Trending December 2023 # Interview: Bigboss Repo Maintainer Talks Security And User Responsibility # Suggested January 2024 # Top 14 Popular

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By jailbreaking their devices, most users usually know what they expose themselves to. When breaking the walls Apple has constructed to protect their security and privacy, jailbreakers put their fate in the hands of a handful of people. If done with basic principles in mind, jailbreaking can be very safe. I, for example, have been jailbreaking every iOS device I have owned since 2008, and I have yet to encounter any issue whatsoever.

Being cautious starts by being aware of what you install on your jailbroken device. Limiting yourself to the default repositories is good practice, as these repos do an outstanding job at analyzing jailbreak apps and tweaks before making them available for download, ensuring that the final user is as safe as possible.

But there is always that slight chance that a malicious tweak might have gone through the cracks and made its way into Cydia for millions of potential users to download. Nothing is 100% safe, but safety measures can be put in place to ensure the highest level of security. This is the job of repo maintainers.

We have talked to representatives of the two largest default repositories on Cydia to ask how they ensure the safety of their users. In a two-part series, we will publish their answers, starting today with Optimo, repo maintainer for BigBoss. Tomorrow, we will publish answers from Kyle Matthews of ModMyi.

BigBoss repo maintainer Optimo answers a few questions

How many tweaks are submitted each week or month on average? Out of these, how many are accepted?

I don’t keep data to refer to. Considering everything including tweaks, addons and apps, I would guess hundreds of submissions are processed, while dozens of those are new items each month. At our busiest times we can be rejecting nearly as much as we accept. Sorting through a lot of substandard items. Some rejected items are made acceptable and then reconsidered.

Can you please describe the process between the moment a tweak is submitted to BigBoss to be added to the repo and the moment this tweak is live on the repo and ready to be downloaded?

Most submissions of the free variety are processed within a day of submission and added to the repo each day. A new package is created based on the submitted content. The submitted item contents are examined and details organized so they fit into our packaging guidelines. Submitters tend to forget or leave out some details, so we will follow up by contacting them. The item’s depictions is tailored and then the new package information is synchronized to our servers. Paid items follow a similar process.

We regularly engage with the tweak makers. Many first-time submissions by new developers are missing details or contain a technical nuance that requires clarification. Part of the job I do is working with the submitters towards maintaining a standard of quality across our published items – to make sure we’re all on the same page. Hopefully our newcomer developers can receive guidance and learn something they can use to become better at their craft. A fun and engaging developer community is supported by shared values like respect for peers and their works, and from developers working to become responsible members of their community.

What are the safeguards in place during that process? A clear explanation of the security scans would help.

The significant process at work is a review of the submitted materials by an experienced repo maintainer. Care is taken in processing the variety of kinds of software that might be submitted. One downside of a semiautomatic scanner is that it can mean turning that responsibility over in part to the scanner. I prefer the more effective hands-on approach. We may employ a variety of developer tools to perform inspection on material if necessary.

There is careful oversight by the repo maintainer or processor, but users should keep in mind that nothing is perfect, not even the App Store review process. Our efforts are always working towards keeping a level of quality of the published software; that it works as described and does not do something odd or unexpected and respects users’ interests.

Contrary to what some may presume, the repos do not promise that our oversight provides 100% fool-proof protection against 3rd parties. We can make no such assurances. We aim to have packages that are reasonable to install. If something is not quite right, we will examine it more closely, contact the authors personally to open the discussion, and seek feedback from saurik and other knowledgeable developers.

If a submission looks odd or does something weird, it’s going to be held for questioning until we have satisfactory answers about it’s peculiarities. It is good to get to know the parties that are submitting when possible. As individuals, we all ought to take responsibility for our own security when using 3rd party software. In any case, the community repo maintainers do try to review items thoroughly, but we will not extend any guarantees about the security standing of the items we accept and publish.

