You don’t get the good without the bad in this world. There are no free lunches and everything costs something.
Elon Musk is getting an education on that very subject as we speak. The brilliant inventor and entrepreneur was given a full year in the spotlight as his Tesla Model S became the darling launch of Wall Street. His halo shone so brightly it even illuminated the stock price of Solar City, another company he’s leading. Each appearance he made was accompanied by a built-in cheering section on the networks. Every corporate milestone was greeted with fanfare and accompanied by massive upside for the shares of both stocks.
He could do no wrong and his every utterance became chyron’d on-screen, complete with the “BREAKING” and “EXCLUSIVE” headlines. Billions upon billions in shareholder value had been created as the real-life Tony Stark become a media star.
But then Tesla hit a rough patch. A few of the cars went on fire and the media was quick to seize upon this new, less flattering angle of the story.
And now Elon believes the coverage of him and his Tesla company is “disproportionate.”
Unfortunately that’s how it works. That disproportionate coverage enabled the man’s company to get a lot done and to grow up really quickly. It garnered Tesla a market cap a third the size of General Motors while only on pace to sell 20,000 cars annually. It generated awareness for the cars and legitimacy for the business model in a way that actual advertising never could. But there’s a price.
Musk has been named the CEO of the year and with good reason – he’s a visionary with the capability to actually execute and build. He’s probably changing the world.
But the media, like the market, is a two-way street. First they love you, then they hate you, then they fall in love with you all over again when you start to win once more.