A Memo to Commander Mike Holt

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To: Commander Mike Holt

From: Marshall Miller

Date: February 25, 2011

RE: Student Taxi System

 

Nightlife at the University of Denver has a few serious problems. At night, especially on the weekends, students need to escape the small campus and relax. Many take to venturing around town. Nearby businesses and restaurants work hard to attract students by promoting discounts and specials. While this is a good thing and the students’ behavior should be encouraged, safety does come to mind. Whether it’s the busy streets, perverts hiding in the shadows, or intoxicated individuals, it seems that there is too much to keep track of when ensuring safety. I respect your job, and your time and I believe a simple system could be implemented to lessen your stress and help your department focus on other problems at hand. A nighttime Taxi system associated with the University of Denver Campus Safety Department, could benefit the students, the department, and the University as a whole.

Students being intoxicated is a big issue at the University of Denver, you know this. With several bars around campus, it is inevitable that students, underage or not, will find ways to consume alcohol. This is a relevant problem at all Universities. While we can agree that underage drinking is illegal and wrong, I think that enforcing and taking action after the fact is the wrong approach. Sending intoxicated students (no matter how much alcohol has been consumed) to the infamous “Detox” is expensive, unreasonable, and ineffective. The Campus Safety Department should continue to discourage underage drinking however if it is going to happen, different and more reasonable measures could be taken. The Taxi system I propose would allow students, intoxicated or not, to get to a destination safely. This would be beneficial because it could relieve the concern of the busy intersections, cold weather, and creeps in the street.

I think that we can find some common ground when saying that the Department of Campus Safety at the University of Denver is not supported by 100% of the student population. I don’t have to inquire much to find out from other students that sometimes it seems like the Department has a main goal of getting students in trouble. I would like to see Campus Safety viewed as the good guys who can be relied on. Establishing this Taxi system could help improve the department’s image and gain more support. It would be in your best interest to have the student body comfortable with your presence because it could lessen crime. What better way to say you are looking out for a student’s well-being than offering to get them out of the cold and to their destination safely, no questions asked.

I would like to lay out a roadmap of what I was thinking this Taxying system could look like. First off, if there is not enough staff available to carry this task out, the department should recruit willing students. Not only would this free up time for officers on duty, it could clear up any controversy as to whether an officer is doing their job not citing an intoxicated student. By possibly associating a student run driving system with the department, that “good guy” image could still be attained while officers can focus on cracking down on thefts and drugs. Although it has been established that we both agree on student safety being a primary concern at the University, this is an excellent opportunity to promote that. The system could prevent students from making poor judgments when crossing the street and ensure they get to where they should be and need to be.

Of course this service would cost money. Gas to drive the cars, signs or other forms of promoting the system, etc. The cost could be taken care of by charging a small fee. If more students end up using the system, this could be incentive and bring in more money to the department which could be put towards other resources. I think that students would be open to this idea and nearby businesses would likewise support the concept. It might even be possible to work with them to raise funds and awareness.

I believe that a late night Taxi System will create a stronger bridge between the Campus Safety Department and the Universities student population. Not only would it prevent accidents and injuries, it would improve the department’s reputation. As Commander of the Department, it is in your best interest to try and bridge this gap. I urge you to look into developing and implementing such a system. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Digital Currencies and the Potential they Hold for Small Businesses

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“So my view’s quite clear. I believe cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin is the first example, I believe they’re going to change the world.” 
–Richard Brown, executive architect, IBM

The recent credit card breach at Target, is testament as to why modern currency needs reform. The crisis which resulted in the compromise of millions of customer’s credit card information, points to the fact that the typical “swipe and sign” method is becoming risky. By switching to encrypted digital currencies like Bitcoin, businesses can conduct safe and risk-free transactions.

Online companies like TigerDirect.com are now accepting Bitcoin in exchange for electronics and computers. This is a transition that leaves small businesses behind with nowhere to go but forward. To be a part of this future, these small businesses need to embrace and start accepting digital currencies.

Bitcoin is called “peer to peer money” and essentially, it is online cash. Anyone and everyone can use it anywhere in the world.

One highlight that should be taken away from this video is that Bitcoin is regulated by secure networks backed behind incredibly complex algorithms. These networks allow individuals to securely collect and trade Bitcoin using digital wallets. This is what sets Bitcoin apart from other services like Paypal.

Since being introduced in 2008, Bitcoin has gained popularity, making it a more prominent payment method. This chart from Quandl.com depicts the increasing number of Bitcoin transactions since August 2010.

Number of Bitcoin Transactions

To counter the argument that these transactions are being made by the same few people, Quandl.com also provides a graph showing the amount of different Bitcoin addresses used.

Unique Bitcoin Wallets

With a unique system as simple as this, why wouldn’t a business want to implement it?

In tech savvy cities like San Francisco, you can even use your Bitcoin at the Farmers’ Market. This type of advancement benefits businesses in several ways. By inviting customers to make a purchase with Bitcoin, the business has just attracted a new range of customers. Services like www.Coinmap.org display nearby retailers who invite Bitcoin bearing shoppers. In November, 2013, the number of businesses on Coinmap increased 81%. This is a great tactic for free advertising which can drive more interest and discussion in a business.

Another added benefit: there are no transaction fees associated with Bitcoin like there are for credit cards or PayPal. Setting up BitPay (the software used to manage Bitcoin transactions) costs very little and is easy for any employee to use.

With all the advantages of using Bitcoin, are there any drawbacks? In short, yes.

A big concern is its volatility. At the time this article was written, the exchange rate of one Bitcoin was equivalent to $638.8 USD. The fluctuation draws criticism from many including investment guru Warren Buffett. While this is a reasonable cause for speculation, it is most important to note that digital currencies just begun to take off. There is no doubt that over the next decade, kinks will be adjusted and digital currency will be even more feasible and safe.

For small businesses in non tech savvy cities, this concept is hard to embrace and might be out of the question. Digital currency is the future. With minimal costs, easy to use software, and an increase in brand awareness, it is a practical next step for small businesses. If more companies adapt and integrate this system, it could help change the world, making consumer transactions easier and safer.

 

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