Are select developers whitelisted by default and allowed for a faster approval process? Or are all developers on the same level when it comes to review process?

Items reaching us via our submission system are all treated the same and fairly. Free items naturally reach the public sooner than paid items, which require registration with Cydia Store before it can be published. I’m not sure how this question is related to the security subject, but new submissions are all roughly examined to the same degree.

How often do you catch malicious packages? Is there some sort of trend or has it been relatively stable over the years?

We are all lucky in some respects. Our community has not been frequently a target of wrong-doers, even after all these years. There are a few notable exceptions in the past years and very recently. Some times we catch submitted items that appear suspicious or have red flags, and wind up being held or rejected perpetually. Often those items do not make it onto the repo.

The repo maintainers have done their job well over the years, no doubt catching some things that are questionable and even objectively a danger to a user’s device, though that more often happens by innocent mistake by the developer than by malicious intent. This could trend further negatively, as platforms become more popular, that trend is more likely. Of course, any time is a good time to be sure you know what options are available to you for keeping yourself and your device secure.

The recent exceptions that have reached the public were supposedly targeted at the Chinese portion of the jailbreak base in order to repurpose the user’s personal/device details. That was caught by the public. Though it should not be taken lightly, the origins of that particular malware were not the default community repos but through other 3rd party sources. Packages that are malicous by intent are a rare thing to see submitted to the repos.

Back in July, a tweak called Lock Saver Free containing a trojan was added to the ModMyi repo. Have you ever had a similar situation happen to you? If so, how did that happen? How long did it take you to figure it out and take action? What preventive steps did you put in place to make sure this doesn’t happen again?

What steps are taken when a malicious tweak is detected?

Whether we find something in our review or we receive a report of a package with questionable contents or behavior, and depending on the nature of the complaint or symptoms, we will send out a notice to the author/submitter and remove the item from the repo as soon as possible. We will also notify saurik and Britta, and notify community members including the other default repos so they can be aware of the offending software or submitter so it is not mistakenly accepted elsewhere.

What are some of the worst malwares you’ve seen in tweaks submitted to BigBoss?

More often seen are honest mistakes by newcomer developers. They may not yet have read or learned about an important subject, or absorbed a moral principle that the community deems valuable, and it is reflected in their submission. With that in mind, packages that do things not in the best interest of the users, or that violate a packaging guideline, or ‘do the wrong thing’ to some degree, we will make efforts to sort that out before it’s accepted. That often means contacting the submitter to let them know about our objections and see if we can work with them to improve the offering before accepting it.

Check out this page for a list of known malware that have targeted both jailbroken and non-jailbroken iOS devices.

Your repo went down for a certain period of time last month. The next day, ModMyi repo went down too, which is something I can’t recall happening in the past. Was this just a terrible coincidence, or is there more to it than just bad luck?

On that day when both of the repos were unreachable, it most likely a denial-of-service incident upon our server(s). That is just a normal part of the business of operating a web server. That might happen on occasion but we’ve been relatively spared in that regard over the recent years. The day our repo was unavailable for some hours, I recall we had some unscheduled maintenance that unfortunately made for some real down time. That was just poor luck.

As iOS grows in popularity and is gaining ground in places like China, do you feel this makes the platform a bigger target for hackers? How do you feel about the general security of jailbreak tweaks developed for iOS going forward?

I don’t like the running narrative that many Chinese jailbreak users are more susceptible to hacks, but that seems to have just happened recently. Maybe it’s because of the software they used not being carefully checked before it was published. It might have lacked oversight. Perhaps the spread of iOS into China does mean the platform becomes a bigger target by volume.

Malware would not be specific to one nationality. The affected users might have been misled or they put trust into a software distribution system which failed at its oversight. Growth of iPhone in general means a larger jailbreak audience, which I suppose can mean more niches for hobbyists that like to dabble in bad software instead of good. Repo maintainers will need to adapt as the community grows. If you find something suspicious, please let the repo hosts know.

