The Grant Williams Podcast – TC

The Grant Williams Podcast – TC

September 7, 2020

WARNING: AN OPEN MIND IS REQUIRED TO LISTEN TO THIS PODCAST!!In the first of yet another random series of conversations, Grant welcomes TC to the podcast to discuss the recent edition of TC’s Chartcast featuring Tesla whistleblower, Karl Hansen.TC explains how that episode came about, his thoughts on Karl’s story and the broader implications of continuing poor behaviour by bad actors and regulators alike against a backdrop of increasing corporate malfeasance.Thoughtful, considered and compelling, TC shares tales of his own harassment since a social media experiment became a Twitter phenomenon and offers thoughts on what happens next.

Confirmation bias for bears, kryptonite for bulls but, in the middle, for those willing to listen, lies great importance for all.

The Grant Williams Podcast
The Grant Williams Podcast
The Grant Williams Podcast - TC
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My feelings about Tesla as a company and its CEO are well-documented in the pages of Things That Make You Go Hmmm… over the last several years.

Many point to the share price as conclusive proof of either victory or defeat, however, to me, this has always been about so much more than the share price – there are a series of ethical questions, accusations of fraud, shady business practices and a wealth of things that simply don’t pass the smell test.

Chief amongst them has been the company’s treatment of its workers and, more troublingly, whistleblowers (of which there seem to be a disproportionate amount).

Recently, one such whistleblower, Karl Hansen, appeared on TC’s Chartcast to tell his story. What I heard, intrigued, infuriated and disgusted me in equal measure. So, I reached out to TC…

 

Grant Williams:

Before we get started with this podcast, a quick reminder for you. Nothing you’re about to hear in this podcast should be considered as investment advice, and I mean, nothing. Once you delve into the world of Tesla, all ideas of that sort of thing go out the window. This is a crazy stock doing crazy things, and before you even touch the name with any of your money, you must do a significant amount of research or preferably speak to a financial advisor. And now, on with the show.

Grant Williams:

Well, welcome everybody to a special episode of The Grant Williams Podcast. As you’re about to find out, I have no co-host with me, there’s no Bill Fleckenstein, there’s no Stephanie Pomboy, there’s no Ben Hunt to help me carry the load here. It’s just me. And that’s, I guess, one of the beauties of having a podcast and an interest in a wider range of subjects because it gives me the opportunity to do one of these things as and when I find something that I’m really interested about, and one such thing has come across my path this last week.

Grant Williams:

Now, the subject at hand is Tesla, which is something that I’ve been focused on and marveling at in equal measure for several years now. Any of you who follow me, either through Things That Make You Go Hmmm… or various podcasts, will know my views on Tesla. I believe the company is ultimately going to end up worthless. I believe it’s a fraud. I believe all kinds of things. And while I’ve been fairly vocal about those beliefs, I’ve stayed out of the fray. I’ve not got involved in ad hominem attacks because it’s just not my style. I don’t get into name-calling. I just state the facts as I see them. I’ve engaged the bulls many, many times in the hope of trying to find a civil discourse in the middle. I’ve failed more often than I’ve succeeded, but that’s just the nature of Tesla and the battleground that Twitter has become.

Grant Williams:

But all along that ride, as I say, I’ve marveled at what the stock price has done, I’ve marveled at the reactions to companies, the reaction to the man, all of it. I think this is going to be a story for the ages, and when this era reaches its apogee, when we do move into the end game that Bill and I have been talking about, I suspect historians will look back and perhaps not be kind to Tesla, and a lot of the people involved in it, and a lot of the stuff that’s gone on. The idea of clean energy is obviously a good one. I don’t have any problem with that. I have a problem with the way a lot of this stuff has been done, and part of that is going to form the basis of this podcast today.

Grant Williams:

Now, while I was at Real Vision, I produced a short documentary on Tesla, and I set out to do that in such a way as to present, as I always try and do, both sides. Now, I am a bear. As I said, my views on it are well known, but I wanted to try and present the bull side, which I did through talking to high-profile bulls, the likes of Cathie Wood, of Ross Gerber, just to give them a platform to talk about their views on the company. And then, as is always the case with me, I prefer to let the audience make up their mind. I’m happy to offer my opinion, I’m happy to try and present both sides, but then ultimately, it’s up to you, the listener, to make up your mind.

Grant Williams:

As part of that process, I got to know the anonymous Twitter poster, TESLAcharts, quite well. I’ve spent time talking to him on the phone, I’ve met him, we’ve had dinner, we’ve had drinks, and I feel like I’ve gotten to know him as a person. He’s not a two-dimensional character. He’s very much a three-dimensional character. Him and Georgia Orwell, his partner, have done a phenomenal job with their Tesla charts podcast. And when you talk about the origins of that podcast, and in fact, even the Twitter handle, this was really an experiment in social media that took on a life of its own.

Grant Williams:

They’ve done great work in their podcast. If you haven’t listened to it yet, you really must do that. There’s the TC’s Chartcast, it’s called. It began very heavily Tesla focused. It’s moved out of that now, and while it still covers Tesla, they talk to a lot of people about a lot of interesting things. And it’s a really good, intelligent podcast that I think, if you enjoy The End Game, if you join the Super Terrific Happy Hour, Narrative Game, you’ll enjoy that too.

Grant Williams:

This past week, they’ve put up a podcast, a two-part podcast, with a guy called Karl Hansen, who is a Tesla whistleblower. It’s a well-known story if you’ve been following it. He was working on the security detail at Tesla, he blew the whistle on a suspicious activity that he saw happening, and he got fired and retaliated against in a pretty heinous way. Obviously, now, this is all still going through the courts, so I have to add the word allegedly, obviously, but he and TC and Georgia spent about three hours discussing this case on a two-part podcast last week. And again, if you haven’t listened to that, I would advise you do so either before or after you’ve heard this. It really is just an extraordinary story and a dynamite conversation, brilliantly marshaled by TC and Georgia.

Grant Williams:

And so, I contacted him because I really wanted to talk about this. I wanted to talk about the podcast with him, his thoughts about the conversation he had with Karl, because oftentimes, whistleblowers come across as kind of kooky, kind of wacky sometimes. And it’s sometimes difficult to listen to extraordinary tales from people who seem sometimes a little bit eccentric, and to take them a hundred percent at their word, and to take them seriously.

Grant Williams:

And I found that not to be the case with Karl Hansen, and what I found was an extraordinarily compelling story told by a man with great recollection, who was very calm, very composed, communicated effectively. And this is a guy, as you’ll hear when we get into out conversation, who’s lived a life and has done very serious jobs, the kind of jobs which you don’t get to do unless you pass all kinds of security tests, all kinds of intelligence tests. I mean, you don’t end up in the places Karl Hansen has ended up in without being the real deal.

Grant Williams:

And so, graciously, TC has agreed to come on and talk to me about that podcast, about Tesla, about his thoughts on it, and about the story of Karl Hanson, which I think you’re going to find fascinating. Now, for the bulls among you, either switch off now, or preferably, listen to this with an open mind, because there is no black and white, there are all kinds of shades of gray, and what you’re about to listen to is a story that is extremely shady and extremely gray. So if you listen to it with an open mind, if you still believe that everything in the garden is rosy and the Elon Musks of the world can do no wrong, the Teslas of the world can do no wrong, that’s absolutely fine. But to dismiss a story like this out of hand, I think is foolish, frankly.

Grant Williams:

So with that being said, why don’t we just settle back and invite TC, TESLAcharts, to the podcast? Well, TC. Welcome, mate. Thanks for doing this, so much.

TC:

Oh, thank you, Grant. It’s a pleasure to speak with you. You’re my hero, so any chance I get to have a conversation with you, I jump at it.

Grant Williams:

Well, listen, they say, “Choose your heroes carefully.” I will add the phrase more to yours. It’s a special instruction for you, way more carefully than that.

TC:

Well, I would say, “I should do a better job of choosing my villains.”

Grant Williams:

Well, no, no, no. I think you’ve chosen perfectly, which is the reason we’re here now. You and I have spoken many times over the last few years. I feel we’ve gotten to know each other pretty well. And I like to think I’m a pretty decent judge of character, and my misses over the years have become apparent fairly quickly. And the reason I bring that up is because, obviously, I don’t know whether the haters will even join in on this podcast, just maybe throw a few one-star reviews just to kind of screw things up.

Grant Williams:

But the thing that I think is important for people to understand is, having gotten to know you, I know what kind of guy you are, and you, like me, are concerned primarily with fairness, and with… I won’t use the J word because it’s so compromised these days, but really, I think you, like me, have a sense of right and wrong, and it’s that which motivates you. It’s certainly that, which motivates me, particularly in relation to the topic that we’re here to discuss today, which is Tesla.

TC:

Yes, absolutely. And nobody’s perfect, and we all have our strengths and weaknesses, but this entire Tesla story is really, I think, a profound metaphor for where the stock market in general and the economy is headed, and I think, actually, is a pretty good metaphor for a lot of things that are wrong in society.

TC:

And it’s really a fascinating story to watch, and so as the story unfolds, I think there are many lessons beyond just the name that can be drawn from it, and not the least of which is the evolution of social media and journalism and reporting on financial topics in general as well. And so, I think there’s an enormous amount of attention attached to the Tesla name, and for good reason. It’s a historic story, regardless of how it ends. I have a very strong belief into how it must eventually end. Certainly doesn’t seem that way as we record this today, but it is really, I think, a historic and a profound story stock for this generation and what we’re seeing in the markets today.

Grant Williams:

Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. And I’ve said in the past that, to me, the reason I’m so fascinated with it is, as you said, this wraps up everything about the world we live in. It’s celebrity culture, it’s story stocks, it’s authority, it’s whistleblowers, it’s free money, it’s zero cost to capitalists, it’s malinvestment, it’s everything, and that’s why I focus so squarely on it.

Grant Williams:

Now, I suspect a lot of people watching this… listening to this podcast, sorry, will know your story, but let’s do a quick skinny on your background, just so people understand who and what TESLAcharts is.

TC:

Sure. I joke around the office here that I used to be a person, and now I’m a Twitter account.

Grant Williams:

You’re an avatar, congratulations.

