By on May 4, 2020

Elon Musk

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has had an interesting few days. It all kicked off when he went off on the politics behind coronavirus lockdowns — suggesting that state mandates had surpassed what should be deemed reasonable and that civil liberties were being infringed upon — during Wednesday’s earnings call. By week’s end, he was using social media to announce Tesla’s stock price was too high.

Despite it not being his first time making such a claim, and with the automaker turning a surprise first-quarter profit, the company’s share price still lost 10 percent in a single day. Musk then announced he would sell practically everything he owned. Initially, it seemed to be another partial joke taken completely literally by some followers and the media. But Musk began making good on the claim, listing two properties over the weekend. 

With everything the man says ending up endlessly scrutinized and rebuffed, Musk has to be beyond flustered. Of course, he’s not terribly precise over Twitter (a limitation of the platform and its user base) and his loose lips have gotten him into trouble in the past. Musk was required to settle a securities fraud lawsuit the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission brought in 2018 as a result of tweets claiming he had the funding to take Tesla private at $420 a share. While he may likewise believe Tesla’s share price is too high, he may have been saying it simply to razz those critical of its consistently robust performance (which includes this outlet).

He also seems to be legitimately stressed out by the current economic/social situation. Unlike some, this author is of the mind that Mr. Musk genuinely believes Americans face unnecessary civil restrictions. A large portion of his Twitter account has become devoted to sharing evidence of the coronavirus pandemic being trumped up by various state leaders, the press, and Silicon Valley. Musk even claimed YouTube parent Google proved his point after a video he posted, in which two front-line doctors said quarantine measures went overboard, was removed for violating the website’s new corporate guidelines mandating that all information about COVID-19 be in accordance with information provided by the World Health Organization (you know, the group that advised against placing restrictions on air travel with China and initially claimed there was no human-to-human contact).

But we’re not here to closely examine Musk’s newfound (or perhaps dormant) political passion, just to assess whether or not it’s real. It seems to be. In addition to Musk feeling uneasy about government overreach in general, it’s likely that he’s similarly perturbed about the way lockdown orders have impacted his own company. Tesla’s main facility in Fremont, California, is currently closed after unsuccessfully challenging a county order on March 25th. The factory was supposed to reopen today; however, the Bay Area has ordered an extension of shelter-in-place orders until at least the start of June.

Musk warns that a prolonged shutdown will nuke the U.S. economy. A large percentage of his Twitter postings in opposition to a national quarantine focus primarily upon the negative financial ramifications. While the validity and effectiveness of state lockdowns can and will be argued about endlessly online, anyone paying attention knows Q2 will be brutal. Musk is undoubtedly thinking about where his car company and its sizable investments are going to be at year’s end and taking into consideration how bad it might be everywhere else.

Tesla intended to continue ramping up production this year, with the goal of delivering 500,000 units. Every minute the factories remains closed, that target gets a little further away. Still, Tesla also managed to fare better than anybody expected in Q1, thanks largely to the sale of carbon credits to other automakers and the company ignoring Californian lockdown orders for much of March . While some have noted this is also roughly the time Musk started ramping up calls for liberty (true), he was issuing cautious tweets about the plight of panic in early April. The forced closing of his factory simply seems to be the straw that broke the camel’s back, making things much more personal.

This doesn’t explain why he’s selling everything off.

The only explanation Musk gave for ridding himself of his possessions was “freedom,” adding a stipulation that the former home of Hollywood legend Gene Wilder not be torn down or modified in any way. The stock fumble from last week cost him around $3 billion before shares rebounded somewhat, though the homes won’t to be sufficient to recoup that (especially since it isn’t a seller’s market). According to Automotive News, the properties on sale are valued around a combined $39.5 million. Considering he’s one of the wealthiest people on the planet, that’s a rather small sum for Musk. One wonders if he has a plan for the cash amassed with this sell-off, or if there even is one. We’d also like to know what the next item to go on sale will be.

