1. I shared the following suggestion to Codecademy support desk recently. Security is an essential part of any website nowadays, and even more so for such a company with 24 million users.
Note: As a follow up to my email, I also received email confirmation from the community manager mentioning that the site-wide SSL will be added soon.
As shared in my Quanta$avers' presentation and also in the Privatebook section, malware and all kinds of internet security issues are spreading faster than we think. Hopefully, this company management would implement the site-wide SSL soon to avoid any personal data loss as the community manager had mentioned in his reply.
How much potential savings/gains for the company, and for the global economy? For example, one data breach that happened at Target last year amounted to $200+ million along with reduction in customer trust. Here are couple of interesting articles on this topic -
Note: On an average, one record theft costs more than $100 in loss in US. With 24 million users, think about the potential loss that could have come out of another data breach.
May 30 (6 days ago)
I would like to make a suggestion about enhancing website security for Codecademy website. Right now, it appears that there is no SSL certificate for the website. Please add SSL certificate to the website to enhance security.
Otherwise, great job putting together an useful site for coding purposes.
2. I had shared the following suggestions during an interview process for the Program Chair position. I also had shared other emails at Harper College (Harper College was part of the President's list of Colleges, and still is, I think) and Argosy management in the past. This email might be helpful for other institutions too. Note: These emails were shared part of the interview process for the Program Chair position. There were other emails that touched upon various ways to improve education and economy in general.
Disclaimer: For those of you considering educational institutions for further education, please perform your own due-diligence, and get advice from the right people before taking decisions. I also highly recommend you to find the one that fits your needs. Go for quality, and value, where majority of the professors/teachers offer quality education in the selected institution. After selecting your institution of choice, you can supplement your education with courses/certificates offered by MOOC platforms such as EdX, Coursera, Novoed to name a few. For those of you into research, advanced degrees are certainly an option.
> From: Kidambi, Srikanth S.
> Sent: Tuesday, July 09, 2013 2:55 PM
> To: VanWinkle, David
> Subject: RE: Business Program Chair at Argosy-Chicago
> Dr. VanWinkle,
> I would like to thank you, Dr. Kimberling and the entire team that met with me in the morning over at Argosy University, Chicago Campus. I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation prior to the executive council interview process and also liked answering all of the thought-provoking questions. As an extension to the morning session, when I reflected on the interview process, there were certain topics that I would like to clarify again as well as share my suggestions in this email. The topics of interest are:
> 1. How to enhance Argosy University brand?
> In addition to the traditional methods that were discussed, I would like to reiterate that these three key actions can help on that front namely,
> a. Expand the students' network throughout EDMC by first promoting awareness and then connecting students from different areas of focus. For eg., when I was coming out after the interview, I met a fourth year Psy. D student, who also happens to teach Undergraduate courses, and when I started talking about different things with one topic being the law program offered by Western State University College of Law, the student mentioned that she was not aware of this program. This awareness initiative can be expanded to other EDMC/Argosy University staff and faculty members.
> b. Provide unique course offerings capitalizing on the assets of the overall EDMC organization, thus, equipping our students' in the area of Business, Ethics/Law, Psychology/Emotional Intelligence and Organizational/Educational leadership. Setting the students' apart on that front can make them an unique addition to any organization.
> c. Promote a sense of ownership and increased accountability amongst part-time and adjunct faculty members, and in the process, utilize this expanded group of knowledge managers as brand ambassadors for the school.
> 2. How to improve the morale of the employees especially, during Uncertain situation?
> To start with, I would like to share a book by Jim Collins, “Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, & Luck – Why Some Thrive Despite Them All”. It would be a good book to read, which can give insight on that front. If time is a factor, please share this link that I had shared earlier in one of my leadership classes. This YouTube link is a Charlie Rose Interview with Jim Collins.
> What are the initiatives that can be taken?
> Leaders & Management: Create an open, collaborative, trusting environment built on clear communication; Prevent/Avoid divide-conquer actions; Provide opportunities for right individuals to expand their knowledge and skill set so that these employees can market themselves within and outside the organization
> Employees: From the employees perspective, be a go-getter seeking right opportunities; Manage your finances and resources in an efficient manner
> 3. What can I further work on to improve my ability as an effective leader?
