The One Laptop per Child project's "Give One, Get One" program has been extended through Dec. 31 as donations averaged about $2 million a day. On that pace, the OLPC should move about 490,000 units by the end of the year. Does that make the effort a success?
The initial Give One, Get One promotion--a philanthropic sale if you will--began on Nov. 12 andhad been scheduled for two weeks. Under the program, you pay $399 for two laptops. You get one and a child in a developing country like Afghanistan, Cambodia, Haiti, Mongolia and Rwanda gets the other one. I bought two on Nov. 12, but took some heat for noticing the shipping charge.
In a statement on Thanksgiving, Nicholas Negroponte, founder of the One Laptop per Child initial promotion will be extended to the end of the year. The rationale: OLPC (blog focus, all resources) got good demand and some folks had asked for more time to organize groups. XO laptops, the flagship model of the OLPC project, can be bought for educational purchases in quantities of 100-999 at $299 each, 1000-9999 at $249 each, and 10,000 and up at $199 each. That scale means that if you buy 10,000 XOs in the Give One, Get One program you can hit the $100 barrier per laptop, the OLPC's initial price target.
“In the past 10 days, we’ve experienced an outpouring of support from the public that is truly gratifying and encouraging. Because so many people have asked for more time to participate either individually or in order to organize local and national groups to which they belong, we have decided to extend Give One Get One through the end of this year. During this extended period we will solicit input and transition to a program of giving only at the beginning of 2008. We want as many people as possible to have the opportunity to act upon the giving spirit of the holiday season.”
But the real kicker here is that donations to the Give One, Get One program have averaged $2 million a day. That figure allows us to come up with some rough estimates to gauge units. Consider:
So what's success here? My take is Negroponte's project is a success simply because it brought an issue to the forefront and got tech giants on board. If the Classmate is a developing world hit, you can thank OLPC. But that's just my take. Here are a few variables to weigh to make your own decision:
In other words, these variables don't necessarily add up into a definitive answer. If you're a slave to numbers and units, the OLPC isn't up to snuff yet. If you look at the impact OLPC had on rivals perhaps the project is successful even if it doesn't sell another laptop.
But the real success story will depend on other factors. A few of these factors include:
Simply put, the OLPC tale is still being written, but rest assured the success or failure debate will probably heat up.