How to GiveMany $30,000 in XO Laptops (or Not)

   
   
   
   
   

Here is an optimistic email from OLPC Switzerland that warms my heart:

Last fall I started reading about OLPC and was able to convince my employer to participate in the give many program: We purchased 150 laptops for 30'000 USD, 50 of which were sent to our hotel in Sana'a, Yemen, and 50 to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

The laptops have or are about to clear customs and will be stored in our hotels while the handover is planned. In both countries, the ministry of education has suggested some schools, and two schools per location were selected to receive 25 laptops each.

The handover to the schools is being planned and I am interested in input on how to best do this.

olpc give many
Give and give not XO laptops
While you are responding to Oliver Bernet's request in the comments below, let's contrast his acceptance of the Give Many program from One Laptop Per Child with Ken Hargesheimer's opinion on his quest for XO's for Mormon church of Christ missionaries:
Brightstar emailed me that I can purchase 100 delivered to the USA for $32,000 and they will donate 50 to one of the four countries. I told them that I want all 150 of them as these will all be donated. We would pay $33,000 for all of them delivered to us. They said no. I emailed NN and he said no.

There are hundreds of churches, NGOs, etc who would buy them. Many believe OLPC is going to fail and I see why.
On one hand, I can understand Ken's frustration. He's collected $30,000 to buy XO laptops and wants that purchase to go as far as it can - all the way to 150 XO laptops. On the other hand, OLPC has the XO's and can distribute them how ever they want, and building in a donation to Give Many is a smart financial move.

Still, as Ed Cherlin has explained before, the Give Many program has major flaws:

The GiveMany program, is incoherent and in my experience is impossible to deal with. I find that I don't believe anything that Brightstar tells me about the program, because they have changed their terms radically with no announcement, and because of their incompetence in the GiveOneGetOne program.

At first it was cash in advance with delivery in 90 days. Then, without warning, it became cash in advance, a delivery date will be provided in 60 days, and delivery can be any time in the next nine (9) months.

As a great example of the chaos in GiveMany, I personally know of a Washington DC patron of a Quaker school that donated $40,000 for the purchase of 200 XO laptops. But due to Brightstar's fumbling and inability to process a PO order, the school went with conventional Windows computers, mainly desktops, to initiate its computing program, which I hope we can all agree was a loss for the students and OLPC.

So I give great kudos to Oliver for finagling 100 XO laptops from OLPC through GiveMany and I hope, along with Ed, that we have a whole new GiveMany quite soon that can be responsive to both Mormon church of Christ and Quakers.

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11 Comments

Correction: The XOs are for The church of Christ [not Mormon church] children's homes and schools.

If one is marketing an item, it goes where the customer wants it to go or the customer does not buy.

To Ken Hargesheimer: I'm glad to hear it's children's homes and schools and not adult Mormon missionaries. I would point out that 100 XO laptops at $320 (or $330) each is still a pretty good deal, even a bargain. While I can see your point and I'm in favor of getting XOs to children in the USA as well to children in developing countries, I don't think it's surprising that OLPC declined to sell you 150 laptops for the price of 100. OLPC has its agenda and they are the ones, after all, who came up with this great little machine. I hope you won't be discouraged by this. Keep up the good work!

What's so hard to understand here? OLPC isn't about the first world. If you want OLPCs you have to subsidize the third world, or go without.

Ken,

I've updated the post - my lack of religious teachings is telling.

All 150 of those XOs were going abroad; none for the USA. The day after I sent an email that I was hoping to purchase 150 of them, I got an order for 20 for the Dominican Republic and 20 for Nigeria.

Brightstar determined the price. US$125 more will purchase one of the other brands [classmate, Eee, etc] small laptops and they would grab my offer.

I believe that the way OLPC is managed is totally assinine.

I don't understand why you find Oliver "Optimistic" and why the first sentence of your post is so ironic !

What Oliver have done ? He put 100 laptops in finger's child. And Oliver have done this just because he believe in OLPC as an education project.
It's an highly respectable thing that probably every people interested by the OLPC project should like to do. As one of founder of OLPC France, I hope personnally to have opportunity to do this one day !

Okay, Brigthstar is probably not the best company to deal with.
Okay, Give Many is probably not the best program that we could dream of (cash payment, delay, ...).
But remind you that Give Many is THE ONLY WAY to buy XOs today and whatever it could be tomorrow, XO/Sugar/Linux is today a really good platform to give to a child for learning.

So we all must thanks Oliver to spend its energy to give to 100 children a such great tools. I hope that there is plenty of people like Oliver that do their best using the OLPC project to change our world.

So please, stop to be "pessimistic". Every energy is positive.

@Lionel
Actually, Oliver managed to get 150 laptops in childrens' hands; he just had a say in where 100 of those laptops went.

@ken
Are you seriously suggesting that you'd rather pay $445 for another laptop instead of paying $320 for an XO? At least with the XO you know the profit is going towards giving more laptops to children.

Also, Brightstar didn't determine the price, the Give Many program did. All Brightstar did was add shipping costs.

Jay,

No, I had not but I am so angry at OLPC. They do not have a realistic marketing system. If NN wants to get them into hands of children, why does he not use every means possible to accomplish that? Some people have written some terrible things about NN and from what little I know about the situation, I believe it.

Comparing the XO with the others available is not comparing apples to apples. They have a lot on them compared to the XO. We believe the XO is the best choice for developing countries. OLPC's attitude is if you do not like what we do, go somewhere else.

Jay,

No, I had not but I am so angry at OLPC. They do not have a realistic marketing system. If NN wants to get them into hands of children, why does he not use every means possible to accomplish that? Some people have written some terrible things about NN and from what little I know about the situation, I believe it.

Comparing the XO with the others available is not comparing apples to apples. They have a lot on them compared to the XO. We believe the XO is the best choice for developing countries. OLPC's attitude is if you do not like what we do, go somewhere else.

Ken,

"If NN wants to get them into hands of children, why does he not use every means possible to accomplish that?"

In my opinion, here is the anwser: NN energy is limited so NN sell OLPC to government because it's easier to sell 80 000 laptops to 1 people than to sell 1 laptop to 80 000 people.

If like me and like 79 999 other people, you subscribed to G1G1 program, you know what I mean...

Hi...am glad to have reached this place. Am a member of a local congregation of the Church of Christ at my village in Kenya,E.Africa.I am in dire need of a laptop for my studies. Kind donation or assistance please!

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