"It was foolish of me to ignore them", he says. The wisdom behind the hedging strategy is that as these huge, influential stocks go, so does the market - so taking a short position in them means protecting against an index drop. Both Toni Sacconaghi of Bernstein and RBC's Joseph Spak have the equivalent of "neutral" ratings on Tesla. "We're going to go as long as there are good questions to answer", he said of the question and answer phase of the call. It also followed some recent wild tweets by Musk about building a cyborg dragon, how his eyebrows can grab things and an April 1 post in which he wrote, "Despite intense efforts to raise money, including a last-ditch mass sale of Easter Eggs, we are sad to report that Tesla has gone completely and totally bankrupt".
It's just the latest chapter in Musk's contentious relationship with Tesla bears and short sellers, who he has excoriated in the past.
Musk also said a question about Model-3 demand was absurd because Tesla reservations far surpass current production levels, noting it'd take two years just to fill existing demand. After fielding more than a dozen questions from Russell, Musk ended the conversation by thanking him.
"I'm not here to convince you to buy our stock", Musk said.
Tesla has relied on the capital markets to finance its grand ambitions, and many believe the company has burned so much cash that it will soon need to turn to Wall Street for more.
"We would consider Mr. Musk's at times unfiltered approach as part of the price to be paid for Elon's visionary genius", Efraim Levy, a CFRA Researach analyst, wrote to clients on Thursday.
Musk reflected on two interactions that drew particular criticism. "Next. Boring questions are not cool".
Just after the electric vehicle and solar panel company announced a record first-quarter loss, the Tesla CEO cut off two analysts who sought some basic answers: details about the company's cash needs and orders for its all-important Model 3 mass-market electric auto. Musk explained that the Model 3 already has about half a million reservations, "despite no advertising & no cars in showrooms". If Tesla does run short of cash, big institutional investors such as Fidelity likely will come to the rescue, but that may cause a change at the top, Ramsey said.