I feel that users need to take some personal responsibility to assure their own device security. Repos fill a role and do their best to make our community safe and organized, but it’s not a perfect system. If one blindly accepts that all the items published by the repo are free from risks, that may be letting your guard down. 3rd party software can carry risks, although historically the incidents are very low amongst the default community repos. By being diligent about the subject and researching the topics of device security, risks can be minimized in your day to day uses. You can start learning more here.

Anything else you’d like to say or clarify?

As maintainer for the largest tweak hosting repo, I keep closely in contact with our developer community on purpose to have a strong working relationship. I try to meet our developers where they like to hang out: Twitter, reddit, IRC. This cooperation is often established even well ahead of their submissions to the repo. This relationship is invaluable in my opinion. Often we find that we’re helping guide them down the right path, and make healthy decisions about the liberties they have as a 3rd party piece of software. Education about these subjects has benefitted all parties involved, from developer to users. The repos will work quickly to rectify a bad situation that is uncovered.

There’s been a public concern recently over reports of ‘malware’. The subject of malware is broad and sometimes intimidating. And some of the subject is rather new to mobile platforms. Our community has been relatively free of the concern of this subject until recently. What the future holds in this regard is unknown, but the default repos will continue to work for the community. Knowledge is power, and educating one’s self can make you safer. Quality information can help dispel myths and fears — upon hearing something vague about reports of malware affecting jailbreakers, for example. We need not jump to conclusions on this subject, but sharing with your peers something odd you experience, and posting the subject on forums can help us all learn quickly and adapt.

If your device is jailbreakable it also might not be secure without some additional configuration. The nature of jailbreaking means that your device is potentially less secure once the software ‘hole’ is exploited and known to the public at large. Over time security researchers find more holes in iOS security, and Apple makes updates to to fix the security. Their iOS updates often mean losing your jailbreak, however. So keeping your jailbreak may be a compromise of security. If you are generally concerned about security and wish to keep your jailbreak, you may want to research and get to know the options available to you for making your device and data as secure as you need it to be. It can be helpful to secure your personal device from software threats and from physical access. You can read more here.

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Retail Chief Angela Ahrendts Talks ‘Today At Apple’ And More In Video Interview

Apple Retail chief Angela Ahrendts has appeared in a video interview promoting the new Today at Apple initiative launching at Apple Stores this week. In the discussion with LinkedIn’s Daniel Roth, Ahrendts talks about her approach to leading Apple Retail to success when some retailers are struggling. Included in the video are some interesting numbers like Apple’s employee retention rate and even how many beacons were just installed overnight as part of the Today at Apple effort.

The clip highlights Apple Retail’s 18% growth in the last quarter and compares Apple Store’s 85% retention rate among 67,000 employees compared to 20% average across the rest of the industry. Ahrendts added that in the United States,  that rate is actually higher at 88% among full-time employees who make up two-thirds of the retail division.

Ahrendts says she communicates with employees through weekly three-minute videos (some of which we’ve seen) that typically include three thoughts each. In return, she says, some employees have actually started creating their own videos to communicate ideas to her. Ahrendts says Apple is working on creating a new platform for everyone’s stories as a formal way to support this activity.

To gauge employee feedback, Apple Stores have used NPS, or net promoter score which is typically used to rate customer experience, to ask employees about the experience of working at Apple. Ultimately, Ahrendts says, the goal is to have employees answer yes to whether or not they would recommend a friend work at the Apple Store as a metric of success.

Ahrendts also says that Apple Stores created a platform for workers called Share Your Ideas to encourage employee feedback, which will be evolving to better serve the 5,000 ideas that are submitted each month.

Apple also crowdsourced ideas for retail’s overall vision, which collected 2,000 ideas that were filtered down to 1,000 then 463 before creating seven versions of the retail philosophy that are being piloted now. Ahrendts says these ideas happen to match Apple’s overall values like encouraging accessibility and entrepreneurship.

