Tag Archives: Email

Elon Musk Sent an Email to Employees at 1:20 in the Morning, and It Just May Signal the End of Tesla
January 23, 2019 12:23 pm|Comments (0)

Have you ever gotten an email from your CEO at 1:00 in the morning?

And let’s just say the email…wasn’t pretty.

After highlighting Tesla’s numerous accomplishments over the past year, Musk got down and dirty, announcing another round of job cuts–this time reducing the number of full-time employees by about 7 percent.

The job cuts are necessary, Musk argues, to help the company meet the unique challenges it faces. Challenges like, “making our cars, batteries and solar products cost-competitive with fossil fuels,” products that Musk admits “are still too expensive for most people.”

Musk also acknowledges that since Tesla is competing “against massive, entrenched competitors…[employees] must work much harder than other manufacturers to survive.”

All of this hard work is worth it, Musk says, to support the “mission of accelerating the advent of sustainable transport and energy, which is important for all life on Earth.”

It’s hard not to be inspired by this message. 

Everyone–including the world’s major car manufacturers–knows the continued use of fossil fuels is not sustainable. And no one can deny that those companies probably wouldn’t be as vested in clean energy as they currently are, if it wasn’t for Tesla leading the charge.

But while I’m a fan of much of Musk’s philosophy, it’s the next part of the memo that worries me:

“There are many companies that can offer a better work-life balance, because they are larger and more mature or in industries that are not so voraciously competitive. Attempting to build affordable clean energy products at scale necessarily requires extreme effort and relentless creativity, but succeeding in our mission is essential to ensure that the future is good, so we must do everything we can to advance the cause.”

“We must do everything we can to advance the cause.”

Musk’s personal goal to save the planet may be admirable, but what he’s implying here is not. 

Treating people like people

We generally think of emotional intelligence as a positive quality, one that can help you manage conflict or establish deeper relationships. But in my book, EQ Applied, I describe how one could also use their knowledge and understanding of emotions to motivate or even manipulate others with the sole intent of strategically achieving a goal.

Once that goal is reached, or when individuals are no longer helpful to pursuit of the goal, they are discarded with little or no concern for their well-being.

While it’s likely that Musk truly believes his own rhetoric, what he’s trying to achieve–namely, getting people to buy into the mission of “saving the world” by working themselves to the bone–simply isn’t sustainable. 

And it’s hurting Tesla employees in the process.

In contrast, the most effective mission-driven organizations encourage balance and taking care of one’s self. They realize that anything other than that is foolish and will hurt the cause in the end, in the form of damaged workers and, subsequently, damaged culture. 

Yes, the best organizations use their messaging to inspire their people and reach them on an emotional level. But they do so while keeping their individual needs in mind.

The best organizations encourage their people to get enough sleep, by not sending emails at 1:00 in the morning.

The best organizations encourage their people to take time off, by providing an adequate vacation policy–and encouraging company leaders to set the right example by not working on their own vacations.

The best organizations set a pace their people can maintain indefinitely. Because they realize that long-term success is brought about, not necessarily by those who are the fastest or who work the longest days, but by those who are steady and reliable.

By keeping the big picture in view, and treating their employees as real people–as opposed to disposable commodities–the best organizations inspire company loyalty.

The sooner Musk faces this reality, the greater Tesla’s chances of truly changing the world.

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Popular encrypted email standards are unsafe: researchers
May 14, 2018 6:06 pm|Comments (0)

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – European researchers have found that the popular PGP and S/MIME email encryption standards are vulnerable to being hacked and they urge users to disable and uninstall them immediately.

FILE PHOTO: WhatsApp and Facebook messenger icons are seen on an iPhone in Manchester , Britain March 27, 2017. REUTERS/Phil Noble -/File Photo

University researchers from Muenster and Bochum in Germany, and Leuven in Belgium, discovered the flaws in the encryption methods that can be used with popular email applications such as Microsoft Outlook and Apple Mail.

“There are currently no reliable fixes for the vulnerability,” lead researcher Sebastian Schinzel, professor of applied cryptography at the Muenster University of Applied Sciences, said on Monday.

“If you use PGP/GPG or S/MIME for very sensitive communication, you should disable it in your email client for now.”

The team had been due to publish its full findings on Tuesday but rushed them out after the news made waves among the community of encrypted email users that includes activists, whistleblowers and journalists working in hostile environments.

