Shotwell: Elon’s Fine, Nothing to See Here

Elon Musk (Credit: SpaceX)

The kids are all right. So is Elon.

That’s the assessment of SpaceX President & COO Gwynne Shotwell, who was asked about her boss Elon Musk’s erratic behavior in recent months during World Satellite Business Week conference in Paris. Bloomberg reports:

Elon is a brilliant man,” Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s president and chief operating officer, said Tuesday after speaking at a satellite industry conference in Paris. “He is as lucid and capable as he has ever been. I wish people would not focus on triviality.”

There’s “no chance” that Musk’s conduct will impact SpaceX’s ability to win contracts, and there’s been “no impact at all” on the level of confidence in him on the part of the closely held company’s backers, Shotwell said.

“Look at the work that Elon’s companies do and focus on that. Not on what he does” in his own time, she said.

Shotwell also said that although she loves cars, she has no interest in taking a similar position at Musk’s struggling car company, Tesla Motors.

  • Robert G. Oler

    having a Dr. Strangelove in the war room experience with this

  • ThomasLMatula

    What folks don’t understand is the Elon Musk is enjoying messing with the Wall Street analysists. Unlike other CEOs who will kiss their feet he sees them as a bunch of parasites living off the work of folks like himself. That is why he was considering taking Tesla private and why he will never do an IPO for SpaceX. It is actually hilarious watching how he is pulling their chains, and also tormenting the short sellers 😀

    Yes, it is something someone needed to do to the Wall Street gang. So just pop some popcorn and watch the fun.

  • Mr Snarky Answer

    Watching people who are short Elon (Both financially and ideologically) constantly get their fever dream induced hopes crushed is very entertaining.

  • Paul_Scutts

    The two main things to do with Elon Musk’s companies, and I for one hope that they are both realised, are (very) cheap off planet transportation and efficient solar energy production plus high density battery storage of same. IMO, everything else is just plain white noise.

  • Lee

    Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here, this is the WAR room!!!

  • Steve Ksiazek

    Perhaps you don’t understand that Elon needs that Wall Street money. In fact, there are BILLIONS of dollars of bonds that are due to be repaid in the next couple of quarters. Right now, Wall Street doesn’t believe in Tesla’s ability to pay off those bonds. And I would imagine that the SEC is going to levy a significant penalty against Musk for his “Go Private / Funding Secured” tweet that caused investors to loose billions due to his market manipulation. See, there are rules to be followed, whether Musk likes it or not. And his repeated tweeting / taunting of the Thai rescuer, calling him a “pedo” or a child rapist, is not conduct that is acceptable from a CEO of a public company.

    Perhaps Shotwell is just glad that Musk has to sleep on the factory floor at Tesla, and therefore spends less time messing with normal operations at SpaceX.

  • Robert G. Oler

    if so than he is a jackass…his “jacking” dicked around with the stock price that a lot of “ordinary” people are invested in…that money is what keeps his company going

  • Robert G. Oler

    one hates to judge before all the facts are in

  • ThomasLMatula

    Elon Musk owns about a quarter of Tesla, Institutions own 63 percent, so that only leaves about 12 percent for those ordinary folks.

    https://www.nasdaq.com/symbol/tsla/ownership-summary

    The IPO was at $17 a share, it closed at $23.89 at the end of the day, today’s price is $290 a share. So I would say most of them made out well. But if you are risk adverse you should invest in a utility.

  • Larry J

    The only time a company makes money from their stock is when they sell it. After that, the day to day price of the stock is based on current owners selling their shares – likely thinking they’re going to go down in value – to buyers who hope it will go up in value. If the company sells its shares for say $20 and those shares are later valued at $200, the company gets no additional income from that new value. It does give them a new value for when they sell additional shares, so of course they want the share prices to increase. It also inflates the net worth of the people who own the stock, whether they work for the company or not.

  • Michael Halpern

    Not really on the wall street money, while he should have kept his mouth shut on the diver, as I understand it, the guy did marry a girl who was years below age of consent in most other countries.

  • Eric Thiel

    That diver has spent years living in the red light district of Thailand, known for prostitution. I’m not saying he is or he isn’t; just makes you wonder. Elon does need to be careful

  • Steve Ksiazek

    That diver helped save the kids and Musk didn’t. And Musk’s ego wouldn’t accept the fact that his stupid capsule wouldn’t be able to navigate the small, winding passages of the cave.

  • Robert G. Oler

    why is Musk picking this fight? the diver helped save the kids…what is the point of the fight?

  • Robert G. Oler

    sure that explains it…screw the institutions which provide the value for the stock, and along with it…the “individuals” who have money in the stock because they think its a solid responsible place to “make money”

    other than a lack of self discipline what was the point of his various tirades…oh yes “I have money you have to listen to me” excellent

  • Robert G. Oler

    thanks I know how the stock market works…have since 15

  • Larry J

    I see a lot more f people who believe that when stock market prices increase, the company has more money.

