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Big Revolution - The Tesla movie: act 3, scene 1

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Welcome to Tuesday's Big Revolution. Here's what I've been reading (and writing) over the past 24 hou
 
June 19 · Issue #114 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to Tuesday’s Big Revolution. Here’s what I’ve been reading (and writing) over the past 24 hours…
Martin

Big things you need to know today
- Elon Musk says a rogue employee has been trying to sabotage Tesla. In an internal email, he said the staff member had “tweaked code on internal products and sent company data out without authorization.” More on this in the Big Thought section below.
- An IBM A.I. computer has successfully debated against a human at an event in San Francisco. ‘Project Debater’ “drew its information from a data bank of carefully curated sources chosen by IBM’s researchers,” the BBC reports. IBM hopes the tech can help humans make better-informed decisions.
- Amazon shareholders want the company to stop selling face recognition software. CNN reports that nearly 20 groups of shareholders are worried about the threat of government surveillance.
- The media company with the silliest name in the world, Tronc, is changing its name back to Tribune Publishing. I want to know the behind-the-scenes story of this whole naming saga. Corporate power and influence games are fun unless you’re caught up in them.
- You’ll soon be able to send and receive Android SMS messages from your computer if you use Google’s Messages app. The new feature is rolling out over the next week.
The big thought
A Tesla Supercharger. Credit: Chase Lewis on Unsplash
The Tesla movie: act 3, scene 1
The news that there’s a saboteur in Tesla’s ranks is dramatic, but not particularly surprising for a company with a far from steady and stable history. In fact, this latest development feels like the start of the final act in a movie that culminates with roads full of Model 3s all across America.
In the leaked email seen by CNBC, Musk says the man said he did it because “he wanted a promotion that he did not receive.” However, Musk believes it may have been part of an organised effort to harm the company. 
In most cases, the idea that there was someone on payroll deliberately trying to hurt a business would be mere paranoia, but Musk has good reason to be cautious. An earlier CNBC report yesterday concerned another email Musk had sent about a factory fire on Sunday that may or may not have been intentional. 
He also suggested that employees look out for negligence or sabotage, writing “Please be on the alert for anything that’s not in the best interests of our company” and reminding employees of former Intel CEO Andy Grove’s famous maxim: “only the paranoid survive.”
There are plenty of people who want to see Tesla fail. Short sellers have a lot to lose if Tesla meets its Model 3 production targets, and the company’s stock price has been rallying thanks to progress in that regard. If you were going to lose a lot of money if Tesla succeeded, you’d be motivated to stop it. And an employee with a grudge might be the perfect foil.
And then, less likely but still possible, there are other car manufacturers and even oil firms who see Tesla as pushing demand for electric cars forward faster than they’d like. 
Whatever the case, I can’t wait to watch the eventual, inevitable, Tesla movie. I hope for the sake of all those people with pre-orders on base price Model 3s that it’s got a happy ending. 
One big read
How Apple’s Tim Cook Became Tech’s Top Diplomat How Apple’s Tim Cook Became Tech’s Top Diplomat
A look at the increasing political importance of big tech companies.
“Caught in the trade fight between Washington and Beijing [Apple CEO, Tim Cook] has become something of an envoy while trying to protect Apple’s business in China.”
One big tweet
Here, Hunter Walk is quoting Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson, one of the few tech execs to speak out against the ‘children in cages’ scandal in the USA. You can read Lawson’s post here.
👨🏻‍💻☕️
"As a tech leader & public CEO, I’m often advised to stay apolitical. But this isn’t politics, I believe this is a matter of objective right and wrong. Staying silent doesn’t feel like leadership to me. I encourage other leaders to consider the cost of silence."

✊👏 @jeffiel https://t.co/iX7T0uyWDp
1:30 AM - 19 Jun 2018
That’s all for today...
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