[Image: Tesla]

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40 Comments on “Elon Musk Selling Earthly Possessions, Gets Yelled at Online...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Twitter will be the eventual downfall of our society, we don’t need to know what every lunatic is thinking at every moment of the day. Put down your damn phones and do something to help the world get better

    • 0 avatar
      cantankerous

      Please. Just. Make. It. Stop.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      But… But… Musk IS doing something to help the world get better! He can’t help it that everybody wants to call him a con man.
      /s

    • 0 avatar
      don1967

      The worst part is that the lunatics probably had better things to say before they became slaves to social approval. Every follower/like/retweet/etc. is a little food pellet, a reward for saying the right thing. Critical thinking be damned.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        Critical thinking will get you banned from twitter. Despite the large number of “celebrities” using the platform, the total number of users is a tiny fraction of the population, and hardly representative of any group. If it shut down tomorrow, few people who don’t use it would care, because they don’t care now, while it’s running.

    • 0 avatar

      Like so many things, it was interesting for a while, then it was overwhelmed by brigades and Bots. Occasional good content, but like CB radio and the internet, it went from useful technically sophisticated people with a little money to now every moron has a smartphone and the internet is a vast wasteland.

      I miss the internet that required you to know something and be able to afford a computer to go there….the overall level of intelligence and discourse was much, much higher.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        “I miss the internet that required you to know something and be able to afford a computer to go there….the overall level of intelligence and discourse was much, much higher.”

        This X 1000, I miss the days when communicating on the net took a little forethought and technical ability. The worst thing that ever happened was making computers and the net easy to use :(

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Will he wander the earth until the pupil becomes the master? Seriously; twitter, self-serving Facebook posts, People magazine, and shows like TMZ should be things you should learn to ignore. Now, The Weekly World News and “Batboy graduates from college in Australia”? I’m all over that. Especially the pictures of Batboy in cap and gown.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      He said he “will own no house”. That sounds like he’s bailing from California’s income tax.

      He can rent a mansion in Texas for a fraction of the property tax he pays in Cali, and Texas has no income tax. Neither does Florida, and the traditional real estate boom/bust cycle is currently in bust there, so luxury condos are available for rent/lease.

      In short, without owning real estate, he can move around, establishing residency where it’s cheapest to live, and not be associated with a particular location.

  • avatar
    James2

    Why should he own a house when he’ll just sleep at the factory. Then, he can start planning the eventual camper add-on for the Cybertruck.

  • avatar
    TimK

    Don’t need a house when you’re on the way to Mars…

    “And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time
    Till touch down brings me round again to find
    I’m not the man they think I am at home
    Oh no no no, I’m a rocket man
    Rocket man, burning out his fuse up here alone”

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    “ Tesla CEO Elon Musk has had an interesting few days. It all kicked off when he went off on the politics behind coronavirus lockdowns —“

    Correctly stating that…

    “…state mandates had surpassed what should be deemed reasonable and that civil liberties were being infringed upon…”

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      @ebflex: “state mandates had surpassed what should be deemed reasonable”

      I agree with you there. Some of the restrictions are pretty ridiculous. Golf courses shouldn’t be a problem. There are reservations near me that are several thousand (7000+) acres and they’ve been a bit ridiculous in limiting the parking. I think some retail could definitely be opened safely. Sports events and concerts should be limited (packed bathrooms would not be a good idea). Crowded bars would be a problem too. There needs to be a sane approach to the lockdown and officials are overreacting in some cases. But, we do have to be careful. Still, the reservation situation near me is crazy. They’ve got average density of 1 person per 10 acres and the officials are being a pain. I’ve seen the people and they’re keeping huge distances.

      I really wish they’d push the timeline on the vaccine. There might be at least a million doses of the Oxford vaccine available by September. They need to take some chances and expand the trial in a big way in September.

