It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of mobility, it was the age of Wall Street foolishness ...
Both General Motors and Tesla held their annual shareholders meetings last Tuesday, June 6, but unlike the elements in A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, the meetings were not portrayed equally.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk joked that with Ambien, red wine and a vintage record player, "Magic happens." GM CEO Mary Barra faced questions from media and shareholders about the company's stalling stock price, alleged firings of injured workers in Colombia and separating the chairman and CEO roles.
None were new issues. In fact, many were the same questions Dan Akerson, Barra's predecessor, faced six years ago.
Musk addressed some criticism surrounding Tesla's recent cash-burning and safety concerns, but he didn't even mention the company's stock. He instead spent much of his nearly hourlong talk vaguely discussing the company's ambitions, which included new plants, "infinite-year" warranties for solar shingles and simplifying production operations. Musk had the crowd laughing, even cheering.
"I always love these shareholder meetings," Musk said. "I tell people ... 'It always feels like a party' ... and they're like, 'Really? That's not like normal shareholder meetings.'"
Neither meeting — separated by eight hours and more than 2,000 miles — moved Wall Street's needle. For the day, GM was down 0.1 percent to $34.43 per share, while Tesla was up 1.6 percent to $352.85. Many would expect those prices to be switched, but it's the latest in a long line of bizarre behavior that has made Tesla the highest-valued automaker in North America.
Maybe Barra should attempt to dig out the record player, stop consistently making profits and see what "magic" happens.