America, December 23, 2007
I am obsessive, but not blind
Wow! My XO laptop from One Laptop Per Child is finally here. It really exists and it's in my very hands. I never really knew if this moment would happen.
Now, I never doubted that OLPC could build the laptop, or that it would be clock-stopping hot technology that everyone would want. I knew it would be the geek gadget to have this Christmas, I'm just surprised I have one, now.
I've been obsessed with OLPC for the last two years, ever since I first heard Nicholas Negroponte start talking about a "$100 laptop" in February 2005. Since then, I developed thought leadership on his grand plan through OLPC News, my obsession turned digital as a website that tracked the program's every move.
With the site as a micropublishing platform to make myself heard, I've become quite the gadfly around the project, with quotes in much of the mainstream press and even a full minute of TV fame with an interview on 60 Minutes.
And with all that exposure, and not all of it pro-OLPC, I had my doubts that I'd ever have a Children's Machine XO myself. I had the firm belief that OLPC would do its best to keep me from having one, out of spite as much as anything else.
Because I wasn't a blind fanboy, because I spoke out against its more egregious implementation fantasies, OLPC did its best to discredit my opinions. Oddly, they're very dislike of me, gave OLPC News more credibility, more independence to stimulate conversation around the programs methods and goals.
And so this past August found me in Santa Clara's Kobe Japanese restaurant with heavyweights of the technology and education sphere. People who were all heroes of mine for their efforts to bring both to the developing world.
During the course of dinner, the debate around OLPC became intense, and questions about its survival arose. I silenced all with a bold prediction: OLPC would sell XO laptops to Americans this Christmas.
There were a few guffaws, and I do remember betting someone, though I forgot who, and when we left, I wondered if Christmas would find me the fool. Alas, as I write this on my own XO, bought through OLPC's innovative Give One Get One program, my prediction came very true.
And now if you'll excuse me, I've got some learning and exploring to do.