TC:

I’m an avatar, yes. And that’s actually a shift in the way people interact today, which is not unimportant, so it’s only a half joke. But as you know, I’m a trained scientist. I have a PhD in the physical sciences, and I started my career as a practicing scientist in the field of environmental technologies, and technologies that reduce carbon footprint, and/or solve other pollution issues, and did other things as well, transitioned away from the lab into management, had a decade-plus run in positions of increasing authority, got fed up with the corporate world a couple of years ago.

TC:

And around the time that I had transitioned out of the corporate world and into a more entrepreneurial life, I started TESLAcharts as a Twitter account. I started TESLAcharts predominantly because, as a scientist, the things that I was good at were understanding complexity, talking to people in different fields, and getting to the heart of the issue. But most importantly, I was able to visualize the context and the concepts of the science that was being done. And in particular, I had the strength of communicating complex scientific principles visually to non-scientists, investors, various other stakeholders in the company, as we fought for budgets and things like that.

TC:

And so, I’ve always had a strong passion for data visualization. And then my realization moment for Tesla was the solar shingle reveal in late 2016, when Elon presented to the world, what I know to be a fabricated product, full-blown, Theranos-style, fake product that was going to revolutionize the solar industry. It just happened to be something that I was pretty a good expert in, and I knew in the moment that that was complete fabrication. And it was sort of a life-changing moment. Clearly never anticipated changing my life in the way that it ultimately did, but once I watched that reveal, I couldn’t unsee it.

TC:

And so, for about a year and a half, I was a lurker on Twitter. There’s this whole phenomenon called FinTwit, Financial Twitter, which I know you’re very aware of, maybe some of your audience members aren’t. But this amazing, free-flowing, Wild West community of people who… and a mix of anonymous accounts and people acting as themselves, this amazing phenomenon of information-sharing, arguing, name-calling, but otherwise entertaining each other on Twitter, that I had been watching for about a year and a half.

TC:

And I decided that my participation could be data visualization around Tesla, almost as a joke. So I created this account called TESLAcharts, and I started the account, basically, making charts about Tesla’s financials. And that account was sort of muddling along, not really making much of an impact. It gathered a bit of an audience, but narrowly focused to people that were genuinely interested in Tesla and bearish on the name. And then all that changed famously, at least for me, when Elon Musk came after my account on Father’s Day of 2018 and blew the account up, and the rest is history, so now I’m a Twitter account.

Grant Williams:

Now you’re a Twitter account. Now, for me, I’ve been a fascinated observer for this whole thing, but I’ve kind of stayed out of the fray. My views are very clear. I’ve made documentaries about this, I’ve written about it multiple times. And my views are very clear, but I’ve always tried to engage the bulls. I’ve actively sought out bulls. When I did a podcast about this, I had Mark Spiegel on to give the bear case for Tesla, and I spent months trying to find a bull to put the other case to, so I’ve spent time getting information from Ross and Cathie and all the…

Grant Williams:

I definitely am not someone that just says, “I refuse to engage those guys,” and so what I’m hoping for this is, anybody listening to this who is a bull, but is at least reasonable and rational, to just listen to this conversation without writing this off, because for me, I’ve spent plenty of time talking to you and I’ve gotten to know you, I know the person behind the avatar, and that person is someone worth listening to, and someone who, despite all the brickbats and all the slings and arrows that are flying around in this Tesla world, looks at this stuff through a critical eye, not an obsessive eye, and tries to boil down what’s happening, and as you said, put it in a way that people can understand.

Grant Williams:

So I’m dearly hoping that, if there are any bulls listening to this, they can just sit back and listen to the conversation, and then make up their mind at the end of it. And if they’re still not troubled by any of the stuff we’re going to talk about, that’s absolutely great. And the one thing I think way too many people worry about with this, both shorts and longs, is the stock price. This is not about the stock price, so let’s put that to one side. It’s not a case of the stock price is going to zero, which is one argument. It’s not, hey, look at the stock price up at the two thousands. Let’s forget the stock price, and let’s talk about the company and the man, because I think that’s way more important than the stock price, particularly now.

Grant Williams:

So look, you set up TC’s Chartcast, I guess it must be about a year ago. You must be coming up on a year, based on the episode numbers. Is that right?

TC:

Little less than a year ago.

Grant Williams:

Little less, yeah.

TC:

Yeah, we launched, I think, in January, late-

Grant Williams:

Okay, so-

TC:

… December, January.

Grant Williams:

… we’re getting there, we’re getting there. So talk a little bit about the impetus behind that, and what you set out to do, and if that purpose has changed or morphed, or just the whole experience of doing the TC’s Chartcast.

TC:

Yeah, thanks, appreciate the opportunity to describe it. So first of all, the thing about Twitter, your strength is your weakness. You’re limited to 140 characters, and so that, on the one hand, forces you to distill your message to the essence of it, but on the other hand, in a real way, constrains you to limited characters and the ability to communicate a more thorough and complex message.

TC:

And so, we had been thinking about doing a podcast for a while, and I should say that the original idea to do it was my business partner’s idea. Her anonymous Twitter account is @georgia_orwell_. She’s really brilliant. And we co-created TC’s Chartcast with our editor and sound engineer at Evacuation Boy, and we have an in-house poet, PollsTesla. I want to make sure that I named the entire team, because it’s really a team effort.

Grant Williams:

Is there anything more pretentious for a podcast than an in-house poet? I love that.

TC:

Well, so it’s funny you should say that, because when we had conceived this, we did a study of the podcast market, and we had your old podcast, Adventures in Finance, in mind, and we also have studied what QTR is doing and what our good friend Demetri is doing over at Hidden Forces. And so, what’s left to be done that is new, because everyone has a podcast.

TC:

And so, the thing we decided to do was to create a podcast, sort of an NPR for skeptical investors. I’d say NPR for short sellers, but short seller has such a negative connotation [crosstalk 00:17:30]. So NPR for skeptical investors. And we had this loyal audience on Twitter, the TSLAQ community, which I know you’re very aware of, T-S-L-A-Q. But we didn’t want to make a Tesla podcast, so you’ll notice Tesla is not in the name of the podcast. It’s TC’s Chartcast.

TC:

And what we decided was, we’re going to have two attributes to the brand, which is really deeply intelligent discourse, like you’re doing now with your whole series of podcasts, The End Game, and Super Terrific Happy Hour, and The Narrative that you’re doing with Ben Hunt, but they would be very much guest-focused. And so, our whole strategy is, our podcast is for the guests. So the brand attributes were really deep, intelligent discourse centered around the guest, and exceptional sound quality, which is where Evacuation Boy comes in. He’s a magician with the audio files and making people sound great. And our definition of success for each and every podcast is, our guests are sharing that podcast with their friends and colleagues proudly.

TC:

And so, we started the show 42 episodes ago now, and our first guest was the infamous Montana Skeptic, who is another FinTwit legend, and who had famously been doxed by Elon Musk. And Elon attempted to have him fired for, of all things, writing negative articles about Tesla on Seeking Alpha, heaven forbid. So he was our first guest and he launched the show, and 42 episodes later, it’s been successful beyond our wildest imaginations. We have a very steady series of excellent guests and a pretty solid fan base. We’ve had yourself on twice, and we’re very grateful for you coming on the show.

TC:

We’ve had Trevor Milton, the CEO of Nikola, came on the show, which was great, we have spent about an hour and 45 minutes with him, and a whole variety of other characters on from FinTwit that otherwise might not have had a platform. So we try to mix it up between celebrities that bring an audience with them, and then people that we think should be celebrities based on the quality of their work, contrasting against perhaps the size of their social footprint, for a variety of reasons. And so, we’ve had anonymous FinTwit account owners on the show who are really brilliant, and people get to hear their voice and hear their stories for the first time. And so, the show has been wildly fun, and then I know we’re here to talk about a couple episodes that we just released earlier this week.

Grant Williams:

Yeah. I mean, just before we get to the two most recent episodes, which I listened to yesterday and truly found them gripping… I mean, gripping stories. It’s remarkable. We’ll get to that in a second, but I just want to talk a little bit more about the Chartcast, because it’s unfortunate that TC has become such a polarizing figure in the world in which you reside at the moment. And I understand the desire to branch out and try and engage people on both sides, because that’s really what this is all about.

Grant Williams:

And look, there’s some people you’re never going to reach, but I feel like all your conversations, whether they be talking specifically about Tesla, or short selling, or the markets, or regulation, have been just, as you said, wonderfully informative deep dives and a chance to really get to know a lot of really smart people. So kudos to both of you for that, Georgia too, because one, without the other, just, it would be less than half as good, so you guys do a tremendous job.

Grant Williams:

But these two episodes this week, episodes 41 and 42 with Karl Hansen, who is a rather famous now, Tesla whistleblower, truly were extraordinary pieces of work. I mean, I listened to all three hours straight through and was breathless at the end of it. I mean, it really does read like some kind of spy novel. It’s unbelievable, the stuff that was going on. So as soon as I heard that, I just figured, you know what, I haven’t done one of these podcasts without Ben or Bill or Steph, but this was worthy of one that just I could dig into with you. So thank you so much for agreeing, straight after that, to come and do this with me.

TC:

Absolutely. And maybe to set the scene for the audience, I could get into a little bit about who Karl is and-

Grant Williams:

Well, that’s exactly what I was going to ask you to do. You read my mind, so [crosstalk 00:21:50]-

TC:

One podcast host to another. We’re like the two Spider-Men pointing at each other here on the podcast, that gif. You have to be on Twitter to understand that joke, sorry.

TC:

So Karl Hansen, Karl Hansen is quintessential American, grew up in New York, after high school, went into the military, was a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne. You can’t make this up, right? And ultimately, did various things in the military, and found his way into security and investigations and crime investigations for various units within the military, and that’s sort of the apex of his career. He was a member of a pretty elite security team looking after the Department of Defense, secretary of defense, the head honcho of the secretary of defense, so he worked Donald Rumsfeld’s security detail, he worked Robert Gates’ security detail.

