It has long been known that Elon Musk of Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) was a CEO focused on other ventures. He is currently the CEO and Chief Designer of SpaceX and Chairman of SolarCity beyond his role of CEO and Product Architect of Tesla Motors.
I'm tired just thinking about all the work he does. He is juggling so many roles that at some point one has to slip up. Doesn't it? Elon is a brilliant guy and he clearly must have some strong people helping lead these companies. He has gotten farther with both Tesla Motors and SpaceX than numerous other start-ups in those fields.
Since these multiple roles were well documented when Tesla went public back in 2010, it isn't something that has held back the stock that recently hit all time highs of nearly $40. Is this really much different than Steve Jobs handling the development of iTunes, iPhone, iPad and the starts of iTV? He was very controlling in those decisions, but the difference is that he wasn't serving multiple masters. If Steve put aside work on the iPod, it was only to produce a new product such as the iPhone that made Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) a better company.
This all brings us back to the CNBC interview that was released on Friday that got me to focus back on this subject. SpaceX has a major launch on May 7th that clearly has Elon focused enough away from Tesla to perform a major interview. So whom is running the ship at Tesla at the moment? Why isn't he out promoting the launch of the Model S that is just around the corner as well.
This rocket launch on the 7th is so major, as it will be the first shuttle by a private company to the International Space Station. Any problems with the rocket launch would undoubtedly impact the stock of Tesla.
Why? It would drastically impact the founder and leaders time. He would be involved in so many interviews and government investigations that he might not even be able to spend a minute on Tesla. That is not a risk that I would want to add to a company about to make a major launch of a new vehicle.
Tesla has so many issues to overcome it remains inconceivable that he spends a minute of his time outside the focus of making electric cars. Seeking Alpha has published numerous articles about the pros and cons of the industry that isn't worth rehashing here. Besides, most of them contain better information than I could provide.
Though I hesitate to short anything that Elon is involved in, it just remains implausible that he will ultimately be able to juggle all these ventures. While watching the CNBC interview, it actually shocked me that SpaceX is now at the point of considering going public in 2013. Has anybody ever been CEO of two public companies? Surely it has happened, but it seems so implausible that anybody could juggle that work these days.
Elon could be the next Steve Jobs, but I wouldn't bet on him until he focuses on just one venture. While it is difficult to short anything he works on, the odds appear stacked against multiple successful ventures.
Tesla is set to report Q1 earnings on May 9th which is just two days after the SpaceX launch. What other public company faces the risk of the CEO being distracted by a major event outside the company? Until Elon focuses solely on Tesla, look into shorting the stock. Too many non-company risks exist to be long.
Additional disclosure: Please consult your financial advisor before making any investment decisions.