  • Michael Halpern

    Musk tried to help, which is more than most people with his resources would do

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    One thing the past few months or so, esp the online interview has shown me is Shotwell probably holds Space X together. In fact, I’m betting Space X is more like the current White House with the staff running the show in such a way Musk thinks it’s himself. If that’s not the way it is, it’s the way it will have to be. If colonial transports really start going to Mars, you need a very particular set of humans who can deal with austere conditions in tight confines while being under constant threat in life threatening conditions. Not to mention it will be a colonial effort. It has to be a place to raise kids. For the long term you need the ‘Ingals family’ not an intelligent Donald Trump. None of the Musk enterprises seem particularly interested in creating a a work environment that encourages the employees better themselves, and grant them time for family or even encourages them to have a family. At some point the enterprise has to center around the enterprise of having children and raising them. That’s what colonization is about. While Musk just might have what it takes to give birth to this enterprise, so far the culture I’m seeing out of the Musk enterprise set is not predicated on raising children in a environment to prepare them for being the spears tip of humanity. At some point, that will have to happen, and Musk show’s no ability to be that leader.

  • Kirk

    According to Vernon Unsworth, the cave explorer in question, it wouldn’t have fit, but one of the other rescue divers said it would. British cave diver Richard Stanton was in communication with Musk, and even as they were preparing to extract the kids with full face masks, he emailed Musk asking him to please complete the testing and to ship it to Thailand as soon as possible because they were worried that one of the kids would be too weak to get out any other way.

    Who was right about it fitting? I don’t know, but Mr. Unsworth was certainly a dick about it in his interview, and I don’t think too many people would have objected to Musk describing his behavior as such. But the “pedo guy” comment went too far, and really, even if true, it would not have addressed the criticism. It’s a shame Mr. Musk wasn’t above that ad hominem attack.

  • Kirk

    Where have you heard that. The Sun reports that his Thai girlfriend of the last 7 years, Woranan Ratrawiphukkun (known as Tik), is 40 years old.

    https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/7189384/vernon-unsworth-thai-cave-diver-rescue-wife-elon-musk-paedophile/

  • Kenneth_Brown

    Rising stock prices inflate the Market Cap, but not the net worth. That’s still calculated from assets and liabilities. While Tesla has a Market Cap close to $50 billion, it has a negative net worth.

  • Steve Ksiazek

    Considering how Elon likes to use social media to attack his enemies, I assume the rumors came straight from him.

  • Kenneth_Brown

    Gwynne has to tread very carefully. While she is a very competent executive, she is working under a very mercurial CEO that might decide to bounce her out and take over her job himself the same way he does with executives and assistants at Tesla.

  • Douglas Messier

    The funding secured tweet could turn into a multi-billion dollar mistake. You have the possibility of SEC enforcement action. You also have the reality of multiple lawsuits from shareholders.

    All this would be funny if it wasn’t so wxpensive and sad.

  • Douglas Messier

    Her statement is also open to interpretation. As lucid and as capable as ever when….? There are several ways to finish that.

    Her admonition to look at his work….beware what u wish for. Musk made a mess of the Model 3 rollout, the factory is turning out lemons that break down, executives are fleeing, and company is drowning in debt. Much of this is Elon’s own fault. The reason he’s working 120 hours per week and sleeping in the factory is his own bad decisions.

  • ThomasLMatula

    Yes, like Henry Ford he just doesn’t have the right personality to run a publicly traded firm were you have to bow to Wall Street. The sooner he distances himself from Tesla, the better.

  • ThomasLMatula

    That, along with planetary protection, is why the BFR will be used first to enable Lunar industrialization where you are close enough to Earth to avoid those issues.

  • duheagle

    Boy, you lefties really do have a Messiah Complex.

    Elon is not Moses or Brigham Young and hasn’t indicated any such ambitions. He has said he wants to die on Mars but that says to me he wants to retire there first. If his Dell Webb/Sun City-style notions about colonization demographics pan out, that would make him a late adopter of his own paradigm. He’s got too much else to get done here on Earth to go haring off to Mars anytime soon.

    But I share your view that, absent families with children, colonization won’t stick. The future Ingalls-esque families who may occupy the Little Houses on the Martian Prairie will only turn up in quantity – if at all – when the means to go there has been proved out. Musk is like other past transportation magnates, he’s not going to make a career primarily out of using or operating his own inventions. Ford was not a long-haul trucker and the Studebaker brothers were not Westward Ho settlers. Cornelius Vanderbilt was not a locomotive engineer.

    Nor, for that matter, were any of these men ever political figures. Ford probably could have gotten elected Mayor of Detroit had he been interested, but he already had a better job.

