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Earnings

Tesla earnings: Tech manufacturing’s big test

Tesla earnings: Tech manufacturing’s big test
  • Q1 revenue: $5.99 billion (+32% YoY, -19% QoQ vs. $5.8 billion expected)
  • Q1 earnings: $1.24 per share (-42% QoQ vs. -$0.28 per share expected)
  • Full-year guidance: Revenue and profit guidance are "on hold" due to manufacturing uncertainty, Tesla said. For now, the unexpected first-quarter profit marks the first time ever that the company has posted three consecutive quarters in the black.

The big number: Tesla still thinks it can deliver 500,000 new cars this year after reporting 88,496 deliveries in Q1, down from the previous quarter, where it delivered 112,095, but still well above production levels a year prior. Investors were happy with the news, with shares up almost 9% after hours.

People are talking: "Our new products get ramped faster and become profitable sooner," CEO Elon Musk told investors on a Wednesday earnings call. Still, the company warned that "for U.S. factories, it remains uncertain how quickly we and our suppliers will be able to ramp production after resuming operations."

Opportunities: The Model Y sedan's early 2020 rollout was the biggest bright spot in the company's earnings. "We are ahead of the schedule that we were ahead of already," Musk said. "Model Y was profitable already in its first quarter of production, something we haven't achieved with any product in the past." And despite previous high-profile crashes involving the company's autopilot features, Musk told investors that Tesla's self-driving tech is poised to eclipse competitors by "orders of magnitude," akin to Google's dominance in search engines. As ecommerce takes over the quarantined world, Musk also floated an Amazon-inspired vision for how his company might disrupt auto sales: "If you really went fast, I think you could order a car in probably 90 seconds," he said.

Threats: Uncertainty at Tesla hinges on how fast and how smoothly the automaker can get factories up and running as governments lift coronavirus lockdowns. It's an area of regulatory friction and employee anxiety that Tesla already grappled with after the delayed closing of its Silicon Valley manufacturing hub in mid-March. This month, Tesla furloughed nonessential factory workers and temporarily cut pay for all personnel but said it planned to be back up and running by May 4. This week, Bay Area governments extended shelter-in-place orders through the end of May. It is so far unclear how some special exceptions for manufacturers could apply to Tesla.

The power struggle: Wednesday's earning ended abruptly after Musk was asked about ongoing shelter-in-place orders and called the measures "facist." "Give people back their god damn freedom," he said, in line with tweets earlier in the week to "FREE AMERICA NOW." Though he emerged early in the coronavirus crisis as a skeptic of drastic government shutdowns, whether that tension boils over into spats with government officials over the reopening of Tesla's factories in affected areas could have major financial implications for the automaker in a key production period.

Protocol | China

China’s era of Big Tech Overwork has ended

Tech companies fear public outcry as much as they do regulatory crackdowns.

Chinese tech workers are fed up. Companies fear political and publish backlashes.

Photo: Susan Fisher Plotner/Getty Images

Two years after Chinese tech workers started a decentralized online protest against grueling overtime work culture, and one year after the plight of delivery workers came under the national spotlight, a chorus of Chinese tech giants have finally made high-profile moves to end the grueling work schedules that many believe have fueled the country's spectacular tech boom — and that many others have criticized as exploitative and cruel.

Over the past two months, at least four Chinese tech giants have announced plans to cancel mandatory overtime; some of the changes are companywide, and others are specific to business units. ByteDance, Kuaishou and Meituan's group-buying platform announced the end of a policy called "Big/Small Week," where a six-day workweek is followed by a more moderate schedule. In early June, a game studio owned by Tencent rolled out a policy that mandated employees punch out at 6 p.m. every Wednesday and take the weekends off.

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Shen Lu

Shen Lu is a reporter with Protocol | China. She has spent six years covering China from inside and outside its borders. Previously, she was a fellow at Asia Society's ChinaFile and a Beijing-based producer for CNN. Her writing has appeared in Foreign Policy, The New York Times and POLITICO, among other publications. Shen Lu is a founding member of Chinese Storytellers, a community serving and elevating Chinese professionals in the global media industry.