      • 0 avatar

        @mcs: Have you been keeping up with the results of the serology studies that have been done by over 6 entities now (USC, Stanford, Florida, MA etc.)? I would think you may have as you strike me as a knowledgeable person judging by your knowledge on electric vehicle tech. All those studies bore the same conclusion: COVID 19 has been here longer than was announced, infected far more individuals than estimated and, as such, has brought the CFR down to .01 to .03% – comparable to last years flu season. The Gates model, which I’ve been lead to believe is what our government is basing their recommendations on, predicted far more deaths than have actually occurred in some places. For example, this model, which incorporates social distancing and other mitigations, estimated the deaths in Iowa on April 1 to be 1300. As of May 4th the actual deaths have been 184 – off by a factor of 7.

        I’m certain you also understand that the nature of a SARS type virus is that it “mutates” to where the virus today is different than it was 4 months ago and will be even more different by September. A vaccine will not be the “silver bullet” many hope/wish it to be. Are you willing to wear a mask for the rest of your life in fear you will contract this disease or any disease for that matter?

        I’m also guessing that you are not in the higher risk age group possibly. If that is so, the CDC and the serology studies found for the 18 – 45 demographic the odds of dying from COVID 19 to be 11 out of every 100K infected – again comparable to seasonal flu.

        I would encourage you to not live your life in fear. Do some research on this. You present yourself as an intelligent individual. Arm yourself with knowledge so that you may see things more clearly. Don’t blindly believe me or anyone else on this issue. Do the work and find the facts for your own peace of mind if nothing else.

        • 0 avatar
          thelaine

          You are on it, THX. Outstanding summary. Thank you for posting. Every day the evidence becomes more and more difficult to deny. People need to turn off the TV and do some research.

        • 0 avatar
          EBFlex

          You can add Germany to that list.

          https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-germany-estimates/german-study-suggests-infections-are-10-times-the-number-of-confirmed-cases-idUSKBN22G1BW

          We have at least three studies in the US showing infection rates that are astronomically higher than confirmed cases and now Germany is seeing the same thing. But the mouth breathers will say it’s BS because it doesn’t fit the narrative they’re being told to believe.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @EBFlex: Too many assumptions by those researchers. They may be seeing what they want to see, rather than achieving an unbiased result. A preliminary investigation measuring only 919 people out of a country of 83 million people isn’t even statistically significant. That’s a mere 0.0011% of the population of that country. I’m not willing to trust that data until it can be verified by much more extensive testing than a “preliminary study.”

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          I have to give thelaine some props here. The worm has started to turn a bit on this and I have been hearing on mainstream news sources now that it does look like the virus was worldwide prior original thought. The French were looking back at Pneumonia cases and now believe it was in France in December. If true, then it being somewhere like California, with LAX and all of the travelers coming from China daily seems not only plausible, but likely.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @Art Vandalay: The plausibility slips a bit, however, when you consider that New York City, not Los Angeles, is the country’s hardest-hit single community. Granted, the first CONFIRMED case was on the west coast, clearly the largest number of cases is in the eastern half of the country, not the western.

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            @vulpine: plausibility doesn’t slip at all when trying to compare sprawling LA to congested NYC. There are no subways in LA, and population density is a fraction of NYC.

            LAX is a direct portal to asia, while NYC’s three airports had the virus delivered via Europe. The reason NY and NYC became the national epicenter is at least partly due to the idiots in charge.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            You are a gentleman, Art.

            Check out this outstanding summary of the state of the evidence:

            https://www.conservativereview.com/news/horowitz-young-healthy-not-dying-covid-19-heres-thats-vitally-important/

            Just a nibblet: “Thus, for those who are of prime working age and also have no serious health conditions, the fatality rate is “several fold” below 0.082%. As such, it’s simply indefensible not to put them back to work and certainly send kids with an even lower risk back to school.”

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        @mcs: They can only push a vaccine timeline so far. Not only do they have to demonstrate that it works but they ALSO have to ensure it is SAFE. Considering how many supposed treatments so far have proven fatal rather than helpful, they don’t want to kill the people they are trying to inoculate.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        @mcs: They can only push a vaccine timeline so far. Not only do they have to demonstrate that it works but they ALSO have to ensure it is SAFE. Considering how many supposed treatments so far have proven fatal rather than helpful, they don’t want to kill the people they are trying to inoculate.

