Walter Bender: Former President of Software and Content


Back when Ivan Krstić resigned from One Laptop Per Child, we first heard the rumor that Walter Bender, President of Software and Content for OLPC was "demoted".

olpc walter bender
What do you see, Walter?

At the time, I thought Ivan was being a little dramatic. Walter is still listed as President on and he was still active in the Community News, and on the software development listservs.

Since then, I've noticed that Kim Quirk is now publishing the Technology Team Details and in browsing the Wikipedia, I came across this change to Walter Bender's profile:

Walter Bender is the former president of One Laptop per Child Software and Content: the organization coordinating and developing software and content for the Children's Machine computer.
Whoa! With the revision's IP address leading back to OLPC headquarters, and an announcement in a support call, it looks like the rumors are true.

OLPC has been reorganized. Kim Quirk is now leading Technology while Walter Bender is re-assigned to Deployment, Chuck Kane runs Business Development, and Robert Fadel manages Administration.

Personally, I think this is a good shuffling of OLPC resources. As I noted when OLPC hired Kim, there needs to be a focus on implementation, not just laptops. With Walter Bender, the workhorse of OLPC, pushing XO laptops into the hands of children, now we will hopefully see a larger focus on practical solutions for participating countries.

Oh, and don't think poorly of OLPC to have Kim in charge of software development. Despite the minimal resources devoted to the new Sugar, she's highly regarded by those working with her. As one developer told me:

"Kim Quirk is a hard-nosed realist who knows how to run a business. She's great, she doesn't f**k around."
May we all be so lucky to be described like that!

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Thought I'd add a little more background:

OLPC is very pleased to announce the hiring of Kim Quirk as Project Manager. Kim comes to OLPC with over 20 years experience managing projects in industries ranging from network products to e-commerce to educational software. [Community-news] OLPC News (2007-05-05)

Chief Financial Officer
Chuck Kane brings a wealth of experience to OLPC including as CFO at RSA Security (recently acquired by EMC), and CFO at Aspen Technology. Prior to joining Aspen Technology, Kane served as president and chief executive officer at Corechange, Inc., an enterprise software company purchased by Open Text, Inc. Kane previously served in executive management roles at Informix Software and Ardent Software; and he held senior financial management positions at Stratus Computer Inc., Prime Computer Inc. and Deloitte and Touche.

Director of Finance
Robert Fadel is a skillful financial and administrative professional with more than 10 years experience in various research labs at MIT. Prior to joining OLPC he served as the director of finance at the Media Lab leading its financial, contracts and intellectual property operations while focusing on improving the quality of services and the reliability of reporting. During this time he has served on various Institute advisory committees and task forces aimed at creating better business practices and improving organizational performance. Robert has been both a Fellow and a Business Process Coach in MIT's Leader-to-Leader Fellowship Program. He holds an MBA from Boston College and masters degree in Energy and Environmental Policy from Boston University.


I'm in the computer lab with two kiddos happily taking pictures of themselves and I logged on to see why I somehow broke the sound in my XO.


FYI - mispelled "despite" in second to last paragraph as some sort of "despise". Care to explain that freudian slip? (jk)