Over the last year, financial institutions have experienced unprecedented demand from their customers for exposure to cryptocurrency, and we've seen an inflow of institutional dollars driving bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to record prices. Some banks have already launched cryptocurrency programs, but many more are evaluating the market.

That's why we've created the Crypto Maturity Model: an iterative roadmap for cryptocurrency product rollout, enabling financial institutions to evaluate market opportunities while addressing compliance requirements.

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Caitlin Barnett, Chainanalysis
Caitlin’s legal and compliance experience encompasses both cryptocurrency and traditional finance. As Director of Regulation and Compliance at Chainalysis, she helps leading financial institutions strategize and build compliance programs in order to adopt cryptocurrencies and offer new products to their customers. In addition, Caitlin helps facilitate dialogue with regulators and the industry on key policy issues within the cryptocurrency industry.
Power

Brownsville, we have a problem

The money and will of Elon Musk are reshaping a tiny Texas city. Its residents are divided on his vision for SpaceX, but their opinion may not matter at all.

When Musk chose Cameron County, he changed its future irrevocably.

Photo: Verónica G. Cárdenas for Protocol

In Boca Chica, Texas, the coastal prairie stretches to the horizon on either side of the Gulf of Mexico, an endless sandbar topped with floating greenery, wheeling gulls and whipping gusts of wind.

Far above the sea on a foggy March day, the camera feed on the Starship jerked and then froze on an image of orange flames shooting into the gray. From the ground below, onlookers strained to see through the opaque sky. After a moment of quiet, jagged edges of steel started to rain from the clouds, battering the ground near the oceanside launch pad, ripping through the dunes, sinking deep into the sand and flats.

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Anna Kramer

Anna Kramer is a reporter at Protocol (Twitter: @ anna_c_kramer, email: akramer@protocol.com), where she writes about labor and workplace issues. Prior to joining the team, she covered tech and small business for the San Francisco Chronicle and privacy for Bloomberg Law. She is a recent graduate of Brown University, where she studied International Relations and Arabic and wrote her senior thesis about surveillance tools and technological development in the Middle East.

People

Facebook’s push to protect young users is a peek at the future of social

More options, more proactive protections, fewer one-size-fits-all answers for being a person on the internet.

Social media companies are racing to find ways to protect underage people on their apps.

Image: Alexander Shatov/Unsplash

Social media companies used to see themselves as open squares, places where everyone could be together in beautiful, skipping-arm-in-arm harmony. But that's not the vision anymore.

Now, Facebook and others are going private. They're trying to rebuild around small groups and messaging. They're also trying to figure out how to build platforms that work for everyone, that don't try to apply the same set of rules to billions of people around the world, that bring everyone together but on each user's terms. It's tricky.

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David Pierce

David Pierce ( @pierce) is Protocol's editor at large. Prior to joining Protocol, he was a columnist at The Wall Street Journal, a senior writer with Wired, and deputy editor at The Verge. He owns all the phones.

Power

Who owns that hot startup? These insiders want to clear it up.

Cap tables are fundamental to startups. So 10 law firms and startup software vendors are teaming up to standardize what they tell you about investors' stakes.

Cap tables describe the ownership of shares in a startup, but they aren't standardized.

Illustration: Protocol

Behind every startup, there's a cap table. Startups have to start keeping track of who owns what, from the moment they're created, to fundraising from venture capitalists, to an eventual IPO or acquisition.

"Everything that happens that is a sexy thing that's important to the tech world, it really is something having to do with the cap table," said David Wang, chief innovation officer at the Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati law firm.

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Biz Carson

Biz Carson ( @bizcarson) is a San Francisco-based reporter at Protocol, covering Silicon Valley with a focus on startups and venture capital. Previously, she reported for Forbes and was co-editor of Forbes Next Billion-Dollar Startups list. Before that, she worked for Business Insider, Gigaom, and Wired and started her career as a newspaper designer for Gannett.

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