In terms of retail stores, Ahrendts discussed the continuing effort to introduce new concept designs at stores with around 100 planned by the end of the year. For perspective, she says about half of the stores in the US were opened before the iPhone launch, which explains their need to expand in size. She says 30 to 35 stores are being remodeled a year to be double and triple the size.

As part of the Today at Apple effort, Ahrendts says Apple Stores are increasing seating, turning up the audio, and installing 50,000 beacons into 400 stores across 30 countries. This overnight effort just happened and applies to all stores that won’t be expanded in the next 12 months, she says.

Ultimately, Ahrendts believes stores need to evolve but malls won’t go away. Rather than be 20% about the experience and 80% about shopping, however, she believes the numbers need to flip as online shopping will typically be faster and cheaper than shopping in stores. Ahrendts also says Apple’s focus on promoting creativity and the arts is in preparation for the shift to automation where a return to the arts will be valued.

Check out the full video below:

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Pa Talks 19 – Mario Carpo And Gilles Retsin

In this episode of PA Talks, Mario Carpo and Gilles Retsin discuss architecture and automation in the context of the COVID-19 crisis and its aftermath. As global production chains have proven to lack resilience, local, digital manufacturing presents a compelling alternative.

Automation and Architecture

What does this mean for architecture? How do we as architects shape an agenda for increased automation in such a way that it benefits all? This talk explores a series of urgent questions that will deeply affect all of us in the near future. 

Mario Carpo

After studying architecture and history in Italy, Dr. Carpo was an Assistant Professor at the University of Geneva in Switzerland, and in 1993 received tenure in France, where he was first assigned to the École d’Architecture de Saint-Etienne, then to the École d’Architecture de Paris-La Villette and more recently to the École d’Architecture de Paris-Malaquais.  He was the Head of the Study Centre at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montréal from 2002 to 2006, and Vincent Scully Visiting Professor of Architectural History at the Yale School of Architecture from 2010 to 2014 and in 2023.  He

Mr. Carpo’s research and publications focus on the relationship between architectural theory, cultural history, and the history of media and information technology.  His award-winning Architecture in the Age of Printing (MIT Press, 2001) has been translated into several languages.  His most recent books are  The Second Digital Turn: Design Beyond Intelligence (MIT Press, 2023); The Alphabet and the Algorithm (MIT Press, 2011; also translated into other languages); and The Digital Turn in Architecture, 1992-2012 (Wiley, 2012).  Mr. Carpo’s recent essays and articles have been published in Log, The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Grey Room, L’Architecture d’aujourd’hui, Arquitectura Viva, AD/Architectural Design, Perspecta, Harvard Design Magazine, Cornell Journal of Architecture, Abitare, Lotus International, Domus, Artforum, and Arch+.

Gilles Retsin

Originally from Belgium, Gilles Retsin is an architect and designer living in London. He studied architecture in Belgium, Chile, and the UK, where he graduated from the Architectural Association. His design work and critical discourse have been internationally recognized through awards, lectures, and exhibitions at major cultural institutions such as the Museum of Art and Design in New York, the Royal Academy in London, and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. He recently edited an issue of Architectural Design (AD) on the Discrete and has co-edited Robotic Building: Architecture in the Age of Automation, with Detail Verlag. Gilles Retsin is Programme Director of the chúng tôi Architectural Design at UCL, the Bartlett School of Architecture. He is co-founder of UCL AUAR Labs, which does high-profile research into new design and fabrication technologies and its spin-out company AUAR ltd, a start-up working towards an automated platform for affordable housing.

Tune in to the PA Talks series with Mario Carpo and Gilles Retsin for some thought-provoking discussions. 

In the PATalks interview series, PA’s founder and creative director, Hamid Hassanzadeh, sits down with leading architects and designers to discuss their lives, careers, and visions for the future. Watch/Listen to the episode or subscribe on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts to catch the whole series.