TC:

And very successful, very honorable, served his country with distinction, and then ultimately, found his way into Reno, Nevada for personal reasons, looking for work, and ended up getting a job, where else, but at Tesla, and at the Gigafactory as an investigator. And while his time at Tesla was quite short, I think it lasted maybe four or five months, the things that he uncovered during the infamous summer of 2018 were really quite remarkable. And so, he has blown the whistle on Tesla, was ultimately fired from Tesla and from the contractor that had given him a job after leaving Tesla, in what seems to be an obvious retaliation event. But he uncovered really, really amazing things, and he’s not the only one. His story confirms the reporting of several journalists and is consistent with several other whistleblowers as well.

TC:

And so, one of the reasons why we started the podcast is, once you build an audience, as we’ve done systematically, week by week, with high-quality discourse and high-quality audio, you have this platform that then you can use to give people the chance to tell their story in a holistic way that’s just not possible in today’s soundbite-driven, clickbait-driven financial media. And so, we’d gotten the podcast to the point where we were ready to expose the totality of Karl Hansen’s story to the world, and that’s what we did in episodes 41 and 42. And as you said it, as we were recording it in real time and then doing the editing afterwards, it’s really just a jaw-dropping story.

Grant Williams:

Well, listen, I mean, I go into these things and I will absolutely, happily admit that, many times, you’ll read whistleblowers or you’ll hear whistleblowers, and many times, they come off, disappointingly, as kind of kooky and kind of crazy. And you find yourself doubting, not necessarily the story, but they don’t have the weight and the gravitas sometimes that you need if you’re going to come and make accusations about this.

Grant Williams:

You need to look credible and sound credible and be a solid kind of person, because obviously, the benefit of the doubt is always given to the incumbents in these cases. To blow a whistle is a very brave thing to do because the burden of proof is on you, and nobody wants you to be right, and so you’re up against it from day one. But the one thing I thought about Karl was just how solid he was. He was credible, he was lucid, he had control of all the facts. There was just something about him that was rock solid. What did you find as you were listening to him tell that story?

TC:

Yeah, so I think that’s why it was important for us to set up his bio, both on the shows, and then here, for the people that are listening, because you don’t get to be on the security detail of Donald Rumsfeld if you’re a person of low character and limited intellect. He’s truly a very smart guy, a very honorable guy. And again, nobody’s perfect. We all live our lives and make our mistakes, and he’s probably made some in his life. But by and large, he’s a person who seems to care a lot about other people, care a lot about the country, and tried to do the right thing while at Tesla when he was, I would say, overwhelmed by the things he was seeing. And so, when we were listening to him, I agree with you.

TC:

And we wanted to make sure that we prepared well. We gave him the platform consistent with the mission of our podcast. He was emailing me yesterday, how proud he was of the podcast, and how great it turned out, and how grateful he was, both for the opportunity, but then also the quality of the final product, because it really was the first time in years that anybody with a semblance of a platform gave him the full opportunity to express the entirety of his story, no commercials, no interruptions, intelligent discourse, follow-up questions, skeptical questions, clarifying questions, the whole nine yards. And he stood up, I think, quite well, given the fact that he’s not a professional communicator. That’s the other thing we’ve learned in doing this podcast is, we have people like-

TC:

In doing this podcast is we have people like you and it’s sort of one take. And it’s a very easy show and you’re brilliant and it’s great. For people that don’t do this regularly, it can be very difficult. And so one of the big attributes of our show is we are an incredibly guest-friendly show. We prepare you, there’s no ahas. We discuss things in advance. He had sent a stack of documents that would blow your mind that we couldn’t even get into on the podcast, to back up his case and to show the validity of the things he was going to say. And we’re sort of citizen journalists and we don’t want to put anything out there that’s provably incorrect. There’s always going to be some speculation, but the facts that he shared with us really aligned incredibly well with the story he told on the podcast. And so our ability, I think as a team, the four of us, to create a platform where guests like him, who aren’t professional communicators, feel comfortable calmly telling their story in a relatively risk-free environment, really worked for those two episodes.

Grant Williams:

No, it really did. And I think a big part of this conversation you and I are having is not to circumvent people listening to that, because everybody listening to this should listen to both those episodes in full and hear Carl tell the story, because it’s extraordinary. The detail is amazing and the various threads of it are frankly incredibly disconcerting, given some of the stuff that we’ll get onto a bit later on in terms of the way the world is going right now. But just, if you can, frame Carl’s story for us, not in such a way that everyone is not going to go and listen to him tell it, because they absolutely should, but just there will be people that want the Cliff Notes before we dive into discussing them. So just give that story if you can.

TC:

Sure. And I don’t mind if this is the only listen that people give to it, we’ve had a very good start to the podcast. The downloads are quite excellent. The manner in which people consume information today is such that maybe they’ll just hear it here, and that’s fine, but I’ll sketch the arc of his story, which is really incredible. The first thread, the pull, is this massive organized alleged theft of copper predominantly and other raw materials out of the Gigafactory. And the scale of this is really truly remarkable. And this is all occurring in the spring-summer of 2018, just to give everyone a bit of a benchmark. And this is at the heart of the mess that Tesla was going through around the attempted scale-up of the production of the Model 3, 5,000 cars per week, et cetera.

TC:

Elon had famously made several promises to investors, both on earnings calls and also in documents used to raise money. He had raised some debt, promising really as is Elon’s way, seemingly unachievable objectives and promising them as though they were going to happen for sure. And then the pressure that sort of creates on the teams under senior management to get those things accomplished can lead to corner-cutting and all kinds of chaos and things like that. As an outside observer of Elon’s leadership style during that period, I felt like I knew that it had to be massively chaotic inside.

TC:

One of the elements of the chaos is there seems to be a coordinated and organized theft of copper materials on a scale that boggles the mind. Just to benchmark the audience, Elon claimed in a conference call in June of 2018 that there was at least $37 million, possibly a lot more, of missing raw materials. And if you think that the majority of that is copper at $3 a pound, that’s 12 million pounds of copper. I did a back of the envelope calculation, it’s probably about 500 trucks of copper being stolen, which is almost unimaginable.

TC:

And so he started to pull the string on this theft and one of the things that he sort of encountered in all the whistleblowers and Tesla sort of have the same story, which is internal resistance to uncovering the truth and a maniacal focus internally on making sure none of this gets out to the media, and most importantly, it doesn’t impact the stock price. And so there’s sort of a fine line between circling the wagons and covering up fraud. And I don’t know where this falls on that line. I have some suspicions, but it’s very clear that there’s a lot of weird stuff going on.

TC:

Another thing that he uncovers is an operation to make fake badges. Now that we should tell the audience, the Gigafactory is not worth Tesla makes, makes it’s cars. It’s, it’s where it makes its batteries in partnership with Panasonic. And so the Gigafactory is a giant factory based in Nevada that houses both Panasonic and Tesla’s battery operations, Panasonic makes battery cells, which it sells in the same building to Tesla, which puts those cells into battery packs, which then gets shipped to Fremont and get put into the cars. And so Carl is working investigative security at the Gigafactory in Nevada in this time period where all of this copper is being stolen. And then he uncovers that there is a fake badge operation at scale. So there’s people making fraudulent badges so that criminal elements can come and go into the Gigafactory. Essentially the factory is wide open and there’s a lot of dangerous materials, flammable materials, and so on being handled there.

TC:

And so that alone should have been a serious red flag internally. And then the story shifts to even more bizarre, the drug enforcement agency apparently allegedly had given a tip to Tesla about wide scale drug court, a Mexican cartel activity operating from within the Gigafactory. And Carl had begun to do sort of a standard investigatory con contact tracing and contact mapping and notice that there was a lot of overlap between some of the individuals that were involved in the theft. Some of the individuals that had either real or fake badges to access the Gigafactory and this drug activity and began to piece together in his mind, at least what he thought was an overarching sort of theory as to what’s actually going on here. And it doesn’t take too much of a conspiracy theorist to connect the dots if you know what I mean.

TC:

And so, as he is, and this is all sort of happening simultaneously, as he is beginning to pull the string on the cartel activity, he sort of develops a theory that some lithium precursors to the battery technology that’s being operated at the Gigafactory, some lithium precursors to the batteries is a valuable input into some drug synthesis in particular, the synthesis of super meth. And he’s making connections to the mines in Sonoma, Mexico, that Tesla and Panasonic are acquiring their lithium materials from. And it’s around that time that perhaps coincidentally, he has access to internal documents within Tesla is being limited. And he’s being moved out of Tesla ultimately sort of fired from Tesla, but hired from a contractor that is still serving Tesla. He then goes on to file a whistleblower complaint with the SEC. That complaint, I believe alleges that the theft and missing scrap materials was not properly accounted for in Tesla’s financials in 2018.

TC:

He does the sensible thing in that he tells Tesla that he’s filed this complaint and the day after that, he informed Tesla that he filed this complaint, he’s confronted by Elon Musk directly at a guard shed of all places.” And if you read the complaint, a what sounds like a death threat was made something along the lines of, I don’t care what you do with them. You can take them up to the hills and hide him.” And then he is subsequently fired from the whole scene. And so that’s sort of the first half that captures episode 41 of the podcast and the story only gets stranger from there.

Grant Williams:

Yeah, it really does. So let me just unpack a bit of that and these are kind of the questions that I’ve got as I’m listening to it. Firstly was Carl working for Tesla when you put the whistleblower complaint in or was he a contractor at that point?

TC:

It’s around the time where he was fired from Tesla, but given a new position at the contractor, serving Tesla’s security team. If I had to guess sitting here, he was a contractor at that point.

Grant Williams:

Right. So, you know, the obvious pushback on this is always going to be disgruntled employee, right? The guy lost his job. And this is the easiest kind of a way for a company to characterize anyone that does this because generally these things tend to happen immediately after someone’s left the company. Now I didn’t get a sense of that from him. Did you get any sense of that? Did you speak to him about that off air? Because to me that was the one thing that wasn’t dealt with in your conversation with them was the whole disgruntled employee angle.

TC:

Given the totality of what’s happened to him, he is remarkably undisgruntled.

Grant Williams:

He’s gruntled. He’s positively gruntled.

