Monday, April 23, 2007

One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) - Additional Funding Model

So I've been reading about OLPC in bits & pieces over time. I am not 100% clear on their distribution model. But they seem to be primarily targeting the technologically undeveloped societies, with primary funding coming from governments in those countries.

Living in the US, I feel left out!

There are some interesting technical & social concepts that are being embedded in these computers. Read about their philosophy, mission... at OLPC

I hope that they do plan to target the US and other such 'developed' countries because there is certainly a digital divide here too - albeit not on the scale of other places.

Here's an additional funding/distribution model:
Sell the laptop in the developed countries at 150% of the price the developing countries pay.

This will:

- provide additional funding for providing the laptops in areas where the governments cannot or will not provide funding for them (using the additional 50%). OLPC org will have additional funds to launch pilot projects and future 'products'.

- enable people like me who don't have loads of money but lots of enthusiasm about such projects to show and tell about such projects. This is more than just promotion/advertising, its proving to people that such concepts can be made into a reality.

- tech savvy people as me to learn about some new interesting concepts. Yes, the jazzy technology described on their website could be valuable in rethinking some parts of mainstream computing.

I am not proposing that OLPC turn into a company that has a for-profit initiative on the side. Perhaps, I am... still have to think through this one.


wayan said...

You're not the first person to think of selling higher priced units in the USA to support units in the developing world. OLPC is talking of going retail in 2008. But right or wrong, OLPC will not be in USA schools.

Jigar said...

Thanks for the update Wayan. It is good know that there is strong interest in making the OLPC more widely available.

It is a pity that OLPC will not be available in US schools due to the conflicts you mention. Maybe OLPC should look for a non-school based distribution mechanism for the US. There are plenty of non-governmental groups in the US that could fund & distribute these.