One Give One Got None XO Laptop Per Donor

   
   
   
   
   
olpc shipping
Where is my XO laptop?

One Laptop Per Child is in a world of shipping hurt, as now it seems that the G1G1 shipping problems are more extensive that even I dared to believe. It looks like a whole database of orders were lost.

Thanks to ThatSeattleGuy's investigation of posts in the XO Shipping Problems forum and the OLPC Wiki, among other resources, we now have a independent reconstruction of seven failure points of what may have gone wrong during the Give One Get One sales process:

  1. Second lines of shipping addresses were truncated.
  2. Internal Patriot/Brightstar database errors may cause updates to be lost
  3. Order changes may be lost between the fulfillment contractors
  4. Order status emails may have been intercepted by donor spam filters
  5. The initial shipping address was a PO Box
  6. FedEx delivery may have failed without the donor being aware
  7. he FedEx address verification tool may incorrectly indicate an address is unshippable
And only now, over two months since Day One Donors' credit cards were charged for their donation, OLPC is starting to take responsibility for the issue:
OLPC says the buck stops with it. "We take complete responsibility for the problems customers are having," [Jackie] Lustig says. To that end, Lustig can't says she can't say for sure when the last XO notebook will be shipped to each Give One, Get One participant.
I wonder if OLPC even knows the extent of the shipping problem? Do they even know how many G1G1 Donors are still waiting? While I don't assume we can account for everyone, I've started a G1G0 Donor List to give us some idea of scale and hopefully add to ThatSeattleGuy's knowledge base.

If you are G1G0, please register now.

Yet, before the comments section fills with anger over the delay, Let's have Michael Bletsas remind us why we all G1G1'ed in the first place:

What I can offer Catherine is my assurance that the laptops that she and the other G1G1 participants donated are already finding their way to kids in the developing world. It might sound strange, but getting 1,000 XOs delivered to a school in Mongolia is much simpler than getting 1,000 XOs shipped to individuals in the U.S. and Canada.

Having the kids make the best out of them is what OLPC is really all about.

And if you want proof, check out OLPC Mongolia. Or better yet volunteer.

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28 Comments

I hate to sound negative, but that last comment sounds like "yes we lost your orders, but so what. This is about the children"

Thank you for posting this Wayan... and to address Simons comment, I believe its more along the tone of "We ship the kids before we ship yours, please wait longer". They will still send you one, just not in the time frame I think anyone ever hoped for sadly.

These issues are exactly why they were reluctant to ship to individuals. It is a lot more work, a lot more error-prone, and you get a lot more complaints. I received my XO in a timely manner and now I want another for a kid I know (actually, I'll probably just give him mine even though I hate to part with it). No idea when I will ever be able to get another one at this point.

Another entry should be added to the list of "failure points" in the fulfillment process:

8. Other (no funky address, never a probelm with FedEx before, 24-hour desk staff at apartment, no change to original order, no relevant emails stuck in spam filters-- though what in the world a confirmation email has to do with anything ten weeks after the order was placed, I'm not sure--etc.)

To still be waiting is frustrating; toget nothing but the runaround from email of telephone inquiries, infuriating.

Oh, and if for those of us who paid via bank link, rather than credit card, customer service/conflict resolution at PayPal won't help sort anything out, either.

Must focus on those great-looking Mongolian children while repeating the always useful mantra, No good deed goes unpunished.

Simon,

Those that are still waiting for their laptops have a very valid complaint. I know I would be frustrated if I was still waiting, and that's why I've kept writing about the G1G0 shipping issue. At the same time, I do hope people give OLPC some more patience. I want OLPC to be judged on its contribution to education and technology change, not shipping logistics.

i understand well the frustration of people who have been
anticipating the arrival of their machines for some time.

and i am not minimizing that in any way when i say that
these types of problems must be expected from an entity
which tries to deliver 150,000+ units across the continent
as one of their first real-world tests. which is probably
the very reason negroponte was reluctant to go this route.
indeed, i'm still not clear why he changed his mind...

-bowerbird

Note to all that in light of the information in the Bletsas interview at Engadget, I've changed wording and emphasis in several places on the OLPC Wiki page that Wayan references ( http://wiki.laptop.org/go/How_laptop_delivery_breaks ). I've always tried to be scrupulously fair and dispassionate there: accurately reporting the known information, and clearly labeling speculation and theory as such, rather than reporting it as fact.

The new version makes it clear to readers that OLPC set up the initial order fulfillment systems and quite likely has a continuing role in the management of the order databases. Effectively, this makes OLPC more complicit in the creation of the problems, and that it's unfair and simplistic to blame PatriotLLC as responsible for the majority of the errors.

