Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO Elon Musk graced our presence last week by telling us that we’re all dumb. He didn’t say that exactly, but he did tweet “coronavirus panic is dumb.”
Considering that hand sanitizer is sold out everywhere, and Costco shoppers are clearing the shelves of supplies, there are a lot of us panicking.
While you may think that Musk was trying to be the steady voice of reason, his motivations could’ve been far more manipulative.
Tesla had one of the more incredible runs we’ve seen in recent history. It was the top asset in the world during parts of February. It outpaced bitcoin during a bitcoin bull run. Some bulls even predicted the Tesla stock would net 200% returns in 2020.
Thanks to a jaw-dropping payment plan, Elon Musk appeared to be building to an unreal payoff. All he has to do is guide Tesla to a $650 billion market capitalization. That’s about six times Tesla’s current market cap of $115 billion. While that seems like a tall feat, consider that the company doubled in value in less than two months. It reached an all-time high of a nearly $170 billion market cap in mid-February. Anything seemed possible.
According to Forbes, if Tesla does eventually hit all of the milestones, Elon Musk could see a payout of more than $55 billion over a decade. The New York Times called it “boldest pay plan in corporate history.”
There’s just one little problem…
While the coronavirus has sucked money from nearly every part of the stock market, Elon Musk stands to lose more than anybody. After reaching its February 19th high of $168.8 billion, Tesla’s value plunged to $123 billion in just over a week.
It now sits at $115 billion, and Musk’s hopes for that obscene bankroll lay in the balance. The coronavirus is wreaking havoc on Elon Musk’s bottom line. He’s starting to fight back, and that’s not good for us “dumb” folks.
Is Musk getting desperate? He risked his factory workers’ lives by keeping Tesla’s Chinese Gigafactory open during the coronavirus outbreak. While other companies scaled back, Tesla pushed forward. Musk had promised 500,000 deliveries in 2020, and he wasn’t about to let a little thing like human safety get in the way.
He did it again last week by subtly encouraging people to relax as the virus proliferated across six continents. While panic is usually not the best choice, how do we know Musk didn’t send that tweet out of panic?
With $55 billion on the line, maybe he wanted to say something to his 32 million Twitter followers to get them to calm down and fork over their money. The sad thing is that some of them might actually listen and expose themselves to the coronavirus in the process.
But as long as Elon Musk gets his payday, then at least one person will come out on top.
Disclaimer: The opinions in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of CCN.com.