While Fake Steve Jobs sometimes goes over the top with his criticism of One Laptop Per Child, I often find myself laughing till I cry at his biting, on-target satire of Nicholas Negroponte's missteps.
While he generically insults OLPC, he specifically questions their non-profit tax structure, the generosity of G1G1 donors, and Mary Lou's post-OLPC intentions:
[A] question worth asking is whether Mary Lou Jepsen actually managed to retain ownership of her designs while working for OLPC, a 501(c)(3) organization. If so, doesn't this mean that in effect taxpayers subsidized the R&D for whatever "for-profit company" Mary Lou Jepsen is now about to launch?FSJ, you just went too far. Not only is Jespen one of OLPC's (and definitely my personal) hero, she just spent three years of this very short life dedicating herself to making OLPC work.
I feel she was the key success factor at OLPC, and with the XO laptop in production, she has every right to capitalize on her abilities using every capitalistic tool available to her. Especially since she'll still offering her time to OLPC at below-market rates and more importantly, assigned her clock-stopping hot screen patents to OLPC.
That's right - she assigned her "Self-refreshing display controller for a display device in a computational unit" patent to OLPC. In fact, the only OLPC inventor not to assign their patent to OLPC is Nicholas Negroponte with his "Low cost portable computing device".
Now FSJ does bring up a damn good point in the middle of his tirade about creative financing for XO laptop donations:
At the very least shouldn't OLPC be the one making money on this stuff? They could license this super valuable technology to commercial companies and use the money to buy laptops for poor kiddies in the developing world.Guess what? None other than Mary Lou Jepsen herself presented that idea in her OLPC roadmap to financial independence. And I have a bright green laptop that says she's gonna do just that with Joe Inc.
Great minds do think alike, eh Steve?
Update: Mary Lou Jepsen has added clarity in the comments below:
I'm not taking my inventions from OLPC - I'm licensing them from OLPC. Why: An inventor has a good chance of improving the price/performance of her inventions. Why restrict her access to them if our goal is lower cost computing for the developing world?Exactly! Power to you, Mary Lou.