Elon Musk might make an unusual change to Tesla's Q1 earnings call because of a suggestion he got on Twitter

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  • Elon Musk has indicated on Twitter that he will take a question crowdsourced from retail investors during Tesla‘s first-quarter earnings call on Wednesday.
  • Companies often restrict questions on earnings calls to analysts at major financial institutions.
  • That Musk could change the structure of Tesla‘s earnings call less than two days in advance because of tweet speaks to his unique approach to public relations.

After Tesla reports its first-quarter earnings on Wednesday, it may try something different on its conference call with investors.

CEO Elon Musk might take a question from retail investors.

Companies often restrict questions on earnings calls to analysts at major financial institutions. But Musk has indicated on Twitter that he will also take a question crowdsourced from retail investors, who are not affiliated with such firms.

On Monday, the financial analyst Galileo Russell asked Musk on Twitter whether he would ask a question crowdsourced from retail investors during Wednesday’s earnings call.

Russell tweeted at Musk on Monday, saying: “150 $TSLA shareholders, representing 63K+ shares ($US18M+) have reached out to you in the past 4 days to encourage you to allow me on your upcoming Q1 earnings call & give retail investors a voice by asking a crowdsourced question. let’s make this happen?”

“OK,” Musk replied.

Musk didn’t offer any details about how he would integrate such a question into the call, and Tesla declined to comment on the matter.

Musk’s response to Russell was another example of his unconventional approach to public relations. In contrast to most CEOs of highly visible companies, Musk often has a candid tone on social media. He has used platforms like Twitter to address customers’ concerns, spar with critics, make jokes, and hint at upcoming products and features.

Where many executives are careful to avoid sparking controversy on social media and focus on promoting their businesses, Musk is less measured. That he could change the structure of Tesla’s earnings call less than two days in advance because of a tweet speaks to a communications philosophy that has allowed him to develop an enthusiastic fan base while frustrating critics.

Musk will have plenty of criticism to address on Wednesday’s call. The past four months have seen missed Model 3 production targets, a downgrade of the company’s credit rating, questions about workplace conditions at its California factory, and a high-profile Model X crash that led to a dispute with the National Transportation Safety Board.

Tesla will stream the call on its website starting at 5:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

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