Living With Radical Integrity
Earlier today, one of my former best friends, Trevor Milton, was found guilty on 3 of 4 counts of fraud.
He will face his prison sentence sometime in January.
As I lay here reading about it, many different emotions are coming up for me. It is a reminder that life is so much easier when you live it with radical integrity.
I was on the Nikola roller coaster basically from day one.
Most people who follow me on here already know my story and see that I was $500,000 of the original 2.5 million that started the company.
I hoped and prayed it would work for years and ultimately ended up selling all my shares the second I could. I had been an emotional wreck for months and was done riding the Nikola train.
This post isn't about me tho, though it's about Trevor.
I don't think he's a bad guy; he's not.
And say what you want about the guy, but as I write this, Nikola still has an evaluation of over a billion dollars.
I think Trevor had a vast idea and an incredible truck design.
I think he had a unique ability to sell his vision, which got many people on board.
I think the business blew up way faster and more extensive than he expected and before he could pull the reigns, he found himself in a major jam.
He had a multi-billion dollar evaluation of a business in its infant stages.
But, lie after lie started stacking up. He rolled a truck down the hill, selling the badger as a truck he had created when in reality, it was nothing more than a drawing. He even told me in his kitchen one day that he had made a battery that would allow a Tesla to go over 1000 miles between charges.
All obvious lies now.
I don't believe Trevor wanted to be a con man. I think he honestly thought he could pull it off. His problem was the thousands of victims that bought into his story and lies and lost all their money once it was exposed to be false.
With great power comes great responsibility and when you are the CEO and founder of a multi-billion dollar company, you can't just make shit up because you want it to be true.
Trevor always wanted to be somebody.
He talked a lot about being bullied when he was younger.
He started getting a lot of attention and fame, poured gasoline on the fire, and started picking fights with everyone from Elon Musk to "trolls with Trevor" (don't even get me started on that!)
I do believe the jury got this verdict right.
When I was in the pool with Trevor a month before the Hindenburg report dropped, I realized this was not what he said it was for the first time.
Sadly I didn't make it to the sell date before it collapsed and I lost 85% of the value from the peak.
I got out fine even if it was $695 million less than Trevors' other investor, putting in the same amount as me, two weeks apart.
I found peace with it all because that money was never supposed to be mine. That was never supposed to be my story. That $695 million would have come from retail investors that had invested based on the lies Trevor told.
My heart goes out to Trevor.
I watched him tip generously and raise money for causes like Operation Underground Railroad.
I watched him stay late after my fireworks event to jump-start a little Latin family whose truck battery had died.
He was generous in inviting friends to travel with him; I benefited from that several times. One of my favorite things he would do was when he would have dinner; he always made everyone go around the table and say in detail what they were grateful for that day. It was a beautiful exercise of gratitude.
Nobody is all good or all bad.
Trevor is a kid that wants to be loved, wants people to see how smart he is, and wants to fit in. He wanted friends; he loved his family and was great to me 90% of the time.
He also could be straight cold-blooded and vengeful, and he couldn't help himself; he often lied, including to his best friends, as he did me.
I hope he has to give the money back; he should do that.
I hope he gets a fair sentence, whatever that is.
I hope he and many others will learn from this.
I hope in the future, they will remember that no amount of money or fame is worth it when it comes to the cost of your integrity.
I wish I could have had a final sit down with Trevor -- 20 months ago, when I discovered what he had done to me, I asked him to meet and talk about it...
He told me I had to speak to his lawyers and he refused to meet. That was the last time we spoke.
What a ride.
Who in their life gets to be on this crazy adventure for the past six years?
As crazy as it's been, I'm glad it's ending.