TC:

He’s positively gruntled. So I would say that I also did not get that impression and look as an executive, I’ve seen all kinds of things. I’ve seen people blow the whistle. I’ve been part of investigations. You understand how these things have been flowing. He didn’t strike me as the quintessential looking for a puddle in the supermarket to trip on so I can sue the grocery store. And also he did share with me some documents that I think are pretty damning, that we didn’t have a chance to get into on the podcast. Not the least of which was a very long email he wrote to Elon Musk on August 3rd, six days prior to his officially filing his SEC whistleblower complaint. This is a pretty explosive email. He lays it all out. It’s very clear he copied a bunch of powerful people inside of Tesla.

TC:

They knew or should have known the things he was alleging because he put it in writing. And that’s the kind of thing that you do when you know that you’re in trouble and the end is near. So he writes this email to Elon on August 3rd, he files his whistleblower complaint on August 9th. Don’t forget the 420 Tweet is right in the middle of this on August 7th, I believe 2018, where Elon goes onto Twitter and fakes a buyout offer of Tesla funding secured so that the chaos in Elon’s life in August of 2018 is pretty remarkable. And I don’t know if those things are related, but he files his whistleblower complaint on the 9th. By that point, he’s almost certainly a contractor. And then on the 29th, he informs Tesla that he filed this SEC whistleblower complaint, which is proper protocol actually.

TC:

And that should have, at any other company on the planet, certainly would have been the case that any company that I’ve worked at in the past, should have triggered internal systems of controls where whistleblowers would be protected servings. Obviously a key part of Sarbanes-Oxley that flowed out of the last financial crisis is to enable and protect whistleblowers because the power misbalanced between a powerful CEO and frontline employees who see the criminality going on was deemed by Congress to be so out of whack that they needed to codify this in law. And in fact, key section of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act makes it a felony to retaliate against identified whistleblowers. So he did everything properly. He’s an investigator, he knows the rules. He filed his whistleblower complaint. He notified Tesla and the next day Elon confronts him and he is removed from his job and go hide him in the hills is said.

TC:

And to me that’s pretty clear cut, whistleblower retaliation. You just don’t do that. And actually this might not seem like the biggest deal to most people, but to me as a former executive, that really jumped out at me as wow. I can’t believe there are no controls inside of Tesla that would prevent the CEO from retaliated against a contractor whistleblower at his job level. It’s pretty remarkable. You kind of have to be a corporate insider to understand the consequences of that, but anybody else doing anything remotely close to that in any respectable company would be fired immediately. Can you imagine Mary Barra retaliating against a whistleblower at GM?

Grant Williams:

Well, it’s interesting because when you talk about there being no controls in place at Tesla, I would argue there probably are controls in place at Tesla, but they stop one level too low. That seems to be the problem here, right? This is a pattern that we’ve seen with tweets. And we’ve seen with, PIDO claims. We’ve seen all this stuff come through, which is Elon. It’s not Tesla. And there is a difference between Tesla and Elon, but unfortunately the man has very much become the company. And so when you look at incidents like this, this to me, as I look at it, I don’t equate this to be Tesla. I equate this to be Elon being vengeful.

Grant Williams:

Elon, as you said, you’re confronting a whistleblower and to hell with the rules. And, and it seems as though there aren’t any adults in the room big enough and strong enough to actually slap him on the wrist, which in some ways I understand. And in other ways, I just wonder what it would take for some of these guys to actually say, I’m walking away from this. I mean, we’ve seen several do that. But how much of a problem is Elon to the company and if he was away from that company, how different would things be?

TC:

All right, let me correct you a bit, and this comes again from personal experience. No respectable executive is going to persist in that kind of culture. And there are many executives there. And I would argue that means what you’re getting is a distillation of the types of people that are either “yes” people and will never speak up or I think more correctly and more perversely, people that take that behavior and mirror it. And so actually I think what’s left that Tesla are only people in either of those two categories, unwilling to have the courage to stand up for what’s right or demonstrate it to Elon, a willingness to manage in the same style. And there’s a reason why you’ve not seen a senior executive of consequence joined Tesla in, and all of their senior positions now are filled with people who were promoted from within.

TC:

The types of people that survive and distill up into a culture created by somebody like him ends up. Basically, I think pervasively filling every leadership position in the company. And so yes, it is ultimately the responsibility falls from him, but if you’re a leader at Tesla in 2018, watching all of this going on and not only did you stay, but you progressed, what does that say about you?

Grant Williams:

Why is it, you think, I’ve often wondered this, why have we not seen any higher level ex-Tesla employees come out after the fact, there’s probably non-competes, or is this all just a big game about the stock price now? And the money they’re making? Is everybody just keeping quiet? Because you would think at some point there would be people who have vested their shares, have sold them, have made their money and are in a position to say, “Okay, you know what was happening there, three, four years ago when I was there.” I’m surprised that we haven’t seen that yet.

TC:

Who says we haven’t? They may have blown the whistle at the SEC and the SEC has done nothing about it. I’ve heard rumors to that effect. I’m sure you’ve heard them as well. There’s a lot of senior leaders that were in and out of there pretty quickly, including a pretty well-known general counsel, Dane Butswinkas. Who knows what he saw and what he said or what the former CFO, Jason Wheeler has said. We just don’t know. And it’s not like the current Securities and Exchange Commission has a robust track record of enforcing securities laws at high-profile companies. So I would say that’s a TBD, Grant. I suspect that the following phenomenon is at work: nobody wants to go first and everybody wants to go second. And so when the pin is pulled and I do think the stock price is the only thing that’s keeping this thing together, which is why he’s so maniacal about it, you’re going to see an avalanche of ex-employees reporters who have been sitting on stories or have had their stories spiked by editors. All those stories will suddenly come out.

TC:

It will be an avalanche. And that’s my prediction. And I think contrary to the sort of like, Hey, that’s too big of a thing. Somebody would’ve come forward. Well, who will come forward? Look at what’s happened to Carl Hanson. Look at what’s happened to Marty Tripp. Look, it’s what look at what’s happened to PAC Watson or, or to Christina Balan or the other whistleblowers that have had their lives ruined. You know, on our podcast, we had Anna Watson, I call her Pac Watson because that’s her Twitter handle. She was a nurse, a medical professional in Tesla’s clinic. And they called child protective securities on her in retaliation because she was highlighting what she felt were very serious shortcomings in the treatment of the employees that work at Tesla.

TC:

We gave her that platform. We’ve had Tesla customers on the show that Tesla basically ruined their home. What’s happened to them while they’ve been harassed online and the goons have started up the goon squad and their lives are ruined. And so it’s not an easy thing to be a whistleblower, especially when you don’t think the authorities care and the President of the United States comes out and says, “We have to protect our genius.” It’s not clear. And if you have made your money on the stock, what’s in it for you, go buy an Island somewhere and live the rest of your life quietly. Nobody wants to be in this tornado. And we can talk about the things that have happened to me, which pale in comparison to what’s happened to whistleblowers, but there’s no easy thing to run Tesla charts. In hindsight, I probably wish I hadn’t started it. It’s too late now. But you know, to go up against a powerful person who has money, ill gotten her otherwise, and is willing to spend it to destroy his enemies is no small thing.

Grant Williams:

Well, you put a fascinating thread out on Twitter a week or so ago, which talked a little bit about that. It was the first I’d seen it and we haven’t had the chance to talk about it. So, as you said, it’s not on the same level as, as Marty or Carl or Christine or any of these guys, but talk a little about your own experience because from what I saw, it’s very real and it’s very threatening and it’s incredibly disconcerting. What’s what’s been happening.

TC:

When I started Tesla charts, it was a social media experiment, tied to an investment. I’ve been short Tesla. People should know that I’ve been shorted, predominantly through puts. Haven’t traded it much this year, as you just sort of stand back and watch the thing go up 5% every day unrelentingly. But I’m financially interested in Tesla stock going down and that should be disclosed. When Elon first came after the account, famously on father’s day in 2018 and he asked me, “How big is your short position? Just curious.” My answer to him was, as it is today, “It’s modest. Thanks for asking. It’s mostly a social media experiment.” He came back at me a few more times. That sort of set off a series of events that have just continued. So we’ve had my Twitter account was hacked a hundred times.

TC:

Let’s say unsuccessfully until basically I implemented far better security, two factor authentication and things like that. We’ve had my Apple account was hacked, even though the email and phone number associated with my Apple account had nothing to do with the Twitter account. Now you could say that’s a coincidence. Maybe it is. I’ve had multiple strange vehicles parked outside of my house with people in them. On two occasions, I walked up towards those cars to try to confront them and they drove off. On two other occasions, I noticed recorded with my iPhone cars, scoping my house. And, and you have to understand without giving away too many details about me, I live at a location where it would be highly unusual for somebody to be randomly driving around my house. And I live in a neighborhood where I know all the cars. And at least four times I’ve personally observed people that I believe were scoping my property.

TC:

I have children, I have a wife, we have a happy home. I would appreciate it if my home wasn’t disturbed. And then I have professional associations in my real life. Tesla charts is not my job. I run a business with my business partner, Georgia, and a professional associate of mine who runs an entity, started receiving unsolicited, electronic communication, warning them about my involvement with their entity because I was Tesla charts. And then four days later, their entire email system was hacked. And somebody tried to wire, I think it was $50,000 from their internal bank accounts to an offshore bank account. Now they were unsuccessful because the people that run that organization happened to know I’m Tesla Charts and happened to agree with my assessment of Tesla and Elon. And we’re on high alert after having received that unsolicited, electronic communication warning them, that their association with me was ill-considered.

TC:

Now again, do I have proof that any of these things are tied to Tesla? Not certain, it’s a lot of coincidences. Do I have proof that this isn’t just maybe crazy fanboys or fangirls of Tesla that are just sort of trying to get back at Tesla Charts? I don’t know. I just know that since I started this account, a continual series of very odd things have transpired. It’s not yet escalated to the point where I feel unsafe, but it’s pretty fascinating to live through. And again, it pales in comparison to what other whistleblowers have gone through. And frankly, since I put the thread out, it seems to have all stopped, which is an interesting data point. And is frankly why I put the thread out because I just wanted them to know that I have a platform and my intent is to use that platform to defend myself.

