Walking and running centric personalized health devices like Nike FuelBand and Jawbone Up will soon have company in the market place, thanks to Scanadu, which is making a vital health signs monitor, Scanadu Scout. Soon to follow, Scanadu Flu and other gadgets, FDA willing, of course.
Mobile technology and social networks aren’t just disruptive to existing industries like communications and media, they are also helping the change the way that students learn and how education is delivered both in North America and around the world. And the disruption is just beginning.
Nicholas Negroponte and Weili Dai of One Laptop Per Child take the stage for the Mobilize 2010 Keynote to discuss One Laptop Per Child, the future of the tablet, and what connectivity is doing to bring about change for children in developing nations.
The tablet rumor mill is heating up, which is in keeping with the early 2010 release date that’s been mentioned in earlier reports. The latest news to hit the web is that Apple (s aapl) has been talking to the Australian media about content provision for the fanboi device of legend.
The news comes via Australian paper The Sydney Morning Herald, which reports that Apple is providing technical details about the tablet multimedia device (which remains unconfirmed, despite all the buzz surrounding it) to media providers in the hopes of sussing out how strong interest is. Read More about Rumor Has It: Apple Sharing Tablet Info With Australian Media?
Nicholas Negroponte, founder of One Laptop for Child, today at the TED Conference claimed credit for instigating the rise of netbooks. He said we can thank OLPC, which he proposed three years ago, for estimates that netbooks will be half the market in 12 months.
But he decried the influence for-profit companies have had on OLPC, saying commercial markets have competed with the project mercilessly. And OLPC’s hardiness and specialization for children have not been replicated in netbooks, whereas they are some of the most important aspects of the product. OLPC has half a million devices in use today, and they are even being used by kids to teach their parents how to read and write.
So what Negroponte is going to do is open source the OLPC hardware, he said, and invite competitors to copy it. His hope is that will result in 5 to 6 million OLPC-type laptops per month going to children three years from now.
Nicholas Negroponte, the promoter of One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project, says that economic hard times have hit the OLPC effort, and the group will cut its staff by half; the remaining 32 employees will take a big salary cut. The work on version 2.0 continues, but some of the software efforts are being passed on to the community. Over past 12 months, OLPC has been hit with problems including exodus of key OLPC team members. I was skeptical of OLPC from the very beginning. The irony is that the idea behind OLPC — small, rugged, anytime, lightweight computers — has taken hold. Netbooks were one of the hottest selling items this holiday season.
I’m daily consumer of The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs, mostly for its entertainment value, but there is also often real business intelligence there — even if, sometimes, you have to read between the lines and reverse-engineer huge doses of irony to get it. (We posted on Fake Steve’s School of Management: The 10 Commandments of Fake Steve Jobs.)
Today fsj, a.k.a, Dan Lyons, has a good piece of advice for all founders: beware investors and advisors with the ‘one pair of glasses’ syndrome. Fsj picks on VC Bob Metcalf and a recent CNET story in which Metcalf says he thinks we can solve global warming by applying lessons learned from building the Internet. (Metcalf is famous for co-inventing the Ethernet.) Fsj believes such myopic thinking is potentially dangerous. He’s probably right.
… like Andy Grove says the way to fix the pharmaceutical industry is to follow the example of the chip industry. And Nicholas Negroponte thinks the way to solve poverty is to hand out laptops. I call it the “one pair of glasses” theory. You see it all the time. People know one thing and they think that this one thing can be applied to every problem, because it’s the only way they know how to look at the world. They’ve got one pair of glasses.
LESSON: Your mission is the goal. Your model is the method. Do not confuse these two things.
The sad story of the One Laptop Per Child project (OLPC) is like a case study in what not to do. I know it’s a non-profit, but in the misguided strategy and execution here are plenty of lessons for you, not the least of which you’ll glean from this interview Nick Negroponte gave to Business Week in the Mar. 17 issue,
in which he said the organization he founded 3 years ago has been operating “almost like a terrorist group” and that it now needs to be managed “more like Microsoft.”
I suspect one reason OLPC has had to operate as an outlaw (if Negroponte is to be believed), is that the mission of delivering a $100 laptop was totally inflexible to practical realities of commercial business models. The goal wasn’t “the cheapest laptop possible without running a deficit” but rather, a $100 laptop “at all costs.” Yet, to succeed, OLPC depended on partnerships with for-profit companies like Intel. When the market economics couldn’t be made fit into the $100-mold, ultimately, Intel walked. Now OLPC employees are, too.
Read the Business Week story for more perspective, but the main lesson here is this: Your mission is the goal. Your model is the method. Confuse these two things at you peril.