This wiki page has always been an evolving document, and I've made an major effort to keep it updated in light of new information from OLPC and others "on the inside" over the past week. If only said information was more readily available...

yours,
/ThatSeattleGuy/

@bowerbird
Easy: it raised funds and overall positive publicity for OLPC. Now they can have pilot programs in more countries without losing money.

I happen to think that they SHOULD have done this. As frustrating as it was, I'd rather be the guinea pig to stress test their support chain than some poor kid in a developing nation. If their overall support and delivery improves because of these mistakes, then that's better for the kids I'm indirectly donating to.

Frustration != Stupidity != Giving Up

the last paragraph is quite worrying. Since the transparency on the donations of those laptops is null it's hard to know where or how many laptops are being given to the children. Of course we all believe in the good will of OLPC or we would not be in this site.

But if I donated $ to a company X that promised me a product Y and a donation to somewhere and I never got the product Y, and never saw the result of the donation but still had been charged $, I would call this a scam and would be going to court.

I bet the difference between a nonprofit and a profit is on trust. You trust them to do good, so you do not need the usual legal brakes compared to a for profit that you do not trust..

or something like that

Wayan: "I want OLPC to be judged on its contribution to education and technology change, not shipping logistics."

This whole experience underlines the important unspoken parts of any OLPC implementation plan. Here we have the OLPC Foundation using contractors to deliver a relatively small number of the laptops with one of the most standardized address systems in the world. I've had addresses such as "[city name], above Nurse's house" and "From where the People's Bank used to be, two blocks towards the lake, 1/2 block west"

The project will never get judged on its actual core metrics if a country (or a state like alabama) finds that the implementation cost in distributing the laptop, not to mention provisioning Internet, providing support/replacement/maintenance and *gasp* training teachers and modifying the curriculum to promote laptop integration gets too high.

Maybe what is most troublesome for me at this point is that while so much of the project is open source, I came into it expecting far more transparency in its processes. I don't like black boxes of any kind.

In this I've had to keep shifting my explanations to my 7-year-old daughter as to why her laptop has not arrived. And I don't have any material to go on, save for the scant information that has been provided.

Open source projects have problems and open source projects are forthcoming about those problems. If there are problems here, we need to know where, when, how, who and why. Heck, we may even be able to help. Instead, we've been treated worse than consumers.

We are not consumers. We are participants.

Of course it has always been about the children and education, that is not the point. Those of us who are still without an XO are and have been willing to wait, but we are not willing to be continually lied to, and what else would you call the information we have been given in emails from OLPC for nearly the last two months?

Misinformation is one thing, this goes beyond that. As for the failure points, I do not believe that anyone of those is legitimate. From looking at the data on the OLPC shipping page a month or so ago, it was obvious that confirmation numbers producing invalids were grouped together, that it was not an address problem, otherwise donors who received seqential confirmation numbers would apparently have addresses that did not fly, and this is patently unlikely.

I don't know what caused the problem, but in lieu of concrete explanations from OLPC, I believe yours and thatseattleguy's hypotheses don't hold water. Something very fishy has been going on, and OLPC spokespersons either don't know or are still skirting the issue. Multiply $400 by the number of donors left in the cold and at a minimum we are talking some $2 million unaccounted for. I think OLPC will make good on delivering, and that also is not the point.

The point is why they let emails under their name to go out to donors with false information time and again and again and again. The silence on the part of Dr. Negroponte is deafening. He should be ashamed of himself for allowing others in the organization try to explain the delay away. He has always been out front, was out front in promoting the whole enterprise prior to and during the G1G1 initiative and it was his name and signature on the Thank You letters that went out to at least most of the donors within days of their purchase.

Where oh where are you Dr. Negroponte?

Online shipping is not a new process. Databases are not new. Why didn't they just ask ebay (one of their sponsors) how its works instead of inventing their own, 'better' process?

Also, since they're all about the technology why can't they send out personalized letters to the donors, assuming they know who they are? The donors are the most patient people on the face of the earth. It's been obvious for a long time that something was seriously wrong with the shipping process and OLPC is just sending out random emails.

I wouldn't go so far as 'scam' and 'fraud' but definitely 'incompetence'. A donor to a nonprofit shouldn't have to be Sherlock Holmes (or work as hard as theSeattleGuy) to figure out what's going on.

While I'm not a party in this issue, since I cannot buy one for me (perhaps I would if I could), it's true that shipping to individuals is not easy and that logistics is not what OLPC is trying to change.

