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Yahoo stupidly turns off email forwarding, is this strike three?

(BUSINESS NEWS) Yahoo’s latest customer service flub just might be the straw that breaks the dying giant’s back.

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The slow fall of a giant

Yahoo! the online media platform we’ve all used at some point or another, started as one of the most innovative and popular search engines back in 1994 but has now become the media platform users want to forget. From aged marketing tactics to the largest security breach of it’s kind, the once booming independent entity is grappling with it’s downfall.

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Steeeee-rike one!

Sometime around the tail end of 2014, about one billion people were affected by a security breach, but were not made aware of the breach until late 2016.

Compromised information included names, email addresses, telephone number, dates of birth, passwords, and encrypted security questions and answers.

According to Yahoo, the data was stolen by a government paid individual, and did not pose a direct threat to identity and financial information.

Steeeee-rike two!

Recent reports accuse Yahoo of opening its users’ emails to government surveillance.

According to those reports a special tool was designed to help US intelligence and law enforcement agencies snoop on email conversations.

Former employees cited the government made this request through the legal team, and CEO Marissa Mayer was aware of both the request and company compliance. A spokesperson from Yahoo refuted the accusations saying, “The article is misleading. We narrowly interpret every government request for user data to minimize disclosure. The mail scanning described in the article does not exist on our systems.”

Amidst their hiccups, Yahoo has assured users that the hack is over and hopes to regain popularity through a (possible) partnership with Verizon. Users are still leery, however, and one in particular expressed her feelings in an interview with the Associated Press. Merissa Silk, a mobile product manager, said “Being an American, I think there’s a certain amount of expectation that some surveillance goes behind the scenes all the time… But providing the U.S. government unrestricted access — that really, really violates our privacy.”

And the latest – steeeee-rike three!

Silk, and others like her, have reached their ceiling with Yahoo and have begun planning their exit. In switching email providers though, users will find what may be their final straw with Yahoo: email forwarding to new email addresses has been disabled, and has been since the beginning of October according to users.  Yahoo’s help page says, “While we work to improve it, we’ve temporarily disabled the ability to turn on Mail Forwarding for new forwarding addresses.”

Email forwarding is a pretty simple concept: it allows people to forward any mail coming to their Yahoo account to a separate account of their choice so there aren’t any lost messages. Brian McIntosh, the owner of a small technology business first alerted The Associated Press of the disabled feature, saying email forwarding has been “a basic concept for 15 years for just about every email provider out there.. all of a sudden it’s under development… and only at Yahoo”. Which is why, “improvements” to such a simple feature seems, although possible, highly unlikely.

You’re outta here?

The disconcerting part though, from a customer service angle, is the timing of such “improvements.”

Two weeks after 500,000,000 people experience a security breach, and want to understandably leave Yahoo for a safer option, Yahoo makes it hard for them to leave without losing their most personal information.

What to do in the meantime…

If you are a Yahoo user seemingly stuck with your email platform, you do have another option until said “improvements” are done.

Merissa Silk has bypassed email forwarding, instead leaving an out-of-office message on her Yahoo account which provides her new address and reads: “Following recent data and privacy breaches, I will be discontinuing use of Yahoo Mail.”

#Yahoo

Lauren Flanigan is a Staff Writer at The American Genius, hailing from the windy hills of Cincinnati, with a degree in Marketing from the University of Cincinnati. She has escaped the hills, and currently resides in Atlanta, where you can almost always find her camping at a Starbucks strategizing on how to take over the world.

Business News

This web platform for cannabis is blowing up online distribution

(BUSINESS NEWS) Dutchie, a website platform for cannabis companies, just octupled in value. Here’s what that means for the online growth of cannabis distribution.

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A small jar of cannabis on a desk with notebooks, sold online in a nicely made jar.

The cannabis industry has, for the most part, blossomed in the past few years, managing to hit only a few major snags along the way. One of those snags is the issue of payment processing, an issue compounded by predominantly cash-only transactions. Dutchie, a Bend, Oregon company, has helped mitigate that issue—and it just raised a ton of money.

Technically, Dutchie is a jack-of-all-trades service that creates and hosts websites for dispensaries, tracks product, processes orders, keeps stock of revenue, and so much more. While it was valued at around $200 million as recently as summer of 2020, a round of series C funding currently puts the company at around $1.7 billion—approximately 8 times its worth a mere 8 months ago.

There are a few reasons behind Dutchie’s newfound momentum. For starters, the pandemic made cannabis products a lot more accessible—and desirable—in states in which the sale of cannabis is legal. The ensuing surge of customers and demand certainly didn’t hurt the platform, especially given that Dutchie is largely responsible for keeping things on track during some of the more chaotic months for dispensaries.

Several states in which the sale of cannabis was illegal also voted to legalize recreational use, giving Dutchie even more stomping ground than they had prior to the lockdown.

