Is Nikola just an elaborate scam operation?

It looks like it is!


Maybe. Or maybe he’s a sort of eternal optimist. Reminds me of the fellow who produced the “Tucker” car. It had some modern car features that no other car companies were delivering at the time, safety features for example. Some thought him a fraud. They said he made promises to investors and customers that he had a difficult time backing up. Others didn’t see him as a fraud. Just misunderstood. His company did produce 50 Tucker cars I think, before it folded.

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A fine line between brilliance and insanity. I really don’t know much about him but I suspect similar cases can be made for a number of companies trying to break out with unconventional products. I include Ford and GM and most are going to fail in the long run.

At any rate two cautionary items: Indicted by a Grand Jury. You know what they say about them and a ham sandwich. And the Southern District of New York, which is due for a severe house cleaning.

For a normal person though, you only invest with companies like this with money you don’t care if you lose or not. Of course just in my late night humble opinion which I may have to alter tomorrow.

The difference between Tucker and Nikola, Tucker actually produced 50 operating cars before he was shut down.
The Nikola was just a mock-up, truck did not run, videos were of it coasting down a hill, it was not under power.


I think that if you show a video like that to people in order to get them to invest in your company, the polite term for that activity is fraud.


I suspect it started out as legitimate. They really wanted to make that electric truck. And then they discovered that engineering and producing a (useful) electric semi is hard, as Tesla can attest since their semi has been delayed a number of times.

And then they were running out of money and figured if they can just get a cash infusion they can save the project, and that’s where they ran up against ethical problems. So they cheated (just a little bit!) to get the money (that we will fail without!). And then the snowball effect of deception happened, they were caught, and as I always am, I was astonished they were able to remain in business once people knew they were a pack of damn liars.

Ethics are a big deal in my former profession (journalism). But the trouble is that most of the people I worked with talked a good ethical game, but as soon as something came up that involved ethics making it harder to complete a story, 9 times out of 10, the ethics were dropped.

Usually it was something relatively mild, such as staging video because we hadn’t gotten the event when it really happened. That’s something that’s a hard-no ethically speaking, but I’d always hear the argument that we’re telling the story that actually happened, just asking them to do it again. I’d always say I was fine with it if we disclosed that it was a reenactment, but they didn’t want to do that because it would make things look staged (duh).

I was constantly catching hell from colleagues and bosses for refusing to do things like that, because they viewed ethics as something to aspire to, but never to the point that ethics get in the way of a story making air, whereas I view ethics as a concept that is meaningless unless you adhere to it 100% of the time.

Unfortunately, my former profession is not the only one where I’m the ethical oddball. I’ve found that most people are willing to let certain ethical obligations slide if those obligations stand between them and what they want.