[OLPC-Oceania] Fwd: Did OLPC hijack the $100 laptop
sean at lpnz.org
Thu Feb 3 01:49:37 EST 2011
"which computers are necessarily a natural part of yet"
"which computers are *not* necessarily a natural part of yet.'
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Sean Linton <sean at lpnz.org>
Date: 3 February 2011 19:41
Subject: Did OLPC hijack the $100 laptop
To: olpc-oceania at lists.laptop.org
I am wondering if anyone has any comments or ideas about the
strategy balance between social mission and the qualities of a product, as
concerns the OLPC XO 1-1.5 - and or tablet/e-reader.
There was a good interview although indirectly related
here<http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon> on 'Nine
noon' Radio NZ national Thursday 4 February 2011
"Never should a venture rest on the laws [laurels] of its social mission,
always it should provide the best quality product with the best quality
prices, with the best value propositions so that it fits peoples
lifestyles" Daniel Lubetzky - Peaceworks.com
It seems that some people set out to create a $100 laptop, and some people
decided that was sufficient reason to try and equip all the children in the
world with one, OLPC was naturally born out of the slim chance that the
economic reality was a possibility. So far the problem that is most striking
in my view is that the $100 laptop is difficult to achieve, but OLPC is
seemingly impossible? The mission carried on with out the product?
I was listening to this radio show where Lubetzky was talking about a brand
of food stuffs with a social mission, the idea in particular being that
people from backgrounds which have in the past suffered confrontation, such
as the Israel-Palestine case, can establish business relationships and
mutual benefit where the quality of the product is set to advantage. For
example people making things with sun-dried tomatoes in Israel had been
getting their ingredients from Portugal or Italy, and when
they realized that they could get better fresher tomatoes from the Middle
East [Turkey] they were able to establish bonds based on the goal of making
better quality products.
The key thing that seemed to be argued was that social missions should never
be forced to compete, and that some other quality should be
the cornerstone of competition, in this case it was food stuffs. I think
what has hijacked the OLPC/$100 laptop movement is that really we have two
social missions competing. One of these things, the $100 dollar laptop, is
also a high quality product, yet OLPC is a set of strategies; with Sugar,
the educational, and philosophical arms.
I wonder about how OLPC could learn to reconcile, and enable reconciliation
from Lubetzky's strategy. OLPC can market itself on the level of 'this is
the most ethical technology you can buy' or 'this technology is the best
developed system for the value'. But for OLPC to market itself on the
'one-laptop-per-child' mission immediately there are going to be people who
say ' this is not possible' or even 'this is not desirable'. Not desirable
in terms of preserving the practical neurological and 'digital' cultures
that exist in all places naturally, which computers are necessarily a
natural part of yet.
I know that somethings are different between trying to sell food and trying
to equip schools and children with computers, I am curious as to how
relevant other people might find this approach though; that is first of all
market the quality of the product, then only if people are interested does
the social mission carry any weight.
How does that fit with OLPC which is a social mission and a $100 laptop
which is a different goal in itself? Do the two need space?
I say 'hijacked' somewhat lightheartedly because I wouldn't want to see the
$100 laptop made to look unattainable by an unshakable bond to OLPC.
PhD Candidate, Music
Otago, New Zealand
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