Fraud, Enron, Elon Musk discussed on Invest Like the Best


And sometimes I think it's actually a simple as whether it works the enter now, whether whether you're able to get away with it because it works in the end. But when people convince others to believe, they usually believe themselves. And I remember saying it one point when I was working on the Enron book, I was really struggling with this because I said some, I was very close to. I said, but Jeff skilling he believed and having trouble with this. He believed and this person looked at me and said, Bethany, the worst crimes in human history had been committed by people who believed. And so these themes about human nature resonate not through business, but through human history. And that's why. I find them so fascinating. You betcha this idea between visionary and fraud. This is a really interesting binary and I'm sure that people listening, we'll think about people like you on musk probably is the biggest example of it today for sure. But maybe we could use the story of tesla specifically and a company that shortsellers love to talk about a company that believers equity holders love to talk about. I'm curious your take on this as it's playing out live where we don't know the outcome yet. Obviously, you could paint a picture. One of two ways you cut. I have not written about tesla, so I don't know enough to know, but I do find it. Elon Musk obviously says all sorts of things that aren't true and makes all sorts of predictions that don't come to pass in those details. He is somebody you could see getting in trouble down the road. And if you read Ashley Vance's great book on him, the first half of it just lays out all the ways in which he skirted the rules, essentially lied to people but thought away with it. And so I think in this case, one of the lines between the skeptics. And the believers is he's like, he's not telling the truth. This isn't happening in the believers who thinks somebody who's that brilliant. And has that big a dream while they're just all these details? Don't really matter. The details are unimportant you, you know, grungy little detail oriented people who can't see the big picture and it's really fascinating because that is exactly the crux of this debate. I just finished this book called free radicals, which is a really interesting book about all the frauds basically perpetrated by great scientists, and there's this great line and by Isaac Newton's biographer who talks about him throwing clouds. I'm gonna get it wrong, but throwing clouds of exquisitely crafted fudge factor in the eyes of the scientific opponents and says, basically, some of his most famous work was deliberate fraud. He knew he was right about the idea and he just didn't want to didn't have the math skills to back it up and it makes you realize that this theme is larger like everything. It's larger than the business world of storytelling. Narratives in businesses just amazing because of the power that it can create like. Literally, you can create something from nothing with a great story and create your own momentum. Looking back on all the things you've investigated. Was there a moment where they're sort of this visionary fraud, like you're not sure that stands out in memory? Is there a person or a situation where you really didn't know? I don't know that I can answer that at the moment in time, but looking back at it, it's fascinating if you think about Enron because Enron broadband, which was a fraud for all intents and purposes for the nitty gritty reasons that shortsellers focus on reporting prophets that were basically manufactured out of thin air as lies about the status of the business. But Enron broadband was Netflix. I find that incredibly interesting because if it hadn't been for all the other manifold problems and Enron's businesses, perhaps they would have gotten away with it. And so it's it's unclear, I'm not sure. I wish I could identify that pivotal moment where you can tell the difference between who's a visionary and who's a fraud star. But I, I sometimes think it's only clear in retrospect because the luck of weather. Not at all works, whether or not you get the.

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