Grant Williams:

Well, so let’s talk about what all this is about, right? Because as I said, everything gets pinned around the stock price and there’s a belief on the part of the bulls that everybody who’s a skeptic of Tesla is short the stock every day of their lives and is constantly losing money and never does think about that position. And everybody on the skeptic side assumes that all the bulls are just rabid fanboys that will buy anything of mason and have no understanding what they’re doing. I mean, the truth, obviously somewhere in the middle now for most of the bears and I’ve spoken to just about all the high profile bears and compared notes to them and talked about trading and talked about the stock and stuff. It seems to me that for the last year, most of the shorts have barely been in the stock at all.

Grant Williams:

They’ve kind of realized that there’s a time to back off. They’re not backing off their opinions about the company or the man, but they’re not necessarily putting money to work in that, in that scenario. And that to me has been the differentiating factor from the bulls and the bears, the bears, I think for many of them it began about money and it’s now become a point of principle. Whereas for the bulls, I don’t think it was ever about money. It was all about the mission. They just happen to have gotten rich along the way. And that’s really just kind of fortified not only their belief in the whole thing, but their determination to see it through. Is that a fair characterization, do you think?

TC:

Yeah. And I think we’ll see how many of them stay rich. I congratulate them all. One of the fascinating parts about this is why people care about the bears short position. Like, why do you care whether I’m short the stock or made or lost money? I could care less if Ross Gerber made a ton of money and sold out at the top. Good for him. He did well by his clients. He clearly got it, right. I couldn’t be more wrong. I’ve been very transparent about that. Of course, insanity is pounding your head against a brick wall and expecting a different result. And like you, I long ago stopped shorting the name in any kind of size. I dabbled a little bit. I think my last trade was a very small swing trade and in June, but I’ve, I’ve completely missed the run-up to whatever we are now on a split adjusted basis, $2,400 a share, which is just amazing.

TC:

The sort of focus on the stock price, I think is critical to, to the narrative. And we can talk about that, but by and large, the vast majority of bulls-eye now, either aren’t shorting it or got on the call, gravy train and started making money on the way up. But I’ve learned a very valuable lesson from our mutual friend and a guy I got, we had on our podcast, Mark Cohodes, which is there’s a time to short and you’ll know it. And now it was nowhere near the time to short. And in fact, if I look at my personal trading results this year, and again, trading is a very small part of what I do, and it’s just sort of a enough sort of like skin in the game to make it interesting. Almost all of the money I’ve made this year is shorting stocks just as they go bankrupt.

TC:

And you could miss the stock declined from $40 to a $1.50, but if you can do your homework and study the distress debt and do your own analysis of when coupon payments are due, you can make just as much money shorting a stock from a $1.50 to 20 cents as you do from $40 to a $1.50. And I learned that listening to some of your podcasts, and also becoming friends with Cohodes and learning how he shorts and sort of just developing my own niche. And so between that and gold, I’ve made way more money this year, in the stock market than I’ve lost trading Tesla. But I’ve lost trading Tesla and I wish I hadn’t. If I had all the money back that I had lost over the last couple of years trading Tesla, I’d be slightly happier.

TC:

… I had lost, over the last couple of years, trading Tesla, I’d be slightly happier. But I don’t have it. But it doesn’t matter to me, I would never risk an amount of money that would be material to my lifestyle, which means I can never make a material amount of money that would change my lifestyle. And it’s not really been about the stock, from the beginning all the way back to my answer to Elon, in 2018, it’s a modest position, thanks for asking. None of your business actually but it is what it is. And then, there’s this whole weird phenomenon in the financial press and the bulls play to that, which is, somehow it’s evil to be short a company and it’s virtuous to be long one, even if that company is a fraud. I would argue that, short selling is just as legitimate and more difficult than long selling, that the average short seller has a pretty sharp IQ.

TC:

They might not be too smart to be a short seller for a living, in the type of environment we’re in but it’s actually harder to make money shorting stocks, it’s easy to just set it and forget it on the long side. But there is nothing evil about short selling and just like there’s nothing evil about buying stock. And, to me, there’s no difference between a short and distort campaign and a pump and dump, both are wrong. One happens to use short selling and the other happens to use the long side. But if you follow the securities laws, there’s absolutely no difference between selling a stock short, that you think is overvalued and buying a stock long, that you think is undervalued. To me, they’re the same thing.

Grant Williams:

Oh, well put. You mentioned there the narratives, let’s just talk about the narrative. And this wraps in the narrative around the Elon, the narrative around what he’s supposedly doing for mankind but it also involves the narrative being created and fostered by the financial media. Because I’ve been absolutely amazed at the coverage that both the company and the man have gotten. Either they’ve got PR guys doing a truly extraordinary job or everybody in the financial media is totally captive to this. And is he in on this whole thing or completely blind to basic questions that guys like David Einhorn are asking and not getting answers to that, anyone with the financial background that a lot of these journalists claim to have, may ask him the same questions that the shorts are.

TC:

So, I’ve become a huge fan, thanks to you, of Ben Hunt and the Epsilon Theory and in his newsletter and his podcast appearances. And his focus on the narrative was really an aha moment for me. So, what’s the narrative on Elon? Here it is in one sentence. Elon is a crazy genius that is trying to save the world. I would argue, neither of those is true. And so, if a narrative is so prolific in its saturation in society, like Elon is a crazy genius trying to save the world, it has to have been the consequence of, what I would call, planned propaganda. And so, let’s take them apart. Let me ask you a serious question and I mean this in all seriousness. And you’re well read, you’ve studied the Tesla name, you’ve written about it, you’ve done documentaries. Have you ever once heard him say anything intelligent?

Grant Williams:

No. Honestly, I haven’t. Now, I’ve heard stuff that he’s said that, a small part of me thinks, well, maybe that’s above my pay grade but really, I then think, no, you’re trying to create something here because it doesn’t make any sense and you’re trying to figure out why you feel so stupid.

TC:

Well, I’m a trained scientist and my expertise was in the solar field and he’s never said anything intelligent about solar technology. In fact, I would argue, he said many dumb things about solar. Every expert, in the verticals that he’s participating in, autonomy, automotive, manufacturing, tunneling, now neuroscience, they would all agree, they’ve never heard him say anything profound or intelligent, ever, not once. And in fact, when you listen to the earnings calls, actually, sometimes he doesn’t even sound lucid. It’s difficult for him to string together cohesive thoughts. Now, on the flip side, he has said many profoundly dumb things about technology. And I’m just going to say it, some of the things he has said about technology are ludicrous, on their face, almost to the point where you wonder whether he’s joking but he’s not, he’s being very serious.

TC:

And so, he says things all the time that are provably false or unintelligent. And yet, we are to be told and we are to believe, through the saturation propaganda, that he is the smartest person on the planet. Now, I don’t know what you would call somebody who never says anything intelligent and routinely says dumb things but I wouldn’t call him the smartest person on the planet. And in fact, I would call them below average intelligence and I could tell, you in my former career, as you know, I managed more than 1,000 scientists at a time. I’d like to joke back then that, I made a market in genius. I hired, developed, promoted, many, many brilliant PhD scientists from MIT, Caltech, Berkeley, Stanford, you name it. And I’m not saying you have to have a PhD from those places to be brilliant but getting one from there is a pretty good sign.

TC:

I know what raw intellectual horsepower looks like. And I know what a genius is and this man ain’t that, this is actually quite the opposite. If you never say anything intelligent and routinely say things that are unintelligent, that doesn’t make you the world’s smartest genius. So, that’s one. Let’s take the half of the narrative. He is out to save the world. He commutes to work in a jet. And you and I can have a whole separate discussion and I think we will someday, about environmental science and the profound principles required to truly create a high standard of living for humankind at minimal damage to the planet. Battery electric vehicles, while somewhat beneficial in narrow ways, are far from the best allocation of our limited resources to impact a high standard of living on the planet at minimal damage to the planet.

TC:

It’s easy to demonstrate that plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are a far superior alternative to the EVs. But the guy, like everything, he literally is, if you Googled it, he’s probably the executive that flies most on a private jet on the planet. Now, how was it that leadership? And then, on top of that, the cult. Any other electric vehicles they attack, so if you’re truly genuinely concerned about the planet, why do you care whether or not the Volkswagen ID3 will be successful or not? And then, it’s just one thing after another with this guy and his environmental bonafides. If you think about the problem of environmental impact on the planet, there’s something called, cost curve. How do you get the biggest bang for the buck?

TC:

Electric vehicles just aren’t high on the list, there’s far easier, more profound things that we can do as a society to increase everyone’s lifestyle at minimal damage to the planet. And then, if you just look at the conditions around Fremont and the OSHA violations that Ed Niedermeyer has described in the paint shop and the trash heap around the tents, where the cars are made. Everywhere you look, this is the opposite of what it’s proclaimed to be. Now, I think this is by design and part of the con and I think, crazy genius for the environment is the con. And let’s do a thought experiment that proves that. Imagine the CEO of an oil and gas company faked the buyout offer onto it, what would happen to them?

Grant Williams:

Well, we all know what would happen. They would not get a slap on the wrist and- [crosstalk 01:02:18].

TC:

They’d be in jail.

Grant Williams:

Yeah. Exactly right.

TC:

And so, the fact that he is EV genius, EV genius, EV Jesus, they call him Electric Jesus, on Twitter, he’s the genius who needs to be protected because he’s trying to save the environment. Well, if that’s all a previously planned defense mechanism against, basically, committing fraud, it’s beautiful and it works. So, he can call a guy a pedo and get away with it because he’s a crazy genius. CNBC can cheerlead for his various fraudulent activities because he’s trying to save the planet. And the classic counter to the bears on the name from the bulls is, you don’t care about the environment. Well, let me ask you a question. How can you claim to care about the environment but always brag about the 0 to 60 times? How does getting somewhere slightly faster and more dangerously help the planet? So, to counter the bulls, I personally and somewhat famously, on Twitter, I tweet about it all the time, I bought a Chevy Volt.

TC:

It is a very affordable, nondescript, plug-in hybrid electric vehicle that gets 50 miles on the battery before a backup engine kicks in, so I don’t have to worry about range anxiety. The vast majority of my days, I don’t drive 50 miles. It plugs into my wall at night and slowly charges overnight, while I sleep. And in so doing, for a very modest amount of money compared to the cost of a Tesla, I have eliminated 98% of my emissions from gasoline. Now, I’ve not eliminated all my emissions by charging it with electricity because the electricity is generated with fossil fuels and that’s a topic for another day but same story with the Teslas. And so, the solution exists. And by the way, it is not a very fast car, I’m not going to be drag racing in my Chevy Volt. I am someone who cares about the environment and I bought a car, with a modest amount of money, that solves the problem. The technology exists. 0 to 60 time proves that the people that are buying Tesla don’t actually care about the environment, they care about appearing to care about the environment.