> I still need to refine my people management skills, which I think, would happen with more exposure to intricate situations, cross-functional interactions and training;
> Considering my diverse knowledge, I tend to bring in different perspectives to the analysis, which results in deep answers that may not be an optimal one for everyone. For that reason, I can improve on my ability to provide relevant and audience-centric way of explaining solutions.
> To wrap up, I realized that I missed one of the P's out of the 4 P's during the interview that I value and think would help people progress a long way. For that reason, I would like to share those 4 P's again in this email namely, Passion, Purpose, Patience, and Perseverance, which combined with a strong Focus can help anyone reach his/her objectives.
> I look forward to working together with the entire team over at the Chicago Campus in the near future.
Dr. Kimberling was the Assistant Secretary for Education during President Ronald Reagan's time
Subject: RE: Argosy University Business Chair Interview
Date: Fri, 5 Jul 2013 22:21:36 +0000
Dear Dr. Kimberling,
I would like to thank you for meeting with me and for sharing the strategic vision for Argosy University, Chicago campus and also for the entire Argosy University. Considering your long track record of success spanning more than forty years, I was impressed with your simple and direct approach throughout our conversation.
Our conversation also gave further insight on strategic program initiatives across Argosy University such as, "Vanilla General Management" program strategy for MBA students or targeted career-focus Masters programs. In addition, you also shared the focus of the management's consideration to offer additional certificate programs aligned with the market and students' needs to meet the changing labor landscape.
During our conversation, I got to learn more about the history of for-profit institutions. After our conversation, I researched more on this topic and was taken aback to know that one of the founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, championed the idea of promoting practical skills and trades based education offerings during his days. I was also surprised by the fact that Andrew Carnegie learnt bookkeeping at Commercial College and John D. Rockefeller studied accounting and banking at Folsom's Commercial College, two for-profit institutions. For that matter, the concept of such offerings were supposedly in place dating back to 1660's when early Dutch settlers were offering math, reading evening classes (References: 1, 2).
I also remember our conversation on the importance of questioning the existing process in place and how you connected to the railroad system. This discussion connected with the topic of effectiveness and efficiency. Though re-inventing the wheel is a waste of time, in general, it is important to look into effectiveness of prior initiatives and revisit it, if necessary, rather than just focusing on further improving operational efficiency. This particular topic also tied to two courses that I taught earlier this year, namely, Organizational leadership and behavior & Change leadership. In this course, we touched upon the need for leaders to promote an open, top-down "freedom to fail" approach build on trust, where employees to a large extent are empowered to take important, accountable decisions aligned with the strategic vision of the organization. In this way, previous strategies & operations will be questioned for constant improvement, which further will help in limiting "death march" projects.
I am keen to have many more such interactions in the future and look forward to working with you in the role of Program Chair, College of Business at the Argosy University, Chicago campus.
3. The below email was sent to CFPB (and, I might have sent one before) regarding frequent stories of credit card breaches, and requesting to take an active role to combat it. In this message, I remember touching upon improving employee verification process, employee training, and to strengthen security using technologies such as, chip (which is gradually becoming common nowadays), tokenization, dynamic authentication in addition to POS security.
From: "Consumer Financial Protection Bureau" <email@example.com>
Date: February 26, 2014 at 11:09:55 PM CST
Subject: Your submission, [Case number: 140126-000097]
Reply-To: "Consumer Financial Protection Bureau" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
We are trying to get in touch with you because without some additional information, we can’t keep working on your complaint.
If you would like us to continue working on your complaint, call us at (855) 411-CFPB (2372).
Without the necessary information, we will have to close your complaint.
- Contact us at (855) 411-CFPB (2372) between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. ET.
- Reference your complaint number 140126-000097.
- A member of our team will help you complete your complaint.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
(855) 411-CFPB (2372)
4. On a side note - the day after I shared the above email, I received an email asking me to confirm my email address (same address as the one shared in the CFPB email above) with regard to creation of a new Facebook account. This email also included instructions on disabling the new account request, if I had nothing to do with the creation of this account. As per the instruction provided in the email, I submitted a request to disable the FB account.
By the way, I have never received such emails before to this email address as I tend to limit sharing my personal email addresses, and was wondering about the potential reason for such an email sent to this account. Though there are many ways and many reasons that this unauthorized creation of account could have happened, as a precautionary action, I removed my email address from the above messages in spite of the fact that this site is being kept "private".