    As for comparisons of Musk’s and Trump’s alleged management styes/temperaments, neither seems inclined to take gratuitous calumnies from people with obvious agendas lying down. They’re both counterpunchers. The fact that their detractors are classes of people unused to much in the way of serious pushback just makes all the resultant spluttering and expostulation more fun for we spectators.

  • duheagle

    I think what really chaps Wall Street’s hide anent Elon Musk – at least the part of Wall Street that doesn’t seem to like him – is that he doesn’t need their money. Musk can refinance any Tesla bonds without involving any hostile Wall Street suspects. The shorts, of course, are furious with him for the dry corncob suppositories he keeps serving up to them whenever they make another ill-considered run at Tesla.

    The only investors who lost big on Tesla’s recent stock price dip were the day-traders and Nervous Nelly types who panic when anyone on The Street yells, “Boo!” Buy-and hold investors – including most institutions – did fine by just standing pat and letting sanity have its way. Given that Musk is, himself, Tesla’s largest shareholder, the SEC is going to have an uphill fight trying to demonstrate any “manipulation” given that Musk has more riding on Tesla’s stock price than anyone else. Given that the SEC is no longer being run by a business-hostile administration, I don’t foresee any such problem anyway.

    Musk isn’t inclined to “mess with normal operations” at SpaceX because Shotwell is in charge of such and has done a stellar job. Elon’s activities at SpaceX are all strategic and engineering-related. His problem at Tesla is that he has yet to find anyone nearly as competent as Shotwell to ride shotgun for him there.

  • Douglas Messier

    Musk definitely has a messiah complex. He wants to save Earth from global warming with electric cars and solar panels. But, since Earth is eventually doomed by some cataclysm, his Mars colony will save humanity from extinction.

    As things started going bad the last few months, he played the role of savior being persecuted by analysts, the media and the shorts.

    As for Trump, he really socked it to those people who figured out the death count in Puerto Rico. Quite the upper cut against those hurricane truthers. Attacked people for no reason with lies and made himself look like an ass. Elon has been guilty of that lately.

  • Douglas Messier

    Saw a headline that said Musk everything about the IPO except the public part.

  • windbourne

    actually, I suspect that Musk had insider info on Unsworth which is why he made that comment, not once, not twice, but thrice, AND nothing has happened, except for threats.
    IOW, Unsworth should be suing, but appears to not be wanting to have light case on him.

  • windbourne

    IIRC, Unsworth did NOT help. He was on the side.

  • Robert G. Oler

    that is a very good explanation of things

  • Robert G. Oler

    I dont

  • Robert G. Oler

    Risk is that the product might not work, that the product wont sell, that the product is a dud.

    Risk is not that the CEO makes a fool of him or her self in stupid battles that he cannot win, or goes on TV and does a HOward Beal.

  • Michael Halpern

    And one would be good to notice invariably, the stock value rebounds fairly quickly

  • Michael Halpern

    According to measurements from other divers, it would have

  • Michael Halpern

    Yeah especially as many consider sueing rich people “easy money”

  • Paul_Scutts

    The two names Elon Musk and SpaceX, from a public perception point of view, are one in the same thing. Gwynne Shotwell has publicly stated that the whole thing, Musk’s eratic behaviours of late, are non-events. But, privately I wouldn’t be at all surprised if she would be thinking, if not saying, that she wished that he would be a little more circumspect with his behaviours in public, as they either reflect badly upon the company SpaceX or could hand to their opposition, mainly in this case ULA, ammunition that they could use against the company.

  • windbourne

    uh yes and no.
    Stock prices can, and does (sadly), influence money that a company borrows. For example, shorters can force a stock down regardless of the conditions of the company. Then moneylenders (via direct or bonds) than charge more. SOmetimes, a great deal more.

    Tesla would be in HORRIBLE shape right now, if not for Musk friends in Silicon Valley. They all know where Tesla sits and want in. They are waiting for the shorters to do their damage and then hope to invest at the low-end. That is a big part of why Musk is borrowing money in China and building a new plant there.

    Basically, the wall street shorters that are manipulating Tesla, are forcing Tesla to China, which SUX.

  • windbourne

    Oddly, there is no real risk with Tesla. They have multiple products which are EVs, Solar, batteries, etc and all are actually growing fast.
    In fact, I would say that it is now less risk than utilities, since most utilities are handling AE very badly.
    BUT, anybody that is day trading with tesla is going to get BURNED since it is being heavily manipulated by wall street and others.

  • Paul451

    “that money is what keeps his company going”

  • Steve Ksiazek
  • windbourne

    We will have to see.
    As I suggested, if Musk has insider info on this guy, and he is not being smart, then Musk will pay nothing.

  • ReSpaceAge

    Musk is tempted to be one of those “artists” to see the back of the moon. His seat is even paid for lol.