Tesla and the shorts

News outlets, papers, websites, and so forth have discovered that by running the picture of Tesla’s shorts, the red garment variety, they can show an attractive woman’s bum/crotch in the rather staid financial news pages.

This is not a surprise. No one is shocked.

But aside from that, Musk’s ongoing combative interactions with short sellers is something I take with a bit of salt.

To be fair, Occam’s Razor says Musk is just being weird, too connected, and probably unwise. In all likelihood, there is no meaning behind it.

However one should examine the effect of short sellers in the market, and that is almost purely good for Tesla.

A) Short-sellers must cover their shorts, so they’re another buyer in the market. That increases liquidity.

B) They must borrow their shares from someone. That increases liquidity. (The same effect happens via options, due to risk mitigation by the option seller)

C) They publish papers and coverage about Tesla. If one maintains that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, and that’s somewhat true for celebrities if not for companies, the additional news coverage, research, and attention devoted to Tesla will do nothing but strengthen the cult of Musk.

D) They give the followers of Musk a feeling of persecution, which further strengthens the bond between faceless company and individuals.

E) So much free PR.

F) And they really haven’t found anything useful. What do they discuss? Tesla hasn’t turned a profit yet? Everyone knows that. What they’re really doing is proving, again and again and again, that Tesla doesn’t have any dirty laundry beyond the obvious. Electric cars are a speculative play, but Tesla itself doesn’t cook its books. It isn’t committing fraud except in the most generic, Matt Levine style “Everything is Securities Fraud” interpretation, which most of the smaller investors just ignore. Most large investors ignore that too. What those shorts are doing is reminding every Tesla investor and Cult-of-Musk follower that Tesla has no secrets. It is what it is: a bet on rapid technological revolution.

G) Aside, they’re also reminding people that the new Teslas are pretty good cars.

SHORT SELLERS ARE GREAT FOR MUSK. Liquidity, free PR, constant affirmation, there is nothing that Tesla could want more than short interest. And Musk is making it personal. Every one of those shorts is, at some level, feeling like they’re betting against Musk, and that draws them in.

If I was Musk, I would be all in on battling the shorts. I would be doing EXACTLY what he is in the pure attempt at keeping their attention. I’d make it personal, I’d make it emotional, and I’d bang that drum day in and day out. I would want all the attention on them I could make, and I would certainly have some model’s bum on the financial pages with S3XY written in gold.

Of course, Musk is probably just doing this because he likes the attention and doesn’t know when to stop.

But if by witlessness one could succeed, it would be by doing exactly what he’s doing right now.

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