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Lawsuit: Oil Exec Pretended To Be Elon Musk With Hilarious Fake Yahoo Email

Illustration for article titled Lawsuit: Oil Exec Pretended To Be Elon Musk With Hilarious Fake Yahoo Email

In another crazy chapter of the “conspiracy” against Tesla, as the real Elon Musk often likes to frame it, the company has filed a lawsuit against an oil industry executive, accusing him of creating a fake Yahoo email address to impersonate Elon Musk and acquire confidential information from Tesla’s Chief Financial Officer.

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As reported by Forbes, the lawsuit filed on Wednesday alleges that Todd Katz, the chief financial officer for Quest Integrity Group, created the fake email address “elontesla@yahoo.com” and posed as Tesla CEO Elon Musk requesting confidential information. Quest Integrity “provides pipeline services and other management solutions for the oil and gas industry,” according to the suit.

Here’s the full email sent to Tesla CFO Jason Wheeler from elontesla@yahoo.com:

“why you so cautious w Q3/4 gm guidance on call? also what are your thoughts on disclosing M3 res#? Pros/cons from ir pov? what is your best guess as to where we actually come in on q3/4 deliverables. honest guess? no bs. thx 4 hard work prepping 4 today

em”

I’m now deeply curious why whoever wrote this is convinced that is how Elon Musk communicates via email.

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The fake address is apparently similar to an address once used by the real CEO, which makes me worry that real people may have to deal with the real Elon Musk’s horrible email etiquette.

Seeing as Tesla’s most knowledgeable and vocal spokesperson is Musk himself, and that he likely is already well versed in the information requested in the email, it is easy to imagine that Jason Wheeler—who had reported on Tesla’s earnings and projections that very day—likely knew immediately that he had received an email from somebody illegitimate.

I’m guessing the “thx 4 hard work” is probably what gave it away.

Tesla claims that it investigated the source of the email and discovered Todd Katz and ten other unnamed people were involved in the conspiracy, but it’s unclear how it came to those conclusions.

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Tesla is seeking compensation for its investigation, legal fees, and other undisclosed financial damages. You can read through the full suit as filed to the Superior Court of the State of California on Forbes’ website.

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DISCUSSION

StalePhish

I highly doubt he emails like that. I read a book about Elon Musk and it talked about how Musk sent an angry email to all the employees at Space in 2010 about excessive usage of acronyms and how it makes reading something more challenging than it needs to be.

There is a creeping tendency to use made up acronyms at SpaceX. Excessive use of made up acronyms is a significant impediment to communication and keeping communication good as we grow is incredibly important. Individually, a few acronyms here and there may not seem so bad, but if a thousand people are making these up, over time the result will be a huge glossary that we have to issue to new employees. No one can actually remember all these acronyms and people don’t want to seem dumb in a meeting, so they just sit there in ignorance. This is particularly tough on new employees.

Elon MuskThat needs to stop immediately or I will take drastic action—I have given enough warnings over the years. Unless an acronym is approved by me, it should not enter the SpaceX glossary. If there is an existing acronym that cannot reasonably be justified, it should be eliminated, as I have requested in the past.

For example, there should be no “HTS” [horizontal test stand] or “VTS” [vertical test stand] designations for test stands. Those are particularly dumb, as they contain unnecessary words. A “stand” at our test site is obviously a *test* stand. VTS-3 is four syllables compared with “Tripod,” which is two, so the bloody acronym version actually takes longer to say than the name!

The key test for an acronym is to ask whether it helps or hurts communication. An acronym that most engineers outside of SpaceX already know, such as GUI, is fine to use. It is also ok to make up a few acronyms/contractions every now and again, assuming I have approved them, e.g., MVac and M9 instead of Merlin 1C-Vacuum or Merlin 1C-Sea Level, but those need to be kept to a minimum.