This is Ajay Kumar, and I am going to talk today about a chicken and egg situation faced by the champions of OLPC at the grassroots level.
When we talk to the schools and the kindergartens, after a lot of skepticism, and answering a lot of questions, and showing them the sugar interface via virtual machine images, they are finally ready to try their hands on the OLPC. And they say, "I am happy to order 10 for a small pilot and if everything goes well, I would order for an entire class the beginning of next year".
The chicken and egg problem here is that they would not place a large order until they have tried their hands on some devices, and the project would not give them the devices unless they place a large order. While I can understand their aversion to risk, I can equally well understand that the OLPC's value preposition gets diluted if the entire ecosystem is not equipped with the devices.
What I don't like in this is the fact that the entire process gets stopped, and OLPC gets a kick for good in favor of Asus Eee or Intel CMPC. An approach to solution can be for the OLPC champions from a geographical area to come together and place a collective order.
Take a look at the quick little mashup we are bringing up at ClassGrid.
You can go and place a pin on the map stating the location of the school where you plan to do a pilot, and the numbers you require. Please try to keep the order number to be above 5, because you will find it very difficult to demonstrate the power of the network below that number. As they say, the value of the network grows as the square of the number of people connected in it.
All in all we hope that this would help the OLPC give-many gain some more orders, and the possibility to get even larger orders due to increased mindshare. And more importantly, this would enable you to help the schools get warm and cozy with the technology and solution the OLPC proposes. Please do pass on the word about the mashup, and put it to some good use.