Then again: here we have one of many potential pitfalls in deploying the XOs around the world. What if logistics fail? Whose responsible? I know, it's the government, but it may a case of a lot of people getting terribly upset because of promises not fulfilled. And this is just a matter of full computers: when very specific maintenance issues arise in the future, who's going to be in charge? One kid without a working computer may become a small tragedy by end of term exams, for instance.

Many small things can add up and turn the whole project into chaos. Not that I wish this to happen, I stress to say. It's just that things are not that simple and many different aspects of the project are still up in the sky. For instance: there's nothing like a delivery schedule publicly available here in Peru; the reason (informally said, in very hushed tones by people in the Ministry) is that nobody wants to commit firmly to dates and places because of concerns about practicalities, like real demands for maintenance once the computers are widely deployed. It's going to take a while for the implementation here to go full throttle. And then, assessment is another complicated issue. No hot clock-stopping tech is going to change that.

I am the lucky recipient of 2 G1G1 XOs on two separate orders but with no paperwork of any kind. Tax filing time is soon and I'm concerned that I do not have the written acknowledgment of my gift which is required by the IRS.

I saw Dr. Negroponte's talk at CES. He said it was a different talk than he planned to give, I presume because of the Intel pullout, and then proceeded to give what looked like an investor slide show. He listed Brightstar as one of the short list of strategic partners who make the whole thing possible.

Yet I question this assertion that it is difficult to ship to consumers. How do Amazon, and others who ship millions of consumer orders every day, manage to stay in business?

I too am waiting for the XO delivery-or should I say the kids I teach are waiting as in:"Did it come yet?" It is likely easier for me to be patient because I ordered later, I did not expect to use it as a Christmas present, and I approached the project with my kids at school as a humanitarian project. I have also worked with non-profit organizations in the past and I know when you work with volunteers-their real jobs take priority and often projects take much longer than anticipated.

The sad thing here is that the G1G1 shipping issues have distracted from the overall mission of the OLPC. It has left many people distrustful, others angry. Donors who are frustrated and angry are told they have no right to have these feelings-which escalates the anger.

As no one and nothing can change the past-Hopefully, OLPC can learn from this first deployment and put into place a better system to address problems in the future.

The good news at least we are seeing lively discussion not only on the XO but on education in general.

I too am waiting for the XO delivery-or should I say the kids I teach are waiting as in:"Did it come yet?" It is likely easier for me to be patient because I ordered later, I did not expect to use it as a Christmas present, and I approached the project with my kids at school as a humanitarian project. I have also worked with non-profit organizations in the past and I know when you work with volunteers-their real jobs take priority and often projects take much longer than anticipated.

The sad thing here is that the G1G1 shipping issues have distracted from the overall mission of the OLPC. It has left many people distrustful, others angry. Donors who are frustrated and angry are told they have no right to have these feelings-which escalates the anger.

As no one and nothing can change the past-Hopefully, OLPC can learn from this first deployment and put into place a better system to address problems in the future.

The good news at least we are seeing lively discussion not only on the XO but on education in general.

> I'd rather be the guinea pig to
> stress test their support chain
> than some poor kid in a developing nation.
> If their overall support and delivery improves
> because of these mistakes, then that's better
> for the kids I'm indirectly donating to.

except the experience of servicing these first-worlders
gives no meaningful knowledge about the third-world...

what it does do -- if you fail to pull it off correctly,
even for a small percentage of the purchasers, which is
(to be blunt) _inevitable_ for a new company -- is to
alienate people from a project they'd been supporting,
which is precisely what we're seeing in this thread...

even if you only fail on 2%-4% of those purchasers, they
will make a lot of noise -- a disproportionate amount...

distribution to end-users is _not_ easy. that's why it
routinely ends up adding 100% to the cost of a product...

-bowerbird

Just copied this off the OLPC wikipage
"Laptop News 2008-01-26
1. Davos, Switzerland: Nicholas reports that the World Economic Forum, usually a storm, was a hurricane this year, with gale winds of press and interest in OLPC. The Intel debacle dominated the debate far less than he anticipated. The sheer existence of OLPC was marveled. The traditional Saturday-morning breakfast debate, at which Intel and OLPC have battled fiercely in the past, was not attended by Craig Barrett.

2. OLPC and Brightstar, along with Quanta, are reviewing current inventory and the immediate production schedule to fulfill the balance of the Give One Get One program. At present their is a gap in supply, given the need for US keyboards and power supplies—most of the remaining “Get” laptops will likely ship in March.

Looks like the lastest email promising February may be incorrect.