        • 0 avatar

          Pushing the vaccine timeline is like getting nine women to gestate a baby in one month because you don’t want to wait for one woman to take nine months to do it.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            “Not only do they have to demonstrate that it works but they ALSO have to ensure it is SAFE. ”

            Exactly. By September, we should have some results for the initial Oxford vaccine trials. Production is currently in progress for a million+ doses by September. It’s a matter of expanding the trial each month after September. Remember, this is a vaccine and something we have a lot of experience with. We should be good with safety, it’s efficacy that is the main question. The Oxford vaccine is in production now and could be available for an expanded trial.

      • 0 avatar
        HotPotato

        “Push the timeline on the vaccine.” Sure, because it’s just that easy. Just push it!

        In the news today: apparently the virus has mutated. This means all vaccine development has been against an enemy that has already evolved and may be unaffected by it. (Italy and New York have the newer, more vicious strain, which may explain their mass casualties. The US West Coast and China still have the old one, which may explain why things haven’t gotten worse there.)

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          “Sure, because it’s just that easy. Just push it!” Again, it’s a vaccine and AstraZeneca has it in production. So far,they’ve given it to 320 subjects. I’m talking about 4 months from now, 4 months, taking a look at the results of the trial and if it looks good at that point, remember, 4 months from now, aggressively expanding the trials and evaluating each step.

          https://www.astrazeneca.com/media-centre/press-releases/2020/astrazeneca-and-oxford-university-announce-landmark-agreement-for-covid-19-vaccine.html

          One of sources of income is performing analytics for drug trials. Nothing I’m working with now could possibly be pushed for a variety of reasons.

          I haven’t taken a close look at the mutations, but I have a lot of confidence in the Oxford approach and it should be modifiable to handle the mutations.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            Here’s how the studies are being accelerated. It’s happening now:
            https://www.fox43.com/article/news/local/upmc-hopes-to-speed-up-clinical-trials-on-covid-19-treatments-with-the-help-of-artificial-intelligence/521-fd2da9db-f846-4dbb-9bb0-e4e444928d63

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Clearly a stable genius.

  • avatar

    I love this guy! Thats I call the California attitude! Why do you need all that material garbage? You cannot take it with you.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      “Thats I call the California attitude!”

      Is that the same attitude that created the most expensive real estate on the planet and home to the most conspicuous consumers, that attitude?

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Agreed. Look at Weinstein. More of that attitude. You are right…you can’t take it with you…to Rikers Island anyway.

      In all seriousness, I don’t care how Musk lives. Steve Jobs wasn’t a whole lot different in many of his quirks. One difference however is opening your mouth with respect to stock prices. Doesn’t seem ethical if you are in his position and He has already been slapped once for it. That sort of behavior needs to be reigned in.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Musk is a multi-billionaire until he gives away all his money I am not impressed

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          Most billionaires don’t do that. Instead they erect foundations that serve as monument, but which usually get taken over by people who are opposed to every principle of the founder – assuming the founder had principles.

          Only a few gave it, or most of away. Andrew Carnegie built libraries, and Ray Kroc’s widow gave most of his McDonald’s fortune to charities. They stand in stark contrast to most billionaires, so prepare to be NOT impressed.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        @ Art Vandelay Steve Jobs with all his vision/ego (depends on how many Apple products you own) had the good sense/foresight to make Steve Wozniak Apple employee #000001. I doubt Elon has checks like that on his humility.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Now that he’s selling his California real estate, he’s footloose and fancy free, to coin a phrase. He can rent a mansion anywhere and not be associated with California or any other location.

      He even has citizenship in three countries: South Africa where he was born, Canada, and the US. He’s now a man of many locations – or none at all, the proverbial Citizen Of The World (COTW).

  • avatar
    threeer

    And yet he’ll still get his $700M paycheck…

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