[Olpc-open] Why is G1G1 program ending?

Steve Holton sph0lt0n at gmail.com
Fri Dec 28 15:04:31 EST 2007

I must *strongly* recommend *against* ending the G1G1 program. Or at least
replace it with some mechanism for maintaining white market availability of
growth systems and spares.

The availability of hardware is the one of the last chokepoints which would
allow an adversary to kill-off the OLPC mission and North American success.
(The other is mission creep: changing the OLPC mission from one of
developing an educational platform into one of competing in the North
American laptop computer market.) And the adversaries know this.

The market price point is proven.
The community is proven.
The infrastructure problems (a huge hurdle) for distribution channel,
customer service, support, etc. have been largely worked through. (quite to
my own disbelief)

The next chokepoint would be to drain the market of hardware through:
- natural attrition of hardware failures.
- tying-up the manufacturing facilities by offering lucrative contracts to
Quanta to build something else.
- market removal (buying-up systems offered on eBay, offering a trade-in
allowance, etc).

As long as OLPC can maintain the availability of spare parts and new systems
for growth, both the XONA (XO North America, using the XO as a laptop
computer) and the XOEE (XO Educational Endeavor) will grow.

This could be accomplished:
- short term:  make a committment to the availability of new systems and
spares (price point is unimportant, enthusiasts being what they are) through
an 'Official OLPC program'.
- long term: multi-source hardware availability.

On Dec 28, 2007 1:29 PM, Seth Woodworth <seth at isforinsects.com> wrote:

> I *think* that it is ending for the following reasons:
> 1.) Quanta can only make so many machines per month, and there is a
> backlog of orders for target nations.

Agreed, but the competition knows that.
Constricted manufacturing channels are only a factor if a component is
single source, and then only when hard deadlines (like 'ship before the
holidays') are in play. OLPC supporters will gladly wait 2 months to get
systems if they understand the wait up front.  (Many already have...)

> 2.) It is a a *lot* harder to ship 10,000 laptops to 10,000 people than
> 10,000 to one country.  Selling laptops retail isn't the business that OLPC
> really needs to be in.

Agreed 100%.  That was a tactical mistake on the part of OLPC.  If they had
marketed XO's strictly as an educational tool, (they actually did a pretty
good job) it would have gone a long way toward answering the inevitable
questions like "how do I install Flash, why can't I connect to every
imaginable wireless access point, etc.) The community would have found
answers to those anyway (as proven) and OLPC wouldn't have been on the hook
to do so.

However, the hard part of building the infrastructure to ship 1 system to
1,000,000 different people has largely been built. Sunk cost at this point.

3.) They need to stop G1G1 in the US and Canada so they can start to scale
> up for Europe and Asia G1G1 sales.

Europe and Asia deserve a chance to G1G1, too. (A mistake, IMHO, to try to
exclude them from G1G1, but there may have been logistical considerations I
don't understand) But if making them available in Europe comes at the cost
of availability in North America, I'm going to be arranging to purchase my
spares through GreyMarketEurope.

Good question, and not an intuitive answer.  This belongs on the wiki
> somewhere.
> Seth
> On Dec 28, 2007 8:00 AM, Josh Cogliati <jjcogliati-olpc at yahoo.com> wrote:
> > Why is the give one get one program ending?  The
> > program has brought millions of dollars of donations
> > to OLPC.  As well it provides a good way to get
> > hardware if you are undecided on developing for the
> > machine.  Plus it provides a price ceiling on ebay
> > sales.  So, why is the program ending?
> >
> > Josh Cogliati
> >
> >
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> >
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Steve Holton
sph0lt0n at gmail.com
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