The Problem Is That People Still See Tesla As A Startup

I saw a conversation on Twitter that just made everything click when it comes to Tesla and its critics. Some critics are fully endorsing Nikola Motors as the gamechanger Tesla has already proven to be. In a conversation between Vincent and Aaron, the following tweet is a startling reminder that perception is everything.

I once had a teacher who told me that when I go out for a job interview, no matter how great of a person I am, that first impression I leave on the interviewer will be lasting. I could win a Pulitzer someday, but they will see me as the girl they interviewed.

Tesla, it seems, has had a similar experience — critics only see the bad. It seems that no matter what Tesla does, no matter how many 5-star safety ratings it gets, no matter how many customers love their cars, to the critics, Tesla is a fraud.

Just yesterday, the stock price for Tesla broke the $1,000 mark. Many critics have said Tesla would have been bankrupt by now because Elon Musk is a fraud. In fact, their hatred has permeated their cerebral cortex to the point that they transfer that personal hatred to his other companies, his family members, Tesla’s customers, Tesla shareholders, and even simple supporters.

The Problem Is That People Still See Tesla As A Startup

If Tesla was a human being, it would be celebrating its sweet 16. It produces more vehicles every year than Jaguar or Porsche. In other words, Tesla is not a startup, yet it is being treated as such by many critics. Instead of the successful company it is today, critics view Tesla from the lens of its past, a warped lens at that. They see it as a company that almost went bankrupt, that they think should have gone bankrupt.

In fact, famed short-seller Jim Chanos even complained that Tesla was trading like a tech company instead of a carmaker. “It has manufacturing plants like a car company. It’s got a lot of debt like a car company. So investors can try, can convince themselves all they want, that this is a software company or that this is some leading-edge technology company. Sadly, the numbers belie that.”

If this was 2015, perhaps he would be right — that Tesla is a car company. But it’s 2020 and Tesla has blossomed into something that I don’t think even Elon Musk anticipated. Originally, he just wanted to build electric cars and rockets (for SpaceX) while pursuing his dream to go to Mars and make humans multi-planetary. Tesla, like people, changed. It evolved into what it is today, and this is why short sellers have continued to lose money.

The problem of seeing Tesla as nothing more than a startup is compounded with sheer hatred of its CEO, Elon Musk. Not all of Tesla’s critics hate him, but many are vocal on Twitter and seem to label anything he does as a fraud. A great example of irony (or hypocrisy, if you will) is that one of  Tesla’s most vocal critics is suddenly “sick of people bashing companies that are making the world a better place but are in ‘growth mode’ and so don’t make any money.”

This seems oddly hypocritical since many of Tesla’s critics, including this tweeter, have condemned the company for not making a profit while growing its product lineup and manufacturing capacity.

One thing for certain is that Tesla isn’t stopping — it’s just getting ramped up. With the production of its Semi starting, along with continued production of its other lines, including the new Model Y, Tesla is still on the path toward a very profitable future.

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