I hope you enjoy this discussion. Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube Channel. Please give us your idea about the podcast. Make sure to follow the platform on Instagram, Youtube, and Twitter, and support us on Patreon. Also, you can listen to our podcasts on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts. Also, you can use #patalks on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to give us feedback about the podcasts. Thank you!

Fighting Data Bias – Everyone’s Responsibility

This article was published as a part of the Data Science Blogathon

What is Bias?


We all know that society is biased for ages. Bias based on gender, race, age, socioeconomic status, etc have consciously or unconsciously been part of human thoughts and actions. In this modern society with the help of raising awareness, most of us are coming forward to fight against discrimination and prejudice that is affecting human decision-making.

But what about the decision-making done by intelligent systems and applications that are increasingly becoming an inevitable part of our lives?

These intelligent applications are built on data supplied by humans. When the bias is present in human thoughts and actions, there is no surprise that the intelligent applications that we are developing are inheriting this bias from us.

What is Data Bias?

Consider an NLP application fills a sentence as ‘Father is to doctor as a mother is to nurse’.

The above NLP example is directly linked to the gender inequality present in society.

Consider more examples:

Why did one of the popular AI-based recruitment software biased against women applicants?

Why did Siri and Alexa show gender bias initially?

There are many reports that a lot of image processing applications fail to recognize women, especially dark-skinned women.

Why did the AI-based decision support application fail to identify criminals belonging to a particular race?

Why is this bias in the output given by these ML/AI applications?

Because the Machine Learning / AI applications that we design learn from the data that we feed to them. The data we feed contains the prejudices and inequalities that exist in the human world consciously or unconsciously.

  How serious are the implications of neglecting bias in the data?

As Data Scientists/ Data Analysts/Machine Learning Engineers and AI practitioners, we know that if our data sample does not represent the whole population, then our results are not statistically significant. Which means that we do not get accurate results.

Machine Learning models built on such data would perform worse on underrepresented data.

Consider an example from one of the critical domains, Healthcare, where data bias would result in devastating results.

The AI algorithms developed to detect skin cancer as perfectly as an experienced dermatologist failed to detect skin cancers in people with dark skin. Refer to the picture shown above.

Why did this happen?

Because the dataset was imbalanced. Majority of the images on which the algorithms were trained belong to light-skinned individuals. The data that was used to train these algorithms was taken from those states where the majority are white-skinned people. Hence, the algorithm fails to detect the disease in dark-skinned people when the images belonging to them were given to it.

Another AI application developed to identify the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease in people took auditory tests from people. It takes the way a person speaks as input and analyzes that data to identify the disease. But as the algorithm was trained on the data from Native English speakers, when a non-native English speaker takes the test, it wrongly identified the pauses and mispronunciations as indicators of the disease. (An example of false positive)

What are the consequences of this wrong diagnosis in the above two examples? Where in the development process have we gone wrong? How can AI bias occur?

There are multiple factors behind these AI biases. There is no single root cause.

1. Missing diverse demographic categories.

Sampling errors are also majorly the result of improper data collection methods.

Datasets that do not include diverse demographic categories will be imbalanced/skewed and there are higher chances of overlooking these factors during the data cleaning phase.

2. Bias inherited from humans.

As discussed above, bias can be induced into data while labeling, most of the time unintentionally, by humans in supervised learning. This can be due to the fact that unconscious bias is present in humans. As this data teaches and trains the AI algorithm on how to analyze and give predictions, the output will have anomalies.

3. During the feature engineering phase

During the feature engineering phase, bias can occur.

For example, while developing an ML application for predicting loan approval, if features like race, gender are considered, these features would induce bias.

On the contrary, while developing an AI application for healthcare, if the same features like race, gender are removed from the dataset, this would result in the errors explained in the healthcare examples above.

