Nicholas Negroponte at Brainstorm: TECH


By Kyle Austin

Nicholas Negroponte took the stage with David Kirkpatrick at Fortune Brainstorm: TECH to address the crowd on where the One Laptop per Child project currently stands earlier this morning. Some excerpts below:

DK: Happy to have you on stage, along with your XO.

You have transformed a new way to get technology into the hands of kids across the world. However, you’ve often talked about goals that haven’t been achieved. How do you describe the state of OLPC?

NN: You need a certain amount of hype. Some of it was that. We had to change our targets as we began to see which countries really were going to put a full effort behind one laptop for every child in their country. Peru is going to do a million this year. If I was running a company that would be pretty good to go from $0-$200 million (if they were paying for each computer) in one market – in one year.

DK: Do you sometimes wish that you had made it a business and not a non-profit philanthropy effort?

NN:Never. What the non-profit does is create the mission for us. We don’t look at the developing world as a market, we look at it as a mission. When I go to each head of state they know that I am talking with them about a mission to transform education in their countries and not giving them a sales’ speech. It also allows us to attract the top talent that want to be part of a true mission, without even thinking about earning a salary.

DK: So the XO that you have with you does something different then the XO’s in the developing world right now?

NN:Yes, this is a dual-boot XO that runs both Windows and Linux (Negroponte boots in Windows for the crowd).

NN: We will kick-off a global “Give One, Get One” program within the next few months.

Disclosure: One Laptop per Child is a client of the Racepoint Group.