Thursday, November 15, 2007

One Laptop per child and the Tipping Point

Where is Malcolm Gladwell when you need him?

My wife and I were chatting (what I really mean is that we were exchanging words as we moved in multiple directions - herding kids out the door and getting ready for work) this morning about the One Laptop Per Child, and David Berlind's blog post (Thanks, David!) on the subject last night.

"I think that the tech community will probably be the only one to get behind this. What we really need is some big celebrity endorsement to force a tipping point", I said. She was skeptical.

For some reason the story of the Toyota Prius came to mind. As a society, we had been clamouring for a realistic alternative to the standard gas guzzler, and Toyota provided it. But, even though many of us looked upon the car with wide eyes, we all sat on the fence and didn't do anything. Then some Hollywood types started driving them around, and then not only did they represent the right thing to do, they were instantly "cool" too. Sales skyrocketed.

I think that the One Laptop per Child program has similar characteristics. It is the right thing to do but it is not yet "cool". Maybe someone out there in the blogosphere knows some big named person or company who can make this "cool".

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