Research on handling AI Bias

AI is being used widely in not only the popular domains but also in very sensitive domains like health care, criminal justice, etc. Hence, the debate on biased data and fairness in the output is always on in data and AI communities.

There is so much research and study going on to identify how bias is induced into the AI systems and how to handle it to reduce errors. Responsible AI and ethical AI are also been adopted widely to tackle the problem of bias too along with other AI challenges.

Are we not responsible to reduce this data bias?

One of the primary goals of using AI in decision support systems should be to make decisions less biased than humans.

Should we leave this biased-data problem to the researchers and carry on with our regular data cleaning tasks and trying to improve the accuracy of our algorithms as part of our development work?

As Artificial Intelligence is growing deeper and deeper into our lives, bias in data that is used for developing these applications can have serious implications not only on human life but also on the entire planet.

Hence, it is everyone’s responsibility to work towards identifying and handling bias at the early stages of development.

What is our part to reduce data bias?

Every data Machine Learning engineer/AI practitioner has to take the responsibility of identifying and removing bias while he works on developing artificially intelligent applications.

Here are some of the steps we can consider to take this forward.

We should not blindly build, develop applications with whatever data is available to us.

We need to work with researchers too and ensure that diverse data is available for our model development.

We have to be careful during the data collection phase to gain enough domain knowledge on the problem we are working on to be able to assess if the data collected includes diverse factors and has any chances of bias.

During the feature engineering phase, we should study the features in-depth combined with more research on the problem domain we are working in, to eliminate any features that may possibly induce bias.

Explainable AI and Interpretable AI also helps us to build trust in algorithms by ensuring fairness, inclusivity, transparency, and reliability.

Testing and evaluating the models carefully by measuring accuracy levels for different demographic categories and sensitive groups may also help in reducing algorithmic bias.

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Corporate Social Responsibility Tips From Paypal

PayPal is one prominent example of a company that practices corporate social responsibility, and there are practical ways for even much smaller businesses to follow its lead.

More and more customers are saying that they are more likely to support businesses that align with their values.

If you’d like your business to support a cause, keep up with the news and read articles from various sources to find something that strikes a chord.

This article is for business owners interested in incorporating social responsibility into their business plans.

When it comes to corporate social responsibility, small businesses could learn a lot from PayPal. The credit card processing giant facilitates charitable giving in several ways, including its PayPal Giving Fund, which allows nonprofits to process donations without fees or deductions – and PayPal adds an extra 1% to Giving Fund donations made during the holiday season.

According to Sean Milliken, PayPal’s head of global social innovation, promoting social responsibility is part of the company’s broader business plan.

“People want to do business with companies that are aligned with a cause,” said Milliken in an interview with Business News Daily. “Giving back, contributing to society, [and] being a good corporate citizen is not only the right thing to do – it’s good for business.”

Even if your company doesn’t have the resources to embrace social responsibility on PayPal’s scale, there are good reasons to integrate some form of charitable giving into your business plan.


To learn more about PayPal’s offerings, read our guide to PayPal’s mobile card reader.

What is social responsibility?

In business terms, social responsibility is when companies take action to benefit society while increasing value for shareholders. To achieve social responsibility, corporations and the people who work for them must act in the best interest of society and the environment.

A business can achieve sustainability by holding itself accountable and being transparent about how it operates. Adopting these social responsibility principles in your business can help your employees and customers feel more fulfilled and positive toward your organization.

To become socially responsible, your business should enact policies that strive to benefit society. Some companies enact “green” policies focused on creating a more sustainable environment, while others establish moral responsibility and workplace ethics policies to ensure they act within their shareholders’ best interests.

Key Takeaway

Socially responsible businesses prioritize working for social good, weaving social responsibility into their business models.

2. Social responsibility helps align you with your customers.

While employee engagement is vital, your social responsibility efforts should also encourage customers to support charities your business supports. While charitable giving is built directly into some business plans, other companies find opportunities to give back that align with their business purposes, even if they aren’t necessarily written into the company’s founding principles.