Dutchie also recently took on 2 separate companies and their associated employees, effectively doubling their current staff. The companies are Greenbits—a resource planning group—and Leaflogix, which is a point-of-sale platform. With these two additions to their compendium, Dutchie can operate as even more of an all-in-one suite, which absolutely contributes to its value as a company.

Ross Lipson, who is Dutchie’s co-founder and current CEO, is fairly dismissive of investment opportunities for the public at the moment, saying he instead prefers to stay “focused with what’s on our plate” for the time being. However, he also appears open to the possibility of going public via an acquisition company.

“We look at how this decision brings value to the dispensary and the customer,” says Lipson. “If it brings value, we’d embark on that decision.”

For now, Dutchie remains the ipso facto king of cannabis distribution and sales—and they don’t show any plans to slow down any time soon.

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Business News

Ford adopts flexible working from home schedule for over 30k employees

(BUSINESS NEWS) Ford Motor Co. is allowing employees to continue working from home even after the pandemic winds down. Is this the beginning of a trend for auto companies?

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Woman in car working on engineering now allowed a flexible schedule for working from home.

The pandemic has greatly transformed our lives. For the most part, learning is being conducted online. At one point, interacting with others was pretty much non-existent. Working in the office shifted significantly to working remotely, and it seems like working from home might not go away anytime soon.

As things slowly get back to a new “normal”, will things change again? Well, one thing is sure. Working from home will be a permanent thing for some people as more companies opt to continue letting people work remotely.

And, the most recent company on the list to do this is Ford Motor Co. Even after the pandemic winds down, Ford will allow more than 30,000 employees already working from home to continue doing so.

Last week, the automaker giant announced its “flexible hybrid model” schedule to its staff. The new schedule is set to start in the summer, and employees can choose to work remotely and come into the office for tasks that require face-to-face collaborations, such as meetings and group projects.

How much time an employee spends in the office will depend on their responsibilities, and flexible remote hours will need to be approved by an employee’s manager.

“The nature of work drives whether or not you can adopt this model. There are certain jobs that are place-dependent — you need to be in the physical space to do the job,” David Dubensky, chairman and chief executive of Ford Land, told the Washington Post. “Having the flexibility to choose how you work is pretty powerful. … It’s up to the employee to have dialogue and discussion with their people leader to determine what works best.”

Ford’s decision to implement a remote-office work model has to do in part with an employee survey conducted in June 2020. Results from the survey showed that 95% of employees wanted a hybrid schedule. Some employees even reported feeling more productive when working from home.

Ford is the first auto company to allow employees to work from home indefinitely, but it might not be the only one. According to the Post, Toyota and General Motors are looking at flexible options of their own.

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Business News

Unify your remote team with these important conversations

(BUSINESS NEWS) More than a happy hour, consider having these poignant conversations to bring your remote team together like never before.

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Woman working in office with remote team

Cultivating a team dynamic is difficult enough without everyone’s Zoom feed freezing halfway through “happy” hour. You may not be able to bond over margaritas these days, but there are a few conversations you can have to make your team feel more supported—and more comfortable with communicating.

According to Forbes, the first conversation to have pertains to individual productivity. Ask your employees, quite simply, what their productivity indicators are. Since you can’t rely on popping into the office to see who is working on a project and who is beating their Snake score, knowing how your employees quantify productivity is the next-best thing. This may lead to a conversation about what you want to see in return, which is always helpful for your employees to know.

Another thing to discuss with your employees regards communication. Determining which avenues of communication are appropriate, which ones should be reserved for emergencies, and which ones are completely off the table is key. For example, you might find that most employees are comfortable texting each other while you prefer Slack or email updates. Setting that boundary ahead of time and making it “office” policy will help prevent strain down the road.

Finally, checking in with your employees about their expectations is also important. If you can discuss the sticky issue of who deals with what, whose job responsibilities overlap, and what each person is predominantly responsible for, you’ll negate a lot of stress later. Knowing exactly which of your employees specialize in specific areas is good for you, and it’s good for the team as a whole.

With these 3 discussions out of the way, you can turn your focus to more nebulous concepts, the first of which pertains to hiring. Loop your employees in and ask them how they would hire new talent during this time; what aspects would they look for, and how would they discern between candidates without being able to meet in-person? It may seem like a trivial conversation, but having it will serve to unify further your team—so it’s worth your time.

The last crucial conversation, per Forbes, is simple: Ask your employees what they would prioritize if they became CEOs tomorrow. There’s a lot of latitude for goofy responses here, but you’ll hear some really valuable—and potentially gut-wrenching—feedback you wouldn’t usually receive. It never hurts to know what your staff prioritize as idealists.

Unifying your staff can be difficult, but if you start with these conversations, you’ll be well on your way to a strong team during these trying times.

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