Elon Musk Week In Review: Tesla and SpaceX Win (Sort of), Twitter Has New Troubles

Elon Musk Week In Review: Tesla and SpaceX Win (Sort of), Twitter Has New Troubles

Elon Musk works seven days a week. And breaks — he takes only two or three workless vacations per year — don’t come often to the world’s richest man. He does, after all, have his hands in half a dozen companies (in addition to training for the cage match with Mark Zuckerberg). 

And despite his recent launch of AI company xAI as well as continuing SpaceX satellite deliveries, this week was the week of Tesla  (TSLA) – Get Free Report

Tesla Earnings Recap

Tesla reported a double beat on its second-quarter earnings July 19. The EV makers said adjusted earnings per share for the quarter were $.91, up from Street expectations of $.82. Tesla also reported a record $24.9 billion in revenue, a 47.2% increase from the previous year

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Despite the high revenue (amid high delivery numbers of 466,140), Tesla shares tumbled around 10% over less-than-optimal margins. Musk, in the conference call, also said that though Tesla still intends to deliver 1.8 million vehicles for the year, production in the third quarter will likely fall by some degree owing to “a lot of factory upgrades.”

Throughout the earnings call, Musk dropped several hints on the future of his EV company. Notable among these was his statement that Tesla is currently in talks with a major car company to license its Full Self-Driving technology (FSD). 

“I want to emphasize very strongly: we are very open to licensing our full self-driving software and hardware to other car companies,” Musk said. “And we’re already in early discussion with a major OEM about using Tesla FSD. We’re not trying to keep this to ourselves. We’re more than happy to license it to others.”

It’s unclear how far away a potential licensing deal is (or which company will be the first to license the tech). 

Musk mentioned Tesla’s (coming) robo taxi business, saying that both the method of production, in addition to the production itself, will be revolutionary.

“Our future dedicated robo taxi products we think have quasi-infinite demand,” Musk said. “The way we’re gonna manufacture the robo taxi is also itself a revolution. It’ll be the highest units per hour of any vehicle production ever.”

Musk also weighed in on the future value of Tesla, saying that, though Tesla is not immune to macroeconomic factors, it’s a good long-term bet.

“I have very high confidence in the long-term value of Tesla, I see it, I really see a path to a 10x, maybe call it a 5x increase in the value of the company,” Musk said.”Maybe a 10x. Where things go along the way, the trials and tribulations and the mood of the markets, one cannot predict.”

Tesla’s stock fell around 10% following the earnings call. Prior to reporting earnings, Tesla had pushed well beyond a $900 billion market cap and was up more than 140% for the year. As of Friday morning, the company’s valuation had tumbled to $825 billion with its stock trading at $257 per share. The company is now up 113% for the year. 

And though he maintained his top spot in the Billionaire Index, Musk lost more than $20 billion when Tesla’s stock tumbled. He’ll probably be fine, though; his net worth is still north of $230 billion. 

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Twitter Has Some Money Trouble

Musk tweeted July 15 that the Bird App is dealing with a “50% drop in advertising revenue plus heavy debt load,” the combination of which has resulted in a “negative cash flow” for the private company that Musk shelled out $44 billion to buy last year. 

Twitter’s revenue has been falling steadily since Musk acquired the platform. In 2021, Twitter made $5.1 billion. In 2022, that dropped to $4.4 billion. And Musk has said that he expects Twitter to earn roughly $3 billion for 2023. 

Despite this continuing drop in revenue — and Twitter’s alleged inability to pay a minimum of $500 million in severance pay — Twitter recently launched an ad share program among certain hand-picked creators. The first block payment, Twitter said, totaled around $5 million. 

In the midst of this advertising hole, Twitter said July 19 that “99% of content users and advertisers see on Twitter is healthy.” The platform said that hate speech, which many users report seeing on a regular basis, is an “extremely small fraction of the overall conversation.”

This statement was, to many users, at odds with their daily experiences, and had some questioning Twitter’s definition of hate speech and healthy content. 

Advertisers, meanwhile, have cited the very same hate speech that Twitter says does not exist as their reasoning for being wary of the platform. 

And to cap it all off, Twitter said July 20 that it plans to subpoena Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) — who previously asked the SEC to investigate Musk for conflicts of interest — in connection with the platform’s fight to throw off an FTC consent order.

SpaceX Satellites Take Off

Meanwhile, over at SpaceX, they launched another 15 Starlink satellites into orbit July 20 on the back of a Falcon 9 rocket. The launch was originally scheduled for July 19, but was called off at T-minus five seconds. 

The launch the next day went off without a hitch, resulting in some truly stunning pictures.

SpaceX’s satellite constellation now consists of 4,450 satellites, though SpaceX has permission to send 12,000 satellites in total and would like to launch tens of thousands more. 

The company is planning to launch another round of satellites July 22. 

SpaceX — which was recently valued at $150 billion — told investors, according to The Information, that it anticipates seeing revenue of $8 billion in 2023, which would approximately double the company’s revenue for the previous year. 

Quotes, Tweets and More Musk Commentary 

Musk’s other companies — xAI, Neuralink — were quiet this week. But Musk, as per usual, was not. 

For starters, he’s got an issue with therapists, saying that “friends are far better than therapy.”

“The incentive structure is to keep you hooked, never ‘cured.’ Be especially wary of therapists in expensive neighborhoods — their true loyalty is to their landlord, not you.”

This perspective is one that clinical psychologists don’t agree with; therapists, they say, encourage personal growth and offer clear boundaries, objectivity and confidentiality, something that friends can’t really match.

Musk, unlike some of his billionaire peers, said he has no interest in living forever. And though he has half a dozen companies under his belt, none are working on the kind of biotechnological engineering to reverse cellular aging that other billionaires, like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, have backed

“Speaking just for myself, I welcome the sweet release of death, but I would like to talk to my grandchildren before dying,” Musk said.

To close out the week in review, as far as Elon news, Musk offered his shareholders some investing advice during Tesla’s earnings call:

“Identify companies whose products you love. Does it seem like they’ll continue to make great products? Buy that stock and hold it. That’s it. You will win,” Musk said. “The reason companies exist is to make goods and services, ideally great goods and services. That’s why you should buy stock in a company that makes good products. It’s common sense, actually.”

He added that beyond having confidence in a company, the key to the stock market is to buy “when the market panics,” and sell “when the market is overly exuberant. I’m not recommending you sell Tesla but buy low, sell high.”

“If someone’s got a crystal ball for the economy, I’d really appreciate if we could borrow that crystal ball,” Musk said. “One day it seems like the world economy is falling apart and the next day everything’s fine. I don’t know what the hell is going on to be totally frank.”

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