When I researched more in the "Help community" section, this issue appears to be consistently happening, and brought up by others' for a while now.
May be, this could have been one potential reason for Germany moving towards end to end email encryption.
Check out the above article to get better insight on this topic.
After presenting this thought, I came across an interesting link:
By the way, along the lines of what LinkedIn is doing while signing into accounts, it would be useful if Facebook can include the ip address, browser information, the nature of computer used, and any other information collected as part of the new account creation verification process (on top of the two step verification that was first offered by Google). Providing this information may not completely solve this problem, but can reduce the level of such account creations, thus potentially saving significant time, & money (Please pay me for this pragmatic and realistic idea, if you were to incorporate it into your process). By the way, I had shared the same thought in a MOOC post last year that was viewed by many, and until then, I don't remember LinkedIn sharing those details. I am curious when LinkedIn started sharing those details.
You might be wondering how is this possible?
Sharing my idea in a MOOC, and someone else having that information even without my knowledge - What??
There are mixed views about degree of separation in a small world set up, but as per some studies, the degree of separation has been reduced from 6 to almost 4. You would get to read more about other similar situations that are potentially happening now, or would be happening soon - Those scenarios will be shared in the article - "Title not yet finalized" -
Personally, I believe that it also depends on who those degrees are, platform being used, and the nature of technology used. I am working on understanding this problem better, and will come out with a story soon.
Note: My point is simple -
We need technology to move the society forward. At the same time, the policy/decision makers should also optimize policies, laws in line with changing technological landscape to provide protection to those who are more vulnerable, and give importance to laws and ethics. I doubt law and criminal justice programs have started incorporating the changing technological landscape to a larger extent into the course structure.
5. Here are some references on degrees of separation:
I have many more references, which I will be utilizing to understand this problem better.
I also have a question - Would Google be able to share the time spent by an individual on researching various topics, and all other relevant information pertaining to the same? I remember reading something about "Shine the light" law, which pertains to customer's privacy.
I have been investing hours and hours on researching for years now in addition to understanding people and nature, and would like to keep track of time spent on the web. It would also help me in record keeping purposes for my company (Time + Know-how = Right compensation for knowledge). It is also a question for justice.gov.
6. I got a message about a student studying in Guru Nanak College needing help. If you were to see this link, and have the ability to help for similar causes, please do so.
I am not sure whether someone or group would have helped this individual by now. Anyways, I intend to do my part when I visit Chennai next time.
Going by the saying, "Give a person fish, and you feed that person for a day; Teach him fishing, and you make that person self-sufficient for a long time (provided that person is not hungry - If then, feed first before training)". Along those lines, IIT with its resources could come up with an economical engineering solution to help similar such students in need in the future.
7. Recent charitable contributions
9. Added on July 15th
Yesterday, I received a mail suggesting me to open a Discover credit card, and to go debt free. Though the offer appeared interesting, I am not interested to add any more to my credit limit.
Moving onto a slightly different topic, being a data analytics expert myself, this mail from Discover made me wonder whether results from their data analysis has placed me in the wrong category. I would like to clarify that my family as like many other middle class families in US and the world tend to be very careful with our finances, and live within our means. Moreover, we already have enough credits cards, and would like to opt out of any new offers in the near future.
By the way, Discover and other credit card companies can use FICO or other Credit scores as a preliminary screening method while pushing such offers. In this way, credit card companies can save millions of dollars in unnecessary CRM expenses, and can hire more people instead. I would also like to add that I have shared similar such suggestions through the message centers in the past, and not sure how much of it went towards executive bonuses.
10. Added 8/19/2015
Hotmail account: I have been getting lots of spam emails especially, pertaining to jobs. I have my own company, and am optimistic to get significant funding soon. Please block those emails. Thanks.
Is there a way to get an official time stamp of all the content that I had shared on my website? I have been having this question for a while, and will include it here, if I were to find it. Thanks.
I also had contributed in 2014 to help students in need.
8. Twitter - I have been getting emails to one of my gmail accounts even though I did not subscribe for it. Please look into it. Thanks.
Hotmail - Please look into improving the filtering process for spam emails. Thanks.