Free download

If you’re still developing your business plan, you can use our business plan template to craft one that incorporates social responsibility right from the beginning.

Milliken said there are various ways to connect customers to a cause. Customers are likely to rally around an immediate need, such as after a natural disaster. They are also likely to participate in giving that ties a social purpose to the product or service they’re buying. For example, TOMS Shoes has a “buy one, donate one” model.

Milliken said either approach could work for businesses that know their customers. “You can align yourself with a cause that is close to who you are as a business that will resonate with people and make natural sense. One way is not better than the other. [Social responsibility] does not have to be part of the business model from the start.”

3. Social responsibility can drive innovation.

While businesses giving back to their communities isn’t a new idea, integrating social corporate responsibility into a business’s very foundation is a relatively novel concept.

“Businesses have a long history of giving back, but I think the models for doing so have evolved,” said Milliken, who adds that the word “innovation” in his job title reflects PayPal’s commitment to changing the way the company thinks about social responsibility. “No longer will companies have a corporate social responsibility department where one or two people sit in an office writing checks to nonprofits.” [Read related article: Creativity Is Not Innovation (But You Need Both)]

Part of integrating giving into a company’s overall mission is responding to how technology is rapidly changing the way people donate money and support charities. Milliken said mobile technology and social media are drastically impacting how customers give and how businesses will reach those customers.

“We’re seeing a huge move toward mobile,” he said. “And that trend will continue to grow.

To the extent that we can embed ways for people to give anytime, anywhere, we have a real shot at increasing the level of charitable giving.”

Social media is also creating more opportunities for people to give. PayPal makes a point of providing the technology and tools to make this happen, according to Milliken. The key to leveraging social channels for charitable giving is to ensure the messaging is contextual and relevant to what the customer is doing at that moment, he said. “Social media can help us find people in these moments, giving us a better shot to get them to give.”

Ways your business can be socially responsible

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to social responsibility initiatives, but here are some straightforward ways to get started.

1. Clearly state your company values.

Some entrepreneurs and small business owners are so focused on starting their business and launching their product or service that they don’t take the time to define their company’s values clearly.

Take a step back and reflect on what social good your company can support. Discuss this with your executive team and conduct employee surveys to learn what’s important to the company as a whole. Once you have a clear sense of your team’s values, you can look for projects and foundations to match.


If you feel stuck or uncertain about what cause you’d like to support, keep up with the news and read articles from various sources to note what sticks out to you.

2. Create realistic goals.

After establishing your values, think about how those values can inform your business goals. Brainstorm a list of actionable items you and your team want to achieve within a specific time frame.

Since it takes time to establish a process and routine, keep your early goals small and manageable. That way, you can achieve your goals more easily and won’t get discouraged. As you continue to connect responsibility policies and projects, you can expand and grow your goals.

3. Educate your employees and customers.

Once you create a plan, state your intentions to your employees. Let them know you value their insight when it comes to establishing your company values, and discuss the goals you’ve developed with their input. Clearly outline the social initiatives you’re focusing on and how you’ll make impactful change.

Include your social responsibility goals in your employee handbook and company policies. Some policies, such as paid time off (PTO) policies for volunteering, encourage employees to make a difference and demonstrate that your company looks beyond the financial bottom line.

Key Takeaway

When you establish your company as an ethical organization that cares about social issues, you’re more likely to retain top talent and attract high-level applicants in your hiring process.

After getting your employees up to speed, let your customers know about your new social responsibility goals. Your customers will feel that you’re engaging them on a human level and not just trying to sell to them.

Most customers like to know that the businesses they support align with their values. For this reason, launching a social responsibility initiative and sharing it with your customers is an excellent customer retention strategy and a way to interest new clients.

Sean Peek contributed to the writing and reporting in this article. Source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.