Grant Williams:

I think that’s pretty clear to me too, I’ve come to that same conclusion. But let’s talk about how this narrative is perpetuated and the amount of buy-in. Now, do you think it is really just an extension of the times we live in where, it’s woke to be pro Elon and pro Tesla and no one dares to actually call him out on it because you’d seem to be one of those bad guys? Or is this idea of it being protected? Does this go deep into the media to make sure that articles are killed? I know you’ve had some fascinating experiences with search engine optimization.

TC:

It’s all of the above. So, the legs of the stool all need to support each other. It’s easy to dismiss short selling because short sellers are bad. It’s easy to dismiss Tesla critics because they don’t care about the environment. And also, it’s very clear that if you accumulate a lot of money, however you got it, and you’re willing to recycle some of it back to expensive white shoe lawyers and paid PR firms, you can protect yourself and that’s what’s going on here. The SEC, the regulatory permissiveness of the current regime, I think, is a key input into all of this. And really this went into turbo drive after he got off the hook on the 4/20 tweet. You can’t have a more blatant version of securities fraud for all the world to see. And the pretzels that Jay Clayton, we should name names, the pretzels that Jay Clayton twist himself into to let him off the hook were remarkable.

TC:

So, what message did that send the world? We had Kuppy on our podcast and we had a long discussion about, fraud creates alpha. It’s very clear that there are no consequences for committing fraud, as Marc Cohodes would say, who’s going to stop it? So, it’s not just Tesla, they just happened to be, I believe, a pioneer in the space and a prolific user of the advantages presented to them or created by them. But if you look, recently, the Valiant CEO, the ex CEO Valiant, got off with a slap on the wrist. You couldn’t have a more profound example and he got nothing. He kept most of the money he made and is living a great life. Didn’t even have to admit that he did anything wrong.

Grant Williams:

Wrongdoing, yeah.

TC:

We see it over and over. You look at Kodak, like you and Ben Hunt talked about on your last podcast, which was great. The grift series of Epsilon Theory has been fantastic and frustrating all at the same time and you see it. And so, not to get too altruistic on you but I do believe that the Tesla story is a metaphor for a deeper cultural rot that is driving inequality in the country, enabled by a combination of loose monetary policies on the part of the fed and critically, very permissive regulatory regime. Where we have the revolving door of SEC employees angling for jobs when they leave government, at the same white shoe law firms that are representing the types of Elon Musk.

Grant Williams:

This, it’s been going on for a while now and I constantly find myself rewatching that George Carlin bit about, it’s a big club and you ain’t in it. And it feels that way now but it feels as though the wrongdoing is achieving the scale that truly boggles the mind. You think that these things happen in darkness, in the shadows but for some reason, lately, it seems like, the bigger you are and the more public you can be with this stuff, the safer you are.

TC:

Well, let’s just take Elon. So, Elon got away with 4/20 and after having gotten away with it, went on 60 Minutes and said, I do not respect the SEC. Got away with that. And then, recently, went on Twitter and instructed Jay Clayton to perform oral sex on him, I’m saying it politely.

Grant Williams:

Yes you are. More politely than Elon did.

TC:

What message does that send to other aspiring fraudsters, as it pertains to how they should be afraid of the SEC? There was a time where the existence of an SEC investigation would cause a stock to crater.

Grant Williams:

Yeah, absolutely.

TC:

Now, it causes stocks to fly. Hey, we have a CEO willing to commit fraud and we know that the SEC is not going to do anything. So, let’s put our money behind this guy or gal, it’s mostly guys, interestingly. Oh, I shouldn’t say that, Elizabeth Holmes. But by and large, today in this market, if the market thinks that you’re committing fraud, you’re probably going to get a bump in your stock price.

TC:

Now, this is, I believe, not to get too philosophical. The massive gulf of inequality that we’re seeing is an input into, certainly doesn’t help some of the struggles we’re having as a society, I believe. And I don’t know why Wall Street thinks this is ultimately going to end well. So, for example, just take what happened this week with NIO, this Chinese launch vehicle startup, that’s a shell of a company, it’s a Chinese ADR. We’re in the middle of phase two of the China hustle. None of these Chinese ADR stocks, I think, are legitimate and Wall Street continues, for a small vig, continues to enable US-based investors to give money to senior leaders of the Chinese Communist Party. The old expression from Lennon is, when we need the rope from the capitalist to hang them, they’ll sell it to us.

TC:

It’s outrageous to me that, Morgan Stanley would underwrite a raise for NIO this week to the tune of $1.8 billion, where the stated intent of that money is to, basically, pay off local Chinese investors, it’s not even to help the company grow. And here you go, they upsized it, 100 million shares at $17 a share in change and there you have it. And as long as they collect their fees, underwriters are willing to bring anything to the market, without concern for what ultimately happens after the race. And I don’t think that’s healthy, well, I know it’s not healthy. It might be healthy in the short-term for some of the bankers and God bless them but for the country, no. This isn’t capitalism, by the way. And I understand why people on the left would argue that capitalism is failing us. I would argue that, this isn’t capitalism, it’s a perversion of capitalism.

TC:

And capitalism isn’t libertarianism. You need a very strong regulatory governmental body, that is a pure referee, that calls balls and strikes as they see them. That’s not what’s happening today. What’s happening today is, anything goes. It took Jay Clayton going on CNBC to stop Hertz from doing the first ever initial bankrupt offering, it’s just really remarkable. That was, apparently, the line too far. So, now we know where the line is. There will be no consequences for the attempt, there should be. All of the people involved in that have professional obligations to the investor community, that in the past would have caused them to be shunned for even attempting to do it. But today, in today’s market, if you commit fraud, your stock will go up.

Grant Williams:

Is there an argument to say that, and again, as someone who’s spent his entire career inside financial markets, to me, it’s obvious just how fragile the financial system is right now. It’s never been more fragile in my 35 odd years of doing this. And obviously, optically, if you haven’t spent a lifetime immersed in it, it looks, on the outside, like it’s things have never been stronger. Markets are all time high, shaking off the pandemic, shaking off the poor economics. Have we reached the point where those inside understand that, to do anything that would cause markets to reassess themselves, to reassess companies the size of Tesla, would actually be far too dangerous to do because of the fallout and so, you’ve got to hold your nose and let them get away with it?

TC:

Well, I think that escape velocity and too big to fail are the terms that I’ve used to describe the attempt, that’s what clearly is being attempted here, which is, every single day the stock goes up, there’s massive out of the money call buying, get bigger, get bigger, get bigger. Notice he hasn’t bought anybody with this so-called valuable currency. There’s no question that the attempt to try to use aggressive accounting, let’s be generous, use aggressive accounting to produce four consecutive quarters of “profit,” to try to get themselves into the SNP. This is all part of a, I think, a premeditated plan to become too big, to fail, in an effort to achieve escape velocity on what’s going on here. But I would make a finer point to what you just said.

TC:

And you will know this because you wrote about it in your latest, brilliant, things that make you go hmm newsletter. The markets, actually, aren’t going up. A few very high profile, very large stocks, are going up. And an analogy to the vast chasm that we’re seeing in the wealth inequality among individuals, we’re seeing the exact same phenomenon happen in the stock market. So, unless you’re big, you can’t issue bonds but if you’re big enough, you can’t do anything wrong. And so, you’re seeing, simultaneously, the indices are reaching all time highs but the breadth of that move is very, very weak. And concurrent with the indices at an all-time high, we’re seeing record levels of bankruptcies. Why is that? I think that’s because, per Mike Green and your brilliant podcast on The End Game with him, I think it was episode three.

TC:

We’re seeing more and more of the flows going to fewer and fewer of the names and we’re seeing these massively silly valuations going on. Say what you want about Tesla, you cannot say that a car company is worth $1.3 million for every car that it sold in the past year. [crosstalk 01:14:43]. When the history books are written, everyone will laugh and say, ha ha ha, that was the easiest short ever. Well, in the moment, it ain’t. But in the long run of history, it’s very clear what’s going on here. But the underbelly of the market is right on the edge. And then, I gave some thought after reading your letter last night and in preparation for today, one of the big phenomenon that we’re seeing today is, this flight of people from the cities. And so, you’re seeing a boom in housing. So, in aggregate, you’re seeing higher than expected economic activity because people are rearranging the way they live, on a scale that is unbelievable. That’s a sugar rush, so it’s a pulse.

TC:

But on top of that, it means big swaths of the economy are going to be permanently impaired in a way that we haven’t even begun to conceive yet. And the follow on consequences of that are going to be pretty interesting to watch. So, just one small example, you can’t have a housing boom in the suburbs without the complete collapse of the commercial real estate market in the cities. Just can’t, both can’t be true. You can’t have Zoom at an all time high and all the airliners we have today continue, they both can’t be true. People are learning to live in the new reality, post-COVID, that new reality includes many, many, many fewer people in the cities, far fewer flyers. And we have an entire massive architecture of equity and debt and derivatives tied to the part of the economy that’s not booming, that we’re not seeing yet reflected in the realization of the consequences of that.

TC:

And so, when I see, and God bless Tony Greer, he called this wonderfully in his great letter, TG Macro, the home builders index soaring, while the concurrent trade to that is, the commercial mortgage backed security market is going to be collapsing. And the airlines are not coming back, I’ve made this point loudly on Twitter for a very long time. I’ve talked to many, many executives, I know lots of CEOs and to a person, people aren’t traveling anymore for business and business represents 75% of the profit for airliners. We have too many planes. The fact that we have too many planes has profound consequences for the tens of billions of dollars of debt on the books of pension funds across the country tied to airliners and their suppliers. There’s real changes going on. And in the aggregate number, the top line number, it masks what’s going on in the underbelly.

