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The private musings and short fuse of Elon Musk

Chicago Tribune
The private musings and short fuse of Elon Musk

Short sellers have a way of rattling even the most confident business leaders. A classic of the genre is Overstock chief executive Patrick Byrne, whose crazed diatribes against investors betting on a stock-price drop include a public conference call during which he ranted about a shadowy "Sith Lord" out to destroy Overstock and his railing on a site called Deep Capture against unfair financial media coverage. On the other end of the spectrum is Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, who in 2010 wrote a polite-bordering-on-sweet open letter to short seller Whitney Tilson, calling him a "great investor and a wonderful human being" before laying out an even-toned and reasonable case that Tilson's evaluation was wrong. Tesla's Elon Musk isn't close to Byrne territory yet, but his recent Twitter stylings indicate that he is getting rattled by persistent investor skepticism about a money-burning, never-profitable enterprise with a market cap of about $60 billion.