed that assessment and when taken together, the message appeared to be something to the effect of: "Be careful Mr. Stark, or the next time you come looking for folks to help you raise capital, we might not pick up the phone."
I think that's entirely unlikely (the not picking up the phone part, not the capital raise bit, that's virtually assured), but the point is, there's only so much eccentricity people can take and Elon may have pushed the limit this week. That was reflected in the stock and the bonds on Thursday.
Well seemingly realizing that he should perhaps try to rectify whatever ill will he engendered, Elon took to Twitter on Friday to Musk-splain "wha' happened" and although the stock seems to have stabilized, I'm not sure this helps:
Ok, so for one thing, elaborating on press releases and newsletters and financial results is part of getting on the call with analysts - in fact, that's what conference calls are for.
But beyond that, those tweets amount to him calling two analysts "absurd boneheads" (collectively) in the course of a pseudo-apology, which reminds me a bit of Ricky Bobby contending that as long as you preface something with the phrase "with all due respect", what comes out of your mouth next doesn't matter.
Also, the nefarious short seller shtick is getting a bit old at this point and just about the last thing you want to do when it comes to "proving" that the short thesis has no merit is summarily dismiss skeptics as "uncool" "boneheads" on the way to taking questions from the fucking Youtube crowd.
Musk seemingly understands this - or maybe not entirely because in response to @GlobalProTrader, Musk seemed to suggest that although he shouldn't ignore analysts once they're on the call, the "solution" to the "problem" is to not let them ask questions live:
Sorry, but that's right out of the Sarah Huckabee Sanders playbook which, if it's ever published, we be called "How To Lose Any And All Credibility In The Short Space Of 8 Months."
Also, I guess what I would suggest (and I speak from extensive experience here), is that Elon should remember that no matter how famous he is, most people don't care about this debacle. The vast majority of Americans don't own Tesla shares, will never own a Tesla and don't care one way or another what some guy named Elon said on a quarterly conference call with analysts. So rather than continue to put himself in the news by tweeting about this, it might be better to simply hop on the phone and do some direct, Tony Stark-to-Wall Street damage control. That would partially assuage the concerns of the people he might need in the course of helping him keep this dream alive and as far as the stock price goes, that will take care of itself because God knows there are plenty of people who want to be sold that same dream.
Of course he's not going to let this blow over. Instead, he's going to send everyone off the weekend by promising to incinerate the shorts with one of his own, branded flamethrowers - literally: