The Time Travelers Dilemma


In 1990 I refitted my entire law office, all lawyers, paralegals and secretaries with Apple computers. This was over a decade before the first iPhone in 2007, which just 11 years later would make Apple the world's first trillion-dollar company. No, Apple was never just a computer company. 

On July 5, 1994, Jeff Bezos started an online book company, Amazon. It took until the fourth quarter of 2001 for Amazon to turn its first profit.  AMZN now has a  $900 billion market cap. No, Amazon was never just a bookseller. 

On June 29, 2010, Tesla Motors launched its initial public offering on NASDAQ. 13,300,000 shares of common stock were issued to the public at a price of $17.00 per share. The IPO raised $226 million for the company. Tesla never was, is not now, nor will it ever be just a car company. 

The biggest difference between these three companies is that both Apple and Amazon have pretty much reached pinnacles of success. There may be some marginal growth left in them, but for all intents and purposes, their stories have been told, their destinies fulfilled.  

But Tesla, with its Models S and X and now Model 3, is well ahead of where Apple and Amazon were a decade into their existence. Where Apple and Amazon are now all grown up, out of college and have families of their own, Tesla has nothing but vision, determination (and an AC induction motor) in its tank. 

The price charts below carry three messages. First, that it almost didn't matter when you bought Apple and Amazon, so long as you bought in early enough, somewhere in the first 10 years of founders' vision. Second, that Apple and Amazon both went through two devastating stock market crashes, in 2000-2001 and again in 2007-2009, and still, look at them now.

And finally, that TSLA is still coming of age and it's still early enough to jump on board. Its destiny is still ahead.  


In future posts I will build on the premise that Tesla is so much more than an electric car company. That it is a technology company, an alternative energy company, a transformational company just as Apple and Amazon were before it. We are time travelers, back at the turn of the millennium, and are being offered an opportunity to buy shares in Apple and Amazon all over again, only now it is 2018 the symbol for those shares is TSLA