Why Give One XO-1 When You Can Donate 1,000 or 10,000?!


While American geeks are debating spending $400 on an OLPC XO-1 laptop through G1G1 or a Asus Eee PC through computer retailers this Christmas, those with big hearts and bigger pockets can make the biggest impact with a new change to OLPC's sales strategy.

Gone is the myopic focus on their struggling government-only sales plan. Gone is even the need to go all G1G1 if you have a serious philanthropy purpose. According to Manusheel Gupta, One Laptop Per Child is now willing to work directly with high-net worth individuals, foundation, and presumably even nonprofit organizations - anyone with a $30,000 USD minimum commitment:

Give 100+ at $299 per laptop
  • Donor designates where 100+ laptops are sent;
  • OLPC uses $99 from each $299 donated to fund an additional 50+ laptops to be sent to children in a country of our designation.
Give 1000+ at $249 per laptop
  • Donor designates where 1000+ laptops are sent;
  • OLPC uses $49 from each $249 donated to fund an additional 250+ laptops to be sent to children in a country of our designation.
Give 10,000+ at $200 per laptop
  • Donor designates where 10,000+ laptops are sent.
Now before you go celebrating OLPC's long-overdue openness to direct and directed donations, you might want to have a good think about Ajay Kumar's reaction to the new ordering news:

Ajay's OLPC India dream
This is really great news. Now one does not have to wait for the government to get all ends tied. And I personally can go tell all my friends that this is how they can get the devices. I am very happy that I can contribute to the effort by spreading the word around if nothing else.

A few questions that I anticipate from these friends remain unanswered though:

  1. Cost
    1. Does it change on even larger numbers?
    2. Has the actual landed cost been figured out?
    3. Does it include customs/taxes etc. ?
    4. Does it include shipping to the designated place?
    5. Does it include insurance right until it reaches the child?
  2. Being the best possible solution:
    1. Are there any authentic reports comparing the XO with intel's classmate pc?
    2. Or other announced devices like Asus EEE (if they count, that is).
  3. Deployment:
    1. School servers:
      1. What software is going to be available?
      2. What operating systems etc?
      3. Any content?
      4. Would we need to hire system administrators for the servers?
    2. Network:
      1. Does RDAG provide any bandwidth cost estimates yet?
      2. Would there be other providers partnering with the laptop foundation?
    3. Hardware Warranty Support:
      1. What would the warranty time period be?
      2. Where to take a broken machine? As in, would there be local hardware repair of some form?
      3. What are the exclusions from the warranty?
    4. Hardware Insurance Support:
      1. Are some insurance plans/partnerships being worked out to take care of the exclusions?
    5. Software Support:
      1. Would we need to hire sysadmins, or the reset button is just fine?
      2. What if we want this package or that installed on the 100/1000/10000 machines that we request?
    6. Training:
      1. I know children would learn on their own.
      2. Any training need for the teachers? :)
      3. Any likely providers?
This is just from the top of my head. And I hope that some of these would find a way to the F.A.Q. section. And responses to the remaining as a reply to this thread. :)
I hope that One Laptop Per Child has already worked out the answers to these and many more questions in its OLPC Uruguay response to the Ceibal RFP and will share it and them with Anjay, donors, and even OLPC News.

The best way to build support, improve an implementation plan, and silence critics is to show everyone you've thought through the process and more importantly, are willing to modify your grand plans as things change and prices fluctuate. And when you're hoping for $30,000, $250,000, or $2 million dollar XO laptop donations, you'll need all the support and forethought you can find.

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Now that's what I call good news. I mean, it's so hard to get Ministries of Education involved in a national OLPC policy. But with this new scheme there are new opportunities to develop medium-size projects big enough to make impacts at the level of whole towns or even small cities!

That's the way to go. So wayan, maybe the OLPC reads this blog for his deas?...

I am personally thinking on starting a fundraising for the poorest regions on my city..


I would love to claim credit for OLPC dropping its inhibiting and unrealistic million order minimum, but I think it was the cold hard reality that no country is going to gamble millions of dollars they don't have on laptops they've yet to see proven that changed OLPC's sales plan.

Now though, this lowering of order numbers, and volume pricing does mean that people and groups can facilitate direct XO transfers. Good luck fundrasing - I imagine there will be a few hundred others who will be doing the same in 3.. 2..

I will be very interested in seeing which NGOs or foundations opt for this deal, and if they get their questions answered (as reflected in Kumar's posting) before send the money. I anticipate that some great success stories will come out of this plus a few horror stories that have plagued ICT projects for years: theft, breakdowns, support, the disruption caused the in the school or community, etc.

If anyone sees a donation coop forming, either location-based as alexandre may be doing, or just virtual, please post here, or perhaps in a separate item.

Find one of the consumer electronics retail distribution giants and tell them to simply buy tens of thousands like this, delivered to their warehouse. They could then sell those off the shelves for anywhere between $200 to $400 this Christmas. Depending on if the retail giant wants to profit from it, or if it wants to not profit from it other then good PR by promoting OLPC in US and EU retail outlets at Christmas. Those retail giants could even provide sort of part of donation that goes to OLPC for each sale, eigther by selling them over $200, for example "Buy one for $300 and we're giving $100 to OLPC".

If OLPC can deliver enough stocks to satisfy demand, there will be OLPCs all over the world this Christmas, in developping and developped countries, all decision makers will be deciding to support it at full capacity starting in the beginning of next year.

I'm thinking to gather with Linux geeks, IT students, education researchers and other fans of OLPC to walk from one school to the other, show up at one teacher-parents meetings after the other, and convince whole classes parents and whole schools to buy into getting it here in Denmark for this Christmas. The only concern that I have is that it might take 6-8 weeks longer to prepare a danish keyboard, so it might be too late to get it here in Denmark in large quantities for Christmas.

If I can pa y my money to catho lic Caritas. I will be pa y, otherwerse never. The Caritas organisation I know. Is good and long egzists.

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, we now have an OLPC News fanboy in Chris Dawson at ZNet. Check out his carbon copy post: http://education.zdnet.com/?p=1288

The O/S software won't be ready until Dec. 7? Of which year? What's the word processing program going to be? vi?

(I wish I were kidding here ... a year's delay in the O/S software wouldn't be a stretch.)

Thank god the do-gooders focus their efforts on the third world, where they can't do much damage to the rest of us.

So children can suffer with a $200 laptop that is incompatible with the rest of the world, and for which no software is available.

Or for $499 they could have the Dell special of the day using a standard operating system for which there is an ENORMOUS amount of software, a lot of it free.

If I were the education minister of some third world country, I would say ... just give me ONE-HALF the number of computers, but make it a real one. Something used by the rest of the free world.

And an internet connection in every village.

William, you are kind of missing the point. They are designed with very specific purposes in mind, as well as with cradle to cradle principle in play in the manufacture.

Yes, you can get a Dell for cheap, but it will have MSCrap on it, which is beyond the resources of most of the developing world.

But the reality is that a child can be quite happy with minimal software, such as a ebook reader, a web browser, and now google has their online office automation tools. What else does someone really need?

And the whole point is to replace textbooks, which are even more expensive for developing countries and easily outdated....I remember college spending 300 bucks on book each semester....no developing nation can do that, even American schools have trouble doing that.