Civil Rights Pioneer Talks Tonight

Civil Rights Pioneer Talks Tonight Rep. John Lewis delivers annual MLK Leadership Lecture

Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) (back row, third from left) with other civil rights leaders at the Lincoln Memorial for the March on Washington, August 18, 1963: (front row, from left) Whitney Young, unknown, A. Philip Randolph, Martin Luther King, Jr. (GRS’55, Hon.’59), Roy Wilkins; (back row, from left): Matthew Ahmann, Rabbi Joachim Prinz, Lewis, Dr. Eugene Carson Blake, Floyd McKissick, Walter Reuther. Photo courtesy of National Archives

Growing up in segregated Pike County, Alabama, John Lewis first heard the words of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. (GRS’55, Hon.’59) listening to the family’s radio. The son of sharecroppers, Lewis was inspired by King’s message of social change to join the nascent civil rights movement after enrolling at Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn. Lewis went on to become one of the movement’s most important leaders.

Tonight the civil rights pioneer, now 70 and a Democratic congressman representing Georgia, will deliver the third annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Leadership Lecture, sponsored by the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, at 7 p.m. at the George Sherman Union’s Metcalf Ballroom.

“John Lewis is the perfect person to give the Martin Luther King, Jr., Leadership Lecture, because he is the greatest example of Dr. King’s ideals for social change through redemptive sacrifice, activism, and responsible leadership,” says Vita Paladino (MET’79, SSW’93), director of the Gotlieb Center. “He remains a beacon for Dr. King’s message and is an intrepid leader, improving our nation.”

As an undergraduate, Lewis organized sit-ins at segregated lunch counters in Nashville. After graduating, he participated in the Freedom Rides, which challenged segregation at interstate bus terminals throughout the South.

At the height of the civil rights movement, Lewis was chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, coordinating efforts to organize voter registration drives and community action programs and working closely with King.

Known as one of the Big Six leaders of the civil rights movement (the others are King, Whitney Young, A. Philip Randolph, James Farmer, and Roy Wilkins), Lewis spearheaded one of the movement’s most famous moments: the first of three marches from Selma, Ala., to Montgomery on behalf of voting rights in 1965. The marchers, attacked by Alabama state troopers, never made it to their destination. Indelibly captured by television cameras and still photographers, the event came to be known as “Bloody Sunday.” The images from the melee were credited with hastening passage of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Lewis was arrested more than 40 times and beaten on numerous occasions for his work on behalf of civil rights.

After serving as director of the federal volunteer agency ACTION, Lewis was elected to the Atlanta City Council and went on to win a seat in Congress in 1986. For more than two decades, he has represented Georgia’s fifth congressional district. He currently is a member of the influential House Ways and Means Committee.

Outgoing Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has called Lewis “the conscience of the U.S. Congress.”

Widely respected by his peers on Capitol Hill for his lifelong battle to secure civil liberties and protect human rights, Lewis will speak tonight about King’s influence on American society and his own role in the civil rights movement.

The mission of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Lecture series is to bring to campus those who have served “as leaders in the quest for maintaining social justice and human rights.” Past lecturers were Christine King Farris, King’s sister, and Paul Rusesabagina, the real-life hero memorably portrayed by Don Cheadle in the film Hotel Rwanda.

Paladino believes that Lewis’ life story may inspire young people on campus. “He can enlighten and encourage our students on how to be responsible for building an even stronger nation during their lifetime,” she says. “The evolutionary process and work toward social equality is ongoing. This is what Dr. King stood for.”

Also being honored at tonight’s lecture is civil rights activist Diane Nash, who has been named the 2010 Coretta Scott King Fellow.

The Martin Luther King, Jr., Leadership Lecture is tonight, Wednesday, November 10, at 7 p.m. in the Metcalf Ballroom at the George Sherman Union, 775 Commonwealth Ave. The event is free and open to the public.

John O’Rourke can be reached at [email protected].

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