“Strange” is exactly the word I’d use to define Elon Musk. His stories, his experiences, his choices, the numbers, all strange.
I love ‘strange’. In fact, Elon Musk happens to be one of my favourite billionaires because he seems to be so relatable, down to earth and within reach, and I think a good number of people share this same sentiments.
From Tesla being a month away from bankruptcy as it ramped up production of the Model 3 electric vehicle between mid-2017 and mid-2019, to being added to the S&P 500 Index, to being the richest man in the world.
Lets agree that the word ‘Strange’ in this context, is a synonym for ‘Growth’.
According to Musk , Tesla was also only three days from bankruptcy in 2008, but was saved by $40 million of funding that came through on Christmas Eve.
He went further to say that it was “extremely difficult” to raise money for an electric car startup in 2008, and that he had put all his money into the business at the time, “even though I thought we would still fail.”
Take a moment to realise that Musk put his whole money into something he thought would still fail just because he believed in the mission.
He didn’t even own a house at the time, he had to borrow money from friends to pay rent. According to him, it was either that or certain death for Tesla.
Take another moment to imagine a billionaire that couldn’t afford his own rent.
Now, Fast forward to 2020.
On Jan. 4 2021, Tesla announced it delivered 189,750 electric vehicles in the fourth quarter, topping projections of 174,000 and setting a new quarterly record. This brought total deliveries for the year to 499,550 in 2020
Musk’s goal is to eventually build 20 million electric vehicles a year over the next decade — more than double the current production of other auto-making giants — so it’s now on a mission to rapidly expand its manufacturing capabilities.
Musk dethroned Amazon co-founder, Jeff Bezos, on Thursday, January 7, 2021, following a 4.8 percent surge in Tesla’s share price. He became $188.5 billion rich at the age of 49!
For context, as of January 10, 2021, Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote is worth $17.5 billion. This means Musk has made more than double Dangote’s wealth in 10 days of 2021.
How did Musk make that much in 10 days?
Musk currently leads at least four companies: Tesla Inc., SpaceX, Neuralink, and the Boring Company.
Electric cars are becoming increasingly popular in the world today, and Tesla is a flagship choice among Americans and many lovers of EVs across the world. Tesla shares have soared from $60 in 2018 to almost $900 in 2021. Some days to the end of 2020, Tesla shares sold for $658 — representing a 10 fold increase from the previous year.
In the first 10 days of 2021, the same shares have gone from about $699 to $880, moving the company’s market cap from $658 billion to $834 billion in 10 days. The company effectively made $176 billion in about the first trading week of the year.
Musk owns about 20 percent of the company, according to its February 2020 filing reports. This means 20 percent of Tesla’s increased market cap has been added to his wealth. For the record, 20 percent of $176 billion is $35.2 billion.
It is safe to say, $35.2 billion of the $39.6 billion made by Musk in the first 10 days of 2021 came directly from Tesla.
So…to buy or not to buy Tesla?
In the past, asides the positive growth numbers which clearly speak for themselves, Tesla has also received very brutal negative press and has had numerous failures as well.
In 2014. Model 5 had several problems with spontaneous battery combustions.
In 2016, Model X deliveries delayed more than 18 months
Others include: A surprise downgrade for Tesla from Morgan Stanley, Consumer Reports lowering its ratings on the Model S and Model X, and bad press over allegations that Tesla assembly line employees were working in brutal working conditions. Another study found that the Tesla factory has had higher injury rates than the industry average.
In my opinion, Tesla doesn’t seem stable yet. There seems to be uncertainties lurking around. People seem to believe a lot more in Elon Musk than the actual business model which might be a problem in its own right. When it comes to Tesla, there are only two extremes – either Tesla becomes a huge success or a big failure – Nothing in between.
This happens a lot with uncharted areas which is where Tesla currently is. Tesla is currently well positioned to reap the gains of the future of electric vehicles and I’m here for it.
If I had extra cash, that I am okay with losing and leaving for the long term, I’d invest in Tesla. But, that’s me.
What about you?
Disclaimer: I am not a certified expert (yet). Carry out your research before making any concrete decisions!
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