TC:

The consequences of the rot and the underbelly are going to be profound and we can put off recognizing them as long as we’d like and we are and it seems like the intent is, at least, put them off until the end of the election. But the exact same thing is happening in the market. So, the stock market leaders are profoundly overvalued but you’re seeing a string of well-known names going back corrupt every week. Are we at a record pace? And that’s because, the winners and losers have been chosen. And then, when you combine the two, at the interface between who’s getting capital allocated to them and what’s going on in the real economy, I think, there’s a massive misallocation of capital, based on the new economy that we’re building. There’s no way that all the money that’s going to be burnt chasing Tesla up as it comes down, which it inevitably has to, couldn’t have been better spent.

Grant Williams:

Beautifully put. I have to say, that’s exactly, I think, how I see the world. It’s interesting that we’ve seen, obviously, in this last week, the American airlines talk about laying 19,000 people off, the day the furlough provisions end and that’s going to be the way it is. And so, at this point, I don’t, think in fairness, I don’t think the Trump administration or for that matter, the Biden administration, should they win, can withdraw this stimulus. We are in this now for the long run, there’s just no easy way to do it. And the day you say, well, that it, no more government funding for your employees, the whole thing goes down. And so, we went back to that too big to fail, except, this time it’s the economy.

Grant Williams:

So, I think all that is exactly right, which tells you what a perfect moment in time it is to try and pull off what Elon has been trying to pull off. But amidst all the promises that have been made, in terms of products to be delivered, robo-taxis and full self-driving and the obvious fraud of charging money for that upfront, not delivering it and then, talking about having to rewrite it from the ground up. If you dig into this thing, it’s so ridiculously fraudulent, it’s hard to even breathe sometimes. But this week I’ve been wondering what it will be, what outrageous promise, what outrageous fantasy is going to be the thing that, maybe, finally, tips things over. And I feel like this week, we may have gotten a little closer to seeing it, when they wheeled out Gertrude, what did you make of the Neuralink demonstration?

TC:

As a veteran of many Elon demonstrations and reveals, this was, I think, it crossed the rubicon of ethics, in a way that is profoundly offensive. My father died of Parkinson’s and my favorite grandfather died of Alzheimer’s. I have an interest in neurology, I’m not an expert but in one day of researching and talking to people that I know in the field, this was no different than the solar shingle reveal or the full self-driving reveal or the battery swap scam, all the way back in 2013, that Ed Niedermeyer has done such a great job of deconstructing. To promise desperately sick people that somehow the great genius Elon Musk, who wants to save the world is going to invent, out of whole cloth, a technology that is their salvation. Any journalists watching that reveal that continues to enable this con should be ashamed of themselves. It probably won’t matter Grant, who knows what’s going to be the thing that ultimately…

TC:

It probably won’t matter, Grant. I mean, who knows what’s going to be the thing that ultimately causes this thing to unravel? I doubt it’ll be that, but it should be, if there’s any justice in the world. That was snake oil of the highest order, presented in the most offensive and transparently fake way, and the legion of people that he has created false hope for. I feel really terrible about. This is offensive. There’s no other way to say, it’s gross, and shame on everyone involved.

Grant Williams:

What I found was interesting about this particular one, and I tend to spend a lot of time watching the reactions to these things because you can normally understand whether the desired outcome is actually occurring, or if things haven’t quite gone the way that they perhaps thought when they conjured up a stunt like this. And it definitely seemed to me this time around, given the amount of breathless coverage I’ve seen over battery stops in shingle reveals and full self-driving and robo-taxis in the past.

Grant Williams:

This one was definitely different. I didn’t see the kind of coverage for this, that it almost felt to me as though the people who would normally write about this stuff looks and thought. “I can’t even think of a way to write about this in an effusive way, I’m just going to keep quiet.” You know what I mean? I just didn’t feel that massive tailwind of media puff pieces surrounded this Neuralink demonstration.

TC:

So let’s imagine you’re a reporter with that feeling. How do you feel about all the other puff pieces you’ve written around similar BS?

Grant Williams:

Yeah. That’s a process. That’s a process, right? The scales fall from your eyes. And then, of course, you’re going to deny absolutely to yourself that you could have been taken in by this guy on other things. There’s no way you’re going to admit that day one.

TC:

I don’t know. I see, it’s an interesting question. I’ve thought about this a lot, obviously because the people involved here have intelligence. Jim Kramer is a smart guy. Dan Ives, Adam Jonas, they’re all intelligent people. They can not see what you and I see. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be intelligent. And so I have this image in my mind of God bless them. It seems a nice enough fellow Phil LeBeau from CNBC standing in front of the boring tunnel out in California, pretending as though taking a used telling machine and making a sewer tunnel and putting cars on skates and driving one mile along it, is somehow profoundly an impressive technological feat.

TC:

At what point in the, “I’m going to fly to California and stand in front of a sewer tunnel.” Do you might begin to wonder that maybe this isn’t quite as impressive as you thought?

Grant Williams:

Well, lets make sure [crosstalk 01:23:56]-

TC:

This is not the first time, it’s just the most ethically outrageous. And that’s the line that I think it crossed, which is everybody knows somebody that struggled with dementia, parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s. It’s tragically a very common thing. And by the way, you can go to Twitter, there isn’t a respectable neuroscientist on the planet that says it was anything consequential there.

Grant Williams:

No, that’s what tries me, is that the complete lack of anybody?

TC:

So why do it? That’s the part I don’t understand. Why would you stub your toe like this? It’s an unforced error because he’s winning. Does he want to get caught?

Grant Williams:

Yes, he is. But you and I can speculate all day about. Is this designed to cover someone else up? Do I need the headlines or were they hoping to get headlines from this? We’ll never know. Right? Kenny, does he feel ever more Bulletproof and the ability to say anything even more outrageous, possibly, who knows? Does he just love the attention and people thinking he’s this guy saving the planet? I don’t know, but when I think about that example you used of Phil LeBeau today the media is all about one thing. It’s not about communicating information. It’s about generating views, period. That’s it.

Grant Williams:

It’s very difficult to find any media content that is out there except in the independent world, in the podcast world, that stuff, where you have a platform you’re not beholden into big whoever, and Phil LeBeau standing in front of a tunnel saying, “Well, this is underwhelming. It’s just like a hole in the ground with a car on a trolley.” There’s no splashy segment in that for CNBC.

Grant Williams:

And so I think these guys have just become co-opted in, “Okay, I’ve got to make something entertaining and I’ve got to make it something people want to watch.” And realistically, the only two ways you can do that are to make it absolutely sparkly and spangly and promising and hype it to the moon or rip the whole thing down, Woodward and Bernstein style so that people are gripped by that narrative. They’re the only two options you have.

Grant Williams:

That’s the only two things that people are going to want to read. They don’t want something that’s kind of vanilla because there’s somebody else on the other channel that they’ll go to. So what choice do you have? It’s tough to tear it down because that takes acts of courage. It takes acts of considerably impressive journalism. It takes work, it takes effort. It takes all the things that you and I know it takes. Whereas, you’ve got a tunnel, you’ve got a big figure that everybody knows telling you what a great thing is, parroting that, and amping it is a sure fire way to get people to engage.

TC:

Yeah, it’s a sad state of affairs. And a proper functioning capital market requires strong regulatory oversight and a robust, vibrant, skeptical media. And we have neither of those today.

Grant Williams:

No. I agree. And it really behooves us to try and figure out what might bring this down and more important, I guess when. I’ve thought for a long time now, as I’ve watched this. Not just with Tesla, but with other examples of this. I’ve wondered enough, what’s enough. And I’ve waited for that moment where to that point I just made, there is more interest to be gained from tearing these things down, because it’ll happen. There’s a point where if you’re a journalist tearing this thing to the ground is going to be the way you get the viewers, because they’re bored with all the pronouncements. They’re bored with all the fancy predictions about cool futures. They’re bored of it.

Grant Williams:

And what they really want is a scandal. And I’ve been waiting for that to happen for some time. And it hasn’t yet. And I wonder if we’re any near it or not. I get the feeling we are but I don’t know.

TC:

Yeah. Well, so the analogy, I think, and is the Wirecard situation in Germany. A profound situation, and we had by luck a string of guests leading into the collapse of Wirecard on TCS trial casts we had Roddy Boyd, who’s done an amazing investigative journalism work on the Wirecard name. We had Francine McKenna, who’s a brilliant accounting analyst and likes to write about accounting shenanigans over at her great newsletter, the dig.

TC:

And then literally days before the collapse, we had a brilliant short seller on the podcast named Gabrielle Grego, who literally called the day of the collapse four or five days before it happened. But then you go back and you read the history and you see the very first accusation of fraud against Wirecard was in 2008.

Grant Williams:

Eight. Yeah.

TC:

And those people were arrested. Not only were they ignored, they were punished. And it’s the same thing that we’re seeing today with… whistleblowers so you wonder, it’s all obvious in hindsight, right? Oh, look, well, what happened with Wirecard? They ran out of money, that’s it. They ran out of money and there’s a long story to be told there, but, and not to get into too many details. Ironically, SoftBank plays a bit of a positive role in that.

TC:

But essentially they needed their auditors to sign off on the 2019 financials or else a series of loans that they had taken out would immediately become due. And thanks to the ongoing pressure of short sellers and really brave skeptical journalists, EY, the auditor in charge here ultimately decided they couldn’t sign off on those books. And the stock collapsed in a matter of days. And as Skoda’s famously says, “This is not about accounting and missing money. And if the German power structure and regulatory regime would love nothing more than for this to be an accounting scandal. This is a fraud based on money laundering and massive illegal activities reaching the highest levels of the German and European elite.”

TC:

And it’s going to be covered up. And the reason why it persisted for as long as it did was because of that fact, it is a money laundering operation for the worst elements of society that has contaminated the highest elements of German and European society. And if we don’t recognize that and clean house, you’ve learned nothing, and you’ll create a foul person. Somebody to take the foul for this, and they’ll sweep it under the rug. And they’ll just figure out how to get away with it better next time.