Titling the exploit ‘Efail’, they wrote that they had found two ways in which hackers could effectively coerce an email client into sending the full plaintext of messages to the attacker.

There’s no immediate suggestion that spy agencies or state-sponsored hackers have already used the technique to burrow into people’s emails.

The researchers have informed email providers of their findings, under so-called responsible disclosure, and it now falls to others to establish whether the exploits can be replicated.

DIRECT EXFILTRATION

In the first exploit, hackers can ‘exfiltrate’ emails in plaintext by exploiting a weakness inherent in Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), which is used in web design and in formatting emails.

Apple Mail, iOS Mail and Mozilla Thunderbird are all vulnerable to direct exfiltration, they said.

A second attack takes advantage of flaws in OpenPGP and S/MIME to inject malicious text that in turn makes it possible to steal the plaintext of encrypted emails.

The vulnerabilities in PGP and S/MIME standards pose an immediate risk to email communication including the potential exposure of the contents of past messages, said the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a U.S. digital rights group.

In a blog post, the EFF recommended that PGP users uninstall or disable their PGP email plug-ins while the research community evaluates the seriousness of the flaws reported by the European research team.

It also said that users should switch for the time being to non-email-based secure messaging apps such as Signal for sensitive communications.

Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) said in a statement there were risks that attackers could secure access to emails in plaintext once the recipient had decrypted them.

It added, however, that it considered the encryption standards themselves to be safe if correctly implemented and configured.

“Securely encrypted email remains an important and suitable means of increasing information security,” it said in a statement, adding that the flaws which have been discovered can be remedied through patches and proper use.

PGP – short for Pretty Good Privacy – was invented back in 1991 by Phil Zimmermann and has long been viewed as a secure form of end-to-end encryption impossible for outsiders to access. Zimmermann is co-founder and chief scientist of Silent Circle, an encrypted communications firm.

PGP has in the past been endorsed, among others, by Edward Snowden, who blew the whistle on pervasive electronic surveillance at the U.S. National Security Agency before fleeing to Russia.

PGP works using an algorithm to generate a ‘hash’, or mathematical summary, of a user’s name and other information. This is then encrypted with the sender’s private ‘key’ and decrypted by the receiver using a separate public key.

To exploit the weakness, a hacker would need to have access to an email server or the mailbox of a recipient. In addition the mails would need to be in HTML format and have active links to external content to be vulnerable, the BSI said.

It advised users to disable the use of active content, such as HTML code and outside links, and to secure their email servers against external access.

Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg

Tech

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Email Marketing Gets a Boost From … Louis CK?
July 13, 2016 5:50 pm|Comments (0)

Email Marketing Gets a Boost From ... Louis CK?

Pundits have been proclaiming the decline of email marketing ever since social media started picking up steam.  Then late last year, the predictions came in about a resurgence of email marketing in 2016  — and Louis CK is just one example of how those predictions were dead on.

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Microsoft Outlook users with Office 365 get a security perk: Unsafe email warnings
April 12, 2016 2:15 am|Comments (0)

There’s no need for a hacker to attack a server or network if they can simply trick someone into disclosing confidential information. Microsoft is adding an additional layer of defense to help stop that from happening—if you subscribe to Office 365.

In the coming weeks, Microsoft said it will begin showing what it calls “Safety Tips” at the top of email: colored bars to let you know whether an email is safe, suspicious, or known to be fraudulent. Microsoft said Safety Tips will be managed by Exchange Online Protection, the back-end protection mechanism used to secure email sent through Office 365.

Why this matters: Everyone tells you, don’t click on suspicious links!—and yet we do, because we don’t necessarily think the link is suspicious. It might be a purported email from HR, or from a client, or an urgent request that comes in late on a Friday. Microsoft’s Safety Tips won’t be able to block everything, but it’s an additional layer of security that will make the crook’s job a little harder. Of course, it’s also another reason to subscribe to Office 365.

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The Solution for Unopened Email: More Email?
November 25, 2015 4:05 pm|Comments (0)

The Solution for Unopened Email: More Email?

As if we don’t get enough emails already … To differentiate itself in the field of email service providers, one provider is trying to set itself apart in the small business market with the ability to automatically send a follow-up email to non-responders. The premise behind San Francisco-based VerticalResponse’s email

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