Tesla CEO Elon Musk has opened a can of worms with a four-word post on X. On January 13, he posted, “That would be nice.” The message popped up while Tesla shareholders, fans, critics, and haters discussed the company on the social media platform. Two days later, Musk added more details and context to the discussion.
Background and Context is Important
Unlike mainstream media outlets suggesting Musk went on an unprompted compensation rant, the CEO was merely further explaining himself to shareholders. On the 13th, an X user expressed concerns about Musk's apparent lack of Tesla engagement. Amy (_SFTahoe) highlighted that Musk hasn’t had a new incentive plan since completing his 2018 compensation milestones in 2022. Amy argued for significant goals and rewards for Musk, underscoring that mere share ownership isn't enough motivation and that Musk deserves a plan that matches his contributions and ambitions in AI, automation, and space exploration. That is when Musk chimed in with the four words.
Two days later, Musk gave more details about his arrangement with Tesla. He expressed his discomfort with his current level of influence in the company. Musk stated his preference for approximately 25% voting control within Tesla, arguing that this level of influence is substantial but not overwhelming. He mentioned, "I am uncomfortable growing Tesla to be a leader in AI & robotics without having ~25% voting control. Enough to be influential, but not so much that I can’t be overturned." Vanguard controls more than 13% through its institutional and mutual fund holdings.
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Share Structure and Compensation
Musk, who owns about 13% of Tesla, said he would consider building products outside Tesla unless he secures the desired voting control. He suggested a dual-class share structure as a potential solution but noted the challenges of implementing such a system post-IPO in Delaware. Musk's posts indicated no ongoing feud with the Tesla board, which he praised, and mentioned the delay in establishing a new compensation plan due to the pending Delaware compensation case.
Musk's focus on AI and robotics is a significant part of Tesla's future direction. He has touted the company's advancements in these areas, including developing the humanoid robot Optimus. Musk believes that AI and robotics are integral to Tesla's value, even more so than its automotive segment.
The Financial and Legal Context
Musk's statements come amidst financial and legal challenges. He sold a significant portion of his Tesla shares in 2022 to finance his acquisition of Twitter, which he renamed X. This sale reduced his stake in Tesla and his voting power. Additionally, Musk is involved in a lawsuit in Delaware over his previous compensation package, which is under scrutiny for its size and the influence Musk had in securing it.
I should note that the Tesla board is great. The reason for no new “compensation plan” is that we are still waiting for a decision in my Delaware compensation case. The trial for that was held in 2022, but a verdict has yet to be made.
As Tesla awaits the decision in the Delaware compensation case, Musk's desire for increased voting control remains a central topic. The outcome of this case could influence the future structure of Tesla's leadership and Musk's role in the company. With the Q4 earnings report approaching, Tesla's strategic direction in AI and robotics and Musk's influence will be scrutiny.
Musk's efforts to balance his various roles at Tesla, SpaceX, and X continue to be a point of discussion. His leadership style, often characterized by ambitious goals and unconventional approaches, has both been praised and criticized in the public and financial spheres.
Despite focusing on voting control and compensation, Musk's ambition for Tesla goes beyond financial incentives. His vision for Tesla involves significant advancements in AI and robotics, aiming to position the company at the forefront of technological innovation. This perspective aligns with Musk's broader goals of advancing human progress through technology.
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Tesla's reintroduction of the Model 3 Performance continues to inch closer, and just like the refreshed Model 3 and the Cybertruck, every peek gives us some more hints and builds more excitement. A recent observation of a partially covered Tesla Model 3 Performance prototype revealed the new Sport seats designed for improved comfort.
Posted on X by Nic Cruz Patane, the upgraded Model 3 Performance was sighted in Santa Monica, where the vehicle's engineering prototype displayed minimal window tinting, offering a sneak peek at the vehicle's improved seating. The Sport seats, resembling dedicated racing bucket seats, significantly depart from the current Model 3 seating options.
Sport Seats Coming to Other Models?