So now they're saying we won't get them til March!!!! How can all these briliant people come up with this super briliant computer and then can't even figure out how to get the darn things out to the loyal donors? This makes no sense at all.
I've said it before and I'll say it again. This smells like a scam. That is why I say that we need to make ourselves heard. I've reported this scam to my state's Attorney General office. I highly recomend that all the other frustrated donors do the same. Something has to be done to wake these people up.

http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Support_meetings

Billing and Shipping - Peer2Peer exchange/gifting/parts/refunds network?

Shipping update from Kim, Adam, Sandy, Steve and Greg: about 5000 machines shipping as we speak, entering Fedex especially last Friday, and this coming Mon & Tues. Many if not most of these people will receive their XOs end of this week. The rest will generally arrive in donors hands much later. An email in the coming days from someone like Walter will break the bad news, explaining the delay to the thousands of people whose orders have been delayed, and explaining what they can do.

Basically if you don't have your laptop, it ain't comming for a while.

Hope you hadn't planned anything based on the previous delevery dates, sucker. (I am a sucker too)

Want to cancel the charge, it's too late.

Don't you feel stupid now.

I hope the new e-mail doesn't even hint at another delivery date, but past experience tells me they will and miss that date too.

On the plus side they are still dealing with the orders on a "first come first serve basis"...bet that makes you feel so much better.

Lest someone reply that I should feel good about this for some reason, I am not complaining about the delivery date as I could actually care less about when it arrives, I am complaining about the bogus delivery dates.

This isn't a big suprise for me, but I work with and sell tech every day of the week, in the last 2 years I've sold laptops when parts would have to sit on backorder, specifically, extended batteries, spare power supplies, wireless cards, it happens, one hiccup, and you are left with a whatever you have on hand until someone delivers more of that one part that stops everything, heck some of the time my list of 12 models I can get from my supplier isn't really 12 models, it 2-4 if I want them this week, a couple more if I can wait awhile (but I can backorder now so I can be in line to get when they come in), just 2 weeks ago had this situation on a new server product, well "we only ordered one and we won't order anymore until someone backorders it". Sometimes its product that appears a day or two or three later, sometimes 15, 30, 45, 60 days later, it happens, welcome to the global economy.

G1G1 XO arrived on 31 Jan 08.

To put that wait in perspective, I got my order receipt via email 6 minutes after on the first hour on the first day they were available. Seems I had the 2nd line address truncation problem mentioned above. Eventually it was all straightened out however it put me somewhere else in line. Did it suck to have to wait longer? Yes. However I am not about to rake this group (hardly a company) over the coals about this. Spending $400 to fight poverty/raise educational standards where one also gets a laptop out of it is not an impressive manifestation of altruism. Volunteering ones time - as many people involved in this project have done - is. For this, they get a big break from me.

BTW - the machine is neat and very cute. 24 hours in and it seems to have been worth the wait.

Hi,
Where can I buy one of these YoYo chargers?

i told my daughter, 'we are going to give a computer to a little boy or girl who can't afford one.' she was happy. i also told her that we were going to get one of them for her. she was again happy.

with time, the happiness fades. she was supposed to get her computer before christmas. she didn't. it is nearly march, and she still doesn't have it. it is entirely possible that some deserving child somewhere in the world has in fact gotten one of the laptops we bought, but my daughter feels like she has been lied to. by me, and by the idea of charity. and that is killing me.

personally, i would like to at least get a receipt for the 200.00 charitable donation, so that i can do my taxes. i could easily show that my account was charged just over 400.00 for *something*, but what good is that?

i have called the foundation and know that they know who i am. they say that they are going to send us a laptop. they keep saying that they will send me my receipt.

i have gotten nothing from them except for an upset child.

the bottom line of this whole business is that i ordered a product with certain expectations about receiving it. each time i write, i get a note spit out by some machine that says the same thing over and over. they have extended the delivery date four times and give the same excuse over and over again. i have sent them every single bit of information i have, including my paypal number and i want to cancel the whole transaction. i am sick of their excuses and of course, there is no way that i will have the receipt for tax purposes they promised for this year.

this whole procedure has been a nightmare. it sounded like such a good idea at the beginning but if these little computers cannot be shipped to the united states and canada...............how on earth are they getting to the third world countries? i have a feeling i have been taken and i want my money back NOW so that i can go out and by something else.

Still no computers. Ordered two December 6. NOW scheduled SEPARATELY although ordered together, for mid and late April. And, by the way, they now lack the capability of cancelling the not yet shipped computer scheduled for mid April. I have nothing good to say about this fiasco.

Catherine,

I ordered mine on Dec 6 also, and it arrived this morning. I hope yours arrive safely soon.

Dave

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