I am consistently surprised when the main stream media gets all confused about the One Laptop Per Child program, even respected news organs like the Chicago Tribune.
I can overlook the continuous use of the "$100 laptop" moniker even though it's now $138 million and climbing, what with all the
CM1 2B1 XO Children's Machine name changes. But then I read articles like Kevin Manley's "$100 laptop controversy not really a controversy" on USA Today, and I shake my head in annoyance.
Mike's unique idea, pledging to buy the laptop at a $200 premium so two laptops could be bought for children in the developing world, was his way to convince Nicholas Negroponte to leverage the US retail market to expand global OLPC laptop distribution. Mike Liveright also stated clearly that his effort was totally unofficial, not endorsed by One Laptop Per Child in any way.
What did Kevin think? He read a post on Slashdot about the pledge ending short of its goal and somehow came to the conclusion that:
It suggests that an effort by something called PledgeBank fell short of expectations, so seemingly the $100 laptop -- a key to the efforts of Nicholas Negroponte's One Laptop Per Child organization -- is somehow a failure.While Tom Steinberg corrected Kevin's PledgeBank confusion in comments, Kevin asked Nicholas Negroponte about Mike Liveright's original pledge. Negroponte response was interesting:
"This site had nothing to do with OLPC, was set up without our knowledge and was not a good idea. Well meaning people can create backfires."Actually, Mr. Negroponte, Mike's pledge drive, even though it expired with only ~3,700 pledges, was a great idea.
Mike made his point that Negroponte should consider "wealthy" country sales to subsidize laptop deliveries elsewhere. How? He publicized and quantified the obvious desire of the developed world to enjoy the same benefits that OLPC promises to the developing world.
Best of all, note that Nicholas Negroponte had to announce the obvious: we all want to buy a OLPC laptop and OLPC eBay sales are inevitable, especially sales that would be just like Mike's original pledge - a one for two computer purchase.