- Tesla’s investor day this week helped draw shareholders’ attention to the broader organization under Tesla’s famed CEO.
- However, the presentation could have used more focus and polish, said Marisa Thomas, founder of Pivotal Media, who has spent more than a decade training executives in technology, finance and elected officials to hone their presentation skills.
Elon Musk speaks at Tesla Investor Day.
When Tesla CEO Elon Musk promoted a 2023 Investor Day event to be held on March 1, he vowed to unveil his “Master Plan 3,” a long-term vision for the company’s next growth phase.
Last year, Musk said his new plan would include details of: “scaling up to extremes, which is what is needed to distract humanity from fossil fuels and AI.” He also promised that the plan would include “sections on SpaceX, Tesla, and The Boring Company.”
However, Wednesday night’s hour-long Tesla Investor Day left many shareholders and fans wanting more, and sent Tesla’s share price lower Thursday, though analysts were positive on balance.
Deutsche Bank analysts wrote in a Friday morning auto update: “Walking away from Tesla’s investor day, we were admittedly disappointed with the overall lack of details about the next-gen platform, including launch time, vehicle segments and price points, and financial implications. At the same time showed impressive traction and presented high-level plans for deep technology and manufacturing improvements that we believe leave intact its long-term volume and margin upward trajectory.”
At the event, there was no discussion of the highly affordable electric car that first teased the company at a Battery Day event in 2020, no update on the start of deliveries for the Cybertruck, no details on the long-delayed refreshed Roadster, and no update on the company’s progress in heavy transport with its new Semi.
Musk has not spoken about the ways Tesla plans to collaborate with its other ventures. And as of Friday morning, there was still no “Master Plan 3” document posted on the company’s Investor Relations page.
What worked and what didn’t work in the presentation?
Pivotal Media founder Marisa Thomas, who has spent more than a decade training technology, finance and elected officials to hone their presentation skills, shared her analysis.
One thing the Investor Day did right was to draw shareholders’ attention to the wider organization under Tesla’s famed CEO.
At the event, Tesla challenged 17 different company leaders who spoke about what the company has achieved so far and where it hopes to go.
“I think it’s no longer the Elon show,” Thomas said. “At a time when so many people are concerned about how fragmented his focus is as a leader, it makes sense to try and get people comfortable with the team — that the team is more than Elon.”
Since Musk spearheaded a $44 billion acquisition of Twitter and named himself CEO there in October last year, Tesla shareholders have expressed frustration at his split focus, his use of Tesla staff to help him with Twitter, and the controversy that has sparked controversy. he has provoked with his own tweets. and by making massive changes to the platform.
His moves on Twitter and increasing political provocations on Twitter appear to have dampened interest in the Tesla brand, particularly among left-wing potential customers and shareholders, according to YouGov data shared with CNBC.
While Investor Day highlighted Tesla’s bench, diversity was not a strong point: Only two of the leaders who presented were women. Thomas said that in 2023, two women on stage out of 17 presenters was a “very bad show” and failed to convey a “sense of optimism” about diversity and equality at the company.
The presentation could also have been more polished. While some presenters spoke more confidently, others read nervously from teleprompters.
“It’s public speaking, not public reading. It’s hard to trust someone who’s supposed to be the expert, but who looks down and reads scripts. Too often engineers think they’re good at speaking in public – but this skill should be in every executive’s toolkit,” Thomas advised.
Investor Day may have managed to showcase the Tesla team, but its content left some fans and analysts behind disappointed.
First, Thomas said, the event started late and lasted way too long — about three hours, followed by a question-and-answer session. “People these days have a hard time sitting through a two-hour action movie! A three-hour investor presentation completely misses the focus,” said Thomas.
Tesla also failed to deliver clear takeaways on Investor Day. “Any good presentation should have a few key points: are they clear to investors and why do they matter to Tesla’s future? This event failed to achieve that,” she added.
Tesla’s longtime head of investor relations, Martin Viecha, seemed to acknowledge that the meeting was too long and the key points may not be clear to everyone. He posted a 9-point summary on Twitter, “for those who don’t have 3 hours.”
Executives also waited until several hours after the event to confirm the company’s biggest news of the week. At the start of a question-and-answer session, Elon Musk confirmed that Tesla will open its next major factory outside of Monterrey, Mexico.
He didn’t come up with new details.
On Thursday, Mexican officials filled in some of those blanks in media interviews, revealing that Tesla is expected to spend $5 billion in the short term on the vehicle assembly plant and $10 billion in the long term, employing between 5,000 and 10,000 people.
The factory will be Tesla’s largest in the world, with a land acquisition of approximately 4,200 acres in an industrial zone and the capacity to build up to 1 million cars per year. Tesla’s factory in Austin, Texas, on the other hand, covers about 2,500 acres.
On Investor Day, Musk said he thought officials from Mexico were present. He did not name their names and was unsure of their titles. Thomas said if the new plant is going to be important to Mexico’s economic future and to Tesla’s company, it wasn’t smart for the CEO to treat these officials in a clumsy, bland manner. He could have welcomed the guests by name and acknowledged their partnership with more respect.