A new coalition was announced yesterday morning. The Computer Science Education Coalition (CSEC) will encourage Congress to invest $250 million in funding for a crucially needed investment in K-12 computer science education.
At launch, CSEC has 43 members including Facebook, Microsoft, Accenture, Yahoo, Code.org, HP, Amazon, Google, Dropbox, STEM Education Coalition, TechNet, and IBM. I am proud to say that my company, Professional Options LLC is a co-founding member of the coalition.
“This coalition will build on a strong movement across the country supporting computer science education,” said Brad Smith, President of Microsoft. “We need this movement to ensure that today’s students have the opportunity they deserve to develop the skills that will be foundational for the future across the entire American economy.”
What You Can Do
Earlier this year, my spouse finally got round to creating a Facebook business page. He reached out to his network to increase his fan base, and welcomed reviews from clients. In short order, two long term customers wrote five star reviews, confirming the recent industry award his company had won three years in a row.
Out of the blue, a 3-star review appeared on their page, and he checked company records to discover they'd never worked with the person rating them. He notified them of this and respectfully requested they remove the review, not simply because it was a lower score which compromised their public average, but it was a false representation of a business relationship which didn't exist. The reviewer was a friend of a relative, and thought she was doing my husband's company a favour by rating him. Since they hadn't actually worked with him, she explained, she felt better giving him three stars instead of five.
Shocked at this rationale, she was again asked to remove the review and indicated she would do so. That was early March, almost five months ago. Despite several requests and an appeal to Facebook for removal, the review remains*.
Social media has dramatically changed the conversation between customer and vendour. Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp are some examples of the numerous avenues for rating one's experience with a wide range of businesses and entities. In principle it's a great concept, but in reality, rife with the possibility of skewing or extorting. Too often, well-meaning friends or colleagues swoop in to offer high praise, ratings, or recommendations which aren't exactly true, or to vilify egregious or even minor missteps. As a result, the very sites we visit for contextual input become less credible resources. Businesses strike back with lawsuits or defensive counterpoints in order to save their operations from protests or boycotts - or merely unfairly bad press that spirals out of control.
It is regularly espoused that many prefer to do business with people they like. I'm slightly different and perhaps more Vulcan-like in this regard, since I am fully capable and willing to do so with well-oiled machines, whether or not I like or know those involved. In some cases I actually prefer this model. Networks are increasingly valuable because we can mobilise them to our advantage, as well as towards something or someone we enjoy or can vouch for. Don't debase or minimise that power by wielding it in a manner which compromises integrity.
*removed 7/31/2014 and on a good note for all parties
Some of you probably thought I was going the route of 9-1/2 Weeks, replete with visions of the erotic food-feeding scene. Alas, not today...though that movie is perhaps one of the last times I thought of Mickey Rourke as hot.
Tonight I took a quick detour into Facebook to see what (if anything) I'd missed over the last couple of days. Other than the opportunity to spread birthday cheer to several connections, it came down to the old 'plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose'. In other words, not much. There was one 'debate' in which my husband was involved about affirmative action, Obama, and radical Muslim extremists, but it wasn't very long or in depth.
Years ago, I might have jumped in and annihilated logically fallacious arguments, but I've since learned to choose my battles and eat quality food. I quickly reminded my partner one should not eat food thrown on the ground, then complain about the dirt.
Sometimes it isn't always easy to see if a kitchen is dirty, and thus truly assess the quality of food one ingests. However, over time the source and method are revealed, and one must choose whether or not an aspect of the meal is worth getting a bit of unclean matter stuck in your teeth.
I know, I know....greasy spoons hold appeal. And just when you think you have these things neatly sorted out, here comes the haute cuisine of edible dirt. Heh. Bon Appétit!