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In New Book, Entrepreneurial Alumni Couple Keeps an Eye on the Cloud

Donald and Claire Leka

Donald Leka, MBA '97, and wife, Claire, MA/SOC '94 recently published a book on the process of developing their cloud computing app.

How do we condense and organize our personal data from all over the Internet in one place? Donald and Claire Leka, both two-time American University alums, think they have the answer.

Donald Leka, BA/SIS '86, MBA '97, and Claire Leka, BA/SOC '91, MA/SOC '94, examine cross platform compatibility, or lack thereof, in their book, Cloud Computing—The Glide OS Story: Solving the Cross Platform Puzzle. Published in May, the book examines the growing problem of incompatibility in light of the growth in cloud-based technology.

About the Authors

Donald is the founder, chairman, and CEO of TransMedia Corporation, and has immersed himself in this issue since the company's inception in 2001. Since then, TransMedia has developed and released multiple versions of their Glide OS application, a web-based desktop designed to work across a variety of platforms.

Donald's interest in technology emerged from his love of music and technology, encouraged by the growth of the Internet in the late '90s, while he was earning his MBA.

Before joining her husband at TransMedia, Claire Leka worked extensively in broadcast journalism as a correspondent and anchor for a variety of news outlets—including CNN, MSNBC and CBS—covering beats from business to government affairs. She recently cofounded BookGama, a software developer focused on creating interactive reading apps for children.

Claire attributes her interest in journalism to growing up watching Dan Rather and her experience as a student in the "journalism capital of the world" during the late '80s.

The duo saw their respective experiences and professional backgrounds as perfect complements to one another in the process of writing the book.

"Both of us are strong-willed people and we weren't sure this would even be possible," said Claire. "Working together, we quickly realized and appreciated each others' strengths."

The Story of Glide

"The cloud made it possible to rise above the walled proprietary platforms and incompatible software and file formats to realize [our] vision of compatible file sharing and collaboration," explained Donald, in pointing out Glide's promise.

TransMedia's software has the look and feel of a traditional desktop, much like that of Windows or Apple's OSX, but operates as a web browser, storing data via the cloud. Glide enables users to store a variety of files from multiple devices in a single location, improving accessibility and mobility while providing an additional security.

But, despite its potential, he sees a problem.

"In the era of cloud computing and Big Data, our personal files and data have become fragmented and we have lost our privacy."

Certainly, the cloud's existence has presented an opportunity for the industry, but also created problems the Lekas believe can be solved.

The Personal Data Problem… and Solution

Perhaps simplifying this ever-complicating problem is the best approach.

"In the wake of NSA PRISM revelations, there is a heightened awareness regarding how companies and governments can access personal data," Donald warns.

With multiple operating system providers and different data storage locations, individuals' data is at risk.

The need to control and protect personal data has become increasingly essential, Donald believes, making Glide's technology even more applicable.

"Glide's cross platform technology provides…one system to manage and share personal files and data…empowering users with more control," he said.

"We all live in a multi-platform world."