Consider "valuation" to be a bastardized version of "net worth" and "credit rating" and "street cred." If you live in a million dollar house and drive a BMW 7-class you're going to pay less for car insurance, life insurance, loans etc than someone in a hundred thousand dollar house driving a late-model Ford. Note that this doesn't say anything about the moral fiber of the guy in the ford, nor does it say anything about his ability to pay it back. Some people look at the million dollar house and assume that the dude inside earned it. And maybe he did. Maybe he will. But the impact, right here and now, is that he's impressing people and it's making it easier to keep impressing people.
Let's say I own 1% of Uber and you own 1% of Snapchat. From a "value" standpoint, I own 1% of a hole six times deeper than your hole - Snapchat has burned through $9b while Snapchat is only at $1.6b. From a "valuation" standpoint, though, you're a millionaire 160 times over but more than halfway to being a billionaire. And if you're Snapchat - or Tesla - you get to take that crazy valuation and use it as collateral - for operating expenses, for purchases, for lavish parties, for whatever you want to do. And hey - you and I can wheel and deal and trade our pieces-of-holes as if they were cash money.
So here's a company - GM - that's been in business for over a hundred years. They make something like 130,000 cars a month or some insane number like that. But from a "we need to borrow money" standpoint, they're worth about half as much as Tesla.
Which any number of people consider nuts, a lot of whom have money riding on it. Line up four Tesla shareholders. One of them is short. He's hoping that Tesla's earnings call tomorrow doesn't meet "the market's" expectations, whatever that may mean, and the stock goes down. He'll sell his shorts and make money. Which is the main reason for articles like this - they come out a couple days ahead of every Tesla earnings call - but it's still kinda crazy how much a company that doesn't, you know, make money.