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Hey TESLA owners and fans, do you find Elon Musk repulsive?

  • I have another reason that Elon is hated yet so successful (tell us oh wise one)

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  • Whatever, TCL is just jealous of Tesla and its marvelous cars

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As a Tesla owner, I don't really care about what Elon says/does in his personal life -- I care about the product. It doesn't change the fact that I like my car and the fact that it's well-built (knock-on wood, some aren't as lucky) and serves our family well. I think Zuckerberg is a douche, but I still use Facebook. I don't agree with Chick-fil-a's prior donations in opposition to the LGBTQ community, but I still GLADLY eat there.
As a general rule, I don't go digging into the lives of business owners to find out their political views. I know that a whole lot of people have views opposed to mine, and just is what it is. I'm not going to boycott half the world in order to try and make a point.

That all changes when a business owner decides to make a very public stand on an issue that I disagree with. CFA is a great example, since the Cathy family is very open and public about being anti-LGBTQ. Because of this, I no longer give them my business. I'm a guitarist that plays metal, and I used to be a huge Iced Earth fan. I see used to be, since Jon Schaffer (the founder and band leader) decided to take part on 1/6 and was caught macing a cop. So, I deleted all of his music of my iPhone and moved on with my life. Elon Musk is an easier case, since don't see the appeal in Teslas (not all EVs, just Teslas), but his antics have pretty much guaranteed I'll never spend a dime on anything with his name attached to it. I agree that Mark Zucerberg is a douche, but notice that he is very careful to not take a public stance on hot button issues.

So, if you own business, you need to keep your damn mouth shut. No matter your political views. My wife own a pet sitting business, and she happily accepts money from people who think the election was stolen from Trump, as well as people who think the DNC robbed Bernie. She just keeps her lips buttoned and cashes those checks. I cannot fathom why anyone in business wouldn't do the same.
 

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So is this akin to "Shut up and dribble?"

Humans are going to human. People can have a different viewpoint from me, I don't care. I can still be agreeable with you. My father-in-law is staunchly anti-gay marriage, and is opposite of me on many hot-button issues (you can probably guess the other big one). But we still get along -- not because I have to because he's my FIL -- but because I genuinely love the guy and his views don't define our relationship.
No, it's nothing like shut up and dribble. It's more like common sense if you own a business selling goods and services to public. Why would you want to make public statements about hot button issues? You're going to alienate a large chunk of your potential customer base. It makes no sense to me.

Our daughter is bi, and she basically no longer talks to my MIL, who is a young earth creationist that is anti-LGBT and anti-abortion. I'll never understand the concept that family is supposed to get along no matter what. If your attitude is we can have our differences and still love one another, then obviously the differences aren't a pattern of voting that is aimed at eliminating your rights. YOU may get along with your FIL, but I bet there are people in his own family who think he's an *******. ;)
 

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I think if we went back to enforcing antitrust laws and breaking up companies that grow too large, then billionaires wouldn't be able to so easily exist. Sure, there would be a few here and there, but not people with eight and nine digit net worths, and certainly not hundreds of billionaires.
 

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The problem is how you break up global companies with the kind of reach of some of them.

Tesla is really only large in market cap; in size and sales they certainly aren’t bigger then Ford or GM or Toyota or VW.

FB, yeah, strip them of Insta and WhatsApp, I’m cool with that, but beyond that?

Amazon? I dunno. How do you downsize that?

MS, there was some targeted anti-trust stuff there already, someone smarter than me can opine on more

Berskshire, what do you do? Bar him from investing more?
When looking at a company for possible breakup, you should ask themselves what they are doing that is anti-competitive, and how do you address it.

Nothing was really ever done to address Microsoft (the administration changed before the DOJ could take them to court back in 2000-2001). Microsoft makes the operating system AND a suite of applications. That means that their application division will always have a leg up on other companies developing Windows applications, since the application and operating system divisions are in constant contact. The application division had input into the interface design of the operating system. The operating system API (application programming interface), and it's continual evolution, is made available to the application division before anyone outside of the company. Finally, there was evidence that Microsoft was maintaining two Windows APIs: the one for the rest of the world, and a faster, better performing one that was only available to their own developers. This is how Lotus 1-2-3 and Word Perfect died: they literally could not beat the performance of Excel and Word.

Looking at Amazon, a similar situation exists. Amazon is an online retailer, akin to a mall. So, imagine if the local mall also owned it's own stores in direction competition with other tenants. That means those stores have less overhead costs, allowing them to undercut their competitors. That is what Amazon is doing by owning the platform and being a vendor on it. Now, imagine that the local mall decided to start manufacturing it's own goods in direct competition with others, selling them at a loss, subsidized by the enormous profits of running the mall. That is what Amazon is doing with their own Amazon Basics line of goods.

Downsizing is actually not the answer. You break a giant up into multiple companies. Microsoft Windows is one company, and Microsoft Applications another. No collusion may occur between the two; it must operate the same as any other app developer's relationship with the operating system developer. One could maybe make the argument for Microsoft's hardware, but no one buys their phones, and their tablets are a very small part of the market. Basically, Apple and Google have run away with the mobile market, and they are their own arguments for busting up that I won't get into now.

Amazon should be four companies. Amazon the online storefront, Amazon the online vendor, Amazon the manufacturer of goods, and Amazon Web Services. The way they all work together has choked out most of the eCommerce on the Internet that used to be there before. Sure, there are other big vendors, but all the small ones have fallen away, forced to operate in Amazon's space for much less than they made before, leading many of them to close up shop entirely.

THAT is how Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates became billionaires. Through monopolistic and predatory business practices that unfairly squashed competition and took and larger and larger share of the profits. If you eliminate that behavior, you eliminate billionaires without having to ever pass a law to target them for high taxes or the like. And innovation NEVER occurs in big companies; all of the innovating of these companies occurred when they were smaller (in the case of Tesla, before Musk bought it). Past a certain point, it is simply a machine to generate enormous wealth for a few people. Small business is the real economic engine of job creation and innovation.
 
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