TC:

And to circle it all the way back to Tesla and why there’s such a passionate group of really, I think, intelligent, hardworking people trying to expose this fraud very similar to Wirecard, it’s because they don’t want to live in a society in a market. They don’t want to participate in a market where that type of fraud that happened at Wirecard, not only persists, but propagates

Grant Williams:

Right. Beautifully put and I think you’re right. I think that’s what I’ve been waiting for, and to me, there is only one foul guy here, right? There is only one possible foul guy with Tesla. It just cannot be anybody but Elan. And maybe he’s smart enough to realize that at least, and that’s why he’s trying to embed himself into the spice program. Any you Elon, there could be a good reason for that. But ultimately I suspected for a long time. It’s just taken longer than I thought this will unravel, and it will unravel quickly when it does, because the same way we’ve seen with Wirecard, once it became obvious, every single journalist is now writing the piece on Wirecard, they’re all at it now, because the jaguar goes out the tree as God is like to say.

TC:

Puranas without courage.

Grant Williams:

Yeah. That’s in a nutshell. But as I said, they are listening to your podcast and reading a lot of that stuff that Marty Trip dumped on them on the internet. There is one hell of a story to be told by someone, there’s appeal of surprise waiting for whoever’s got the balls to step in and write this. And to me, it’s little things like this. It’s little things like what Marty did. It’s little things like your podcast. This story is starting to gain a little bit of traction and I’m sure the work you and Georgia did this last week in bringing Carl’s story and the way you did it, which was, I have to say just an exceptional job. You guys did. I mean, Carl was great, but I thought you stewarded that remarkably well.

Grant Williams:

It was a very difficult thing to do. It’s things like that, that tend to start pricking up the ears of the people who can make a difference to the staff. And suddenly the fact that this goes right the way to the top of what I don’t know, but it goes a long way above becomes a plus not a minus, in terms of going after this. Because Suddenly if you got your teeth into this story, it’s not, Oh my God, I might bring down X, Y, or Z. It’s, you know what, if I do this right, I can bring down X, Y, and Z. And that often is the change that’s needed to get these stories covered in the right way. And not just the kind of fawning sycophantic way that we’ve seen so far.

TC:

Yeah. I hope you’re right. And I do appreciate the compliments. It’s a wonderful team. And we did our very best to present and we didn’t even get into the second episode, episode 42, the audience will have to go and listen to it because the story only gets weirder from where we left it off with the cartels. We dive into the Marta trip situation, whistleblower retaliation.

TC:

We dive into the FBI investigation, into illegal hacking that Carl participated in FBI agents in his home for weeks at a time. Documenting wide-scale illegal hacking of personal devices on the part of the ex Uber security team that Elan personally hired into Tesla. And then the subsequent cover-up of that investigation right around the time where Trump came out and said, we have to protect our genius. One wonders whether he wasn’t specifically talking about not taking any action on the crimes that Carl documented. So thoroughly.

Grant Williams:

Well, it’s perfect. We we’re going to wrap up now. I just said that there is plenty for people to get their teeth into in the second one, but yeah, just listen to all that stuff and hearing this FBI investigation get killed. It’s really depressing. And I spoke to you about this after you recorded the interview. I hadn’t heard at the time, and I, I asked you what your takeaways were. And I was somewhat taken aback. Just tell people what your feelings were after recording it and how that’s changed. Now, you’ve put it together and put it out there. And you’ve seen the reaction to it.

TC:

I felt utterly dejected. If I’m being totally honest, I’m an immigrant to the country. I’ve been very blessed. I’ve been very fortunate. I’ve been very privileged. I’ve lived an amazing life. I have amazing friends. I have an amazing family. I have an amazing business partner. I felt utterly dejected as a Patriot, as somebody who cares about the country, about where the country’s heading. And I’m not trying to sound all Pollyanna about it. It’s a genuine feeling to see a guy like Carl destroyed. This is a guy who was in the 82nd airborne and as you’ll hear in the second episode, episode, 42 was reduced to getting food at a food bank at the bottom of his experience, being a Tesla whistleblower.

TC:

What kind of society do we have, where somebody like him gets treated the way he does, and somebody like Elon gets treated the way he does. It’s not a good one. I know that this isn’t the only time it’s happened. And I’m not trying to make it a bigger thing than it was. But personally, after spending three and a half hours with the guy, and Georgia and I and Evoque and poles spending probably in total 40 hours, editing it into two very reasonable high quality podcasts, you can’t help but feel anything other than dejected.

TC:

So I would tell you that it’s difficult to keep going almost every day. I think about just deleting the Tesla chart’s Twitter account and shutting it down and going about my business. Before Tesla, I was considered relatively intelligent. Before Tesla, most of the things I did worked. I can go about life 2.0 and create businesses with my team and create a lot of value and do a lot of good in society and complete and total anonymity. And there’s rarely a day goes by where I don’t wonder whether that wouldn’t be the best approach. But then the flip side is, I have children and I’m creating a permanent electronic record of what that thought and what that did in the moment.

TC:

And there’s going to be plenty of people when this entire thing collapses that are going to claim to have had large roles in it that won’t. But I’m proud of what I, and the team and the rest of many of the Tesla community and yourself have done both on this name in particular and what it means for the broader society in general. So that’s just what keeps me going in that, and I’m stubborn and I don’t like to lose, and I certainly don’t like to lose to people like him, but there’s no question like you can’t sit down with a guy like him for as long as we did and hear that story and not feel anything other than totally dejected.

Grant Williams:

But has that changed since you’ve put this piece out into the open so people can listen to it and then you’ve had the reaction to it?

TC:

Being totally honest? No. It’s like screaming into the void. Spit into a hurricane comes right back in your face. Maybe you caught on a day, it’s been quite a couple of weeks for us as a team to put this together. The planning of it. The doing of the actual recording, the editing, the releasing. God bless your heads for being what appears to be the only media outlet to pick it up. But no, I can’t say that I feel any better having done it

Grant Williams:

Well, it’s early days. Let’s see where this goes, because my reaction listening to, it felt like this actually may well have the power to change some opinions, which is why I wanted to talk to you today about it and say, I started off at the top of this talking about hoping that some of the balls would just ignore the stock price and listen to this and perhaps take it on board and at least think about it. And that’s really, all we can ask people to do. Is just not be completely blinkered because people will claim that the short side have completely blinkered. But look, we can acknowledge that the car company is now worth hundreds of billions of dollars. We can acknowledge that they’re selling cars. We can acknowledge the stock price has gone to 2,400. That’s fine. All that stuff is demonstrably true.

Grant Williams:

And we can also agree that this thing will do not to 16.1 of a second, faster than many of its competitors. We can acknowledge all that stuff, but at some point in time, you have to look at what’s happening here. You have to look at the broader picture and the stuff behind the numbers, because the numbers, not only do they not add up, but really in the scheme of things, they’re meaningless. This is the human story.

TC:

Let me leave you on a note of hope. I’m the world’s best Contra indicator. And so if I’m feeling dejected, maybe we’re closer to the end than I feel.

Grant Williams:

Well, it’s not only can we both hope that’s the case, but listen, I commend you and Georgia for that stubbornness. I know you take an awful lot of flack. I’ve been fortunate to get to know you. I know that you don’t deserve it, but kudos to you for continuing to do this. Now, for those listening to this, that aren’t aware of the chart costs, we’ve spoken about a lot, but just do let people know how they can follow you on Twitter, how they can listen to Chuck Kasten and anything else that they might be occurring glom onto.

TC:

Appreciate it. I’m at Tesla charts, there’s probably 25 or 30 fake Tesla charts accounts. So make sure you make sure which is a whole other story that we didn’t get into. Georgia Orwell is at [email protected] and @Paultesla for the rest of the team. You can find the podcast on all the major platforms, TCS chart cast, TC’S chart cast, as it sounds. You can also go to tcchartcast.net and get a direct link to our Buzzsprout account that has all of the podcasts there.

TC:

But by and large, you can find that on most major podcast platforms. And then my pin tweet is always the latest podcast, and somebody helps us with IT that always subtweets me with all the links. And so it’s pretty easy to find the zero hedge did an article on the most recent two podcasts, and they are directly embedded in that article as well. And I did want to end by thanking you Grant, you’re one of the good ones, and I really appreciate the opportunity to discuss all of this and it’s always a pleasure to talk to you either as your interviewer on the chart cast or as a guest on your show.

Grant Williams:

Well, thank you for doing this at short notice. I was so compelled by it. I just felt this was something that we had to strike while the arms out. So thank you both for doing it. And thanks for coming and talking to me today.

TC:

Appreciate it.

Grant Williams:

Well, as I said, I promised you at the top of that, a fascinating story, and look, it’s stuck with me. I’ve had of it going around my head since I listened to it, I’ve read a lot of the same documents that were posted. I’ve followed the story though. Not as closely as I will from here on in, because I do find it a compelling argument. I do find it a compelling story. Well-told, effectively told and told in such a way as to make it extremely believable to me, and if it’s true, if even 80% of it is true, it’s a mind boggling story that hopefully some journalists have real bite and bark. And we’ll dig into this and on uncover the true story, because I suspect it will run both deep and high for any goals still listing well done.

Grant Williams:

I appreciate you staying with it until the end. I appreciate you having a mind open enough to listen to this. And if you’ve already written it off, that’s absolutely fine. All we can ask is that you have listened to it. I found it convincing other people. I’m sure we’ll write it off, but I think I’m safe in saying that anybody who was on the fence before that is going to have an awful lot of questions after it. And perhaps start to go down a few rebels, which frankly, if more people went down, I suspect stories like this would get much better coverage than they do and coverage closer to that, which they deserve.

Grant Williams:

So thank you for spending the last, I guess, hour and 40 odd minutes with me. I’ve enjoyed your company, even though we haven’t been able to see each other. If you’ve got any questions, feel free to email me about them. Let me just remind you. You can follow TC on Twitter. You’ll find them @TESLAcharts, be ware as he said, there are plenty of imitators and a @Georgia_Orwell_. And you’ll find their podcast. TCS chunk cost in all good podcast outfits. If you don’t follow me already on Twitter, and you’d like to do that, you can do it very easily by looking for @TTMYGH or you can find out more at www.TTMYGH.com.

Grant Williams:

One last thing to do here, and that is to remind you that nothing you’ve heard in the past hour and 45 minutes should be considered as investment advice. We have been talking Tesla, and when you talk Tesla, all bets are off. Please, please, please do not touch this company or any companies without doing a requisite amount of due diligence or speaking to a financial advisor. Thanks so much for listening.

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