Tesla's initiative to incorporate Sport seats into the Model 3 Performance hints at broader plans to equip its high-performance models, including the Model S Plaid, Model X Plaid, and Model Y Performance, with similar seating options. This move will elevate the driving experience across Tesla's performance vehicle range.
These seats were also spotted a few weeks ago by enthusiast Fidel Grandez. Initially thought to be designated for the Model S Plaid, these Sport seats have found their rightful place in the Model 3 Performance, aligning with Tesla's vision for a performance-focused yet more affordable electric sedan.
New Wheels and Front Lip
In addition to the seats, the Model 3 Performance is rumored to showcase a suite of enhancements. Another angle gives a little bit of an outline of the new front lower splitter. Other aesthetic and functional upgrades include "Warp" 20-inch wheels, advanced braking systems, and revised suspension components.
Tesla has been testing the Model 3 Performance prototypes for a few months, signaling that initial production could be underway in North America. This step is crucial as Tesla aims to reintroduce the Performance trim to the market, having temporarily removed it from their lineup. The reintroduction is timely, considering the evolving landscape of EV incentives in the United States. While the official launch date remains under wraps, anticipation builds for the Model 3 Performance's debut, expected in the first half of 2024.
Kim Kardashian showcased her Cybertruck with the caption "cool carpool mom" to her 364 million followers on Instagram. The A-list celebrity and billionaire is well known for her knack for staying at the forefront of trends, making this one image a powerful endorsement for Tesla. The picture of one of the most influential celebrities of our time picking the Cybertruck as her distinctive vehicle speaks volumes about the brand's penetration into popular culture and its appeal to a broad demographic, including those who value style, innovation, and sustainability.
The Power of Celebrity Influence
Kim Kardashian's influence cannot be overstated. Her every move is watched and often emulated by fans around the globe. Her journey from reality TV star to billionaire entrepreneur has been marked by a series of successful ventures in fashion, beauty, and technology investments, making her a model of modern business acumen. Kardashian's ability to turn personal endorsements into significant trends is unparalleled, making her engagement with Tesla's Cybertruck a notable moment for the company.
Kardashian's influence extends far beyond mere product endorsement. Her strategic use of social media to connect with her audience has transformed how brands interact with consumers. She creates a personal connection that can sway consumer behavior by sharing her life, interests, and choices, including her vehicle preferences. Her endorsement of the Cybertruck can significantly enhance Tesla's brand visibility and desirability, particularly among consumers who may not have previously considered an electric vehicle.
The Celebrity Cybertruck list is growing
Pharrell, Lady Gaga, Jay Leno, and now Kim Kardashian.
Kardashian has recently joined the exclusive circle of celebrities seen driving the Cybertruck, a group that boasts names like Pharrell, Lady Gaga, Jay Leno, and not to forget Elon Musk himself (who, aside from being Tesla's CEO, commands a staggering following of over 370 million on X). Each of these stars wields significant influence, captivating audiences that range from thousands to millions globally.
Sustainability Meets Style
Moreover, Kardashian's endorsement comes at a time when the importance of sustainable living and eco-friendly choices is increasingly recognized. Her choice of an electric vehicle over traditional gasoline-powered cars sends a strong message about the importance of environmental responsibility, aligning with Tesla's mission to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy. This alignment boosts Tesla's brand and promotes a broader cultural shift towards sustainability.
In the context of celebrity endorsements, Kim Kardashian's showcase of the Tesla Cybertruck is a masterstroke. It merges the worlds of entertainment, technology, and sustainability, highlighting the evolving nature of brand-consumer relationships in the digital age. Tesla's innovative approach to vehicle design and its commitment to sustainability is amplified by Kardashian's endorsement, illustrating the power of celebrity influence in shaping consumer preferences and driving societal trends.
Ultimately, Kardashian driving a Cybertruck and branding herself as a "cool carpool mom" is a significant endorsement for Tesla, enhancing the brand's visibility, appeal, and alignment with sustainable values. In an era where brand success is increasingly tied to social influence and cultural relevance, Tesla's association with Kardashian can only be seen as a positive development, driving the brand further into the mainstream consciousness and reinforcing its position as a leader in the shift towards a more sustainable future.
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