Refocusing on our mission

It pains me to post this, and we have striven to avoid this over the past few months, but it is unavoidable.  We are streamlining our operations this month, cutting staff and contractors by roughly 50% (from every team) and laying out broad targets for the coming year. 

This will certainly be much discussed at FUDCon this weekend and XOCamp next week; you are all invited to join those talks, near or far (Brian J is helping to stream the sessions).  

Here is Nicholas’s announcement on the upcoming changes:

Like many other nonprofits that are facing tough economic times, One Laptop per Child must downsize in order to keep costs in line with fewer financial resources. Today we are reducing our team by approximately 50% and there will be salary reductions for the remaining 32 people. While we are saddened by this development, we remain firmly committed to our mission of getting laptops to children in developing countries. We thank team members who are departing for their contributions to this important mission.

This restructuring is also the result of an exciting new direction for OLPC. Our technology initiatives will focus on:

1. Development of Generation 2.0
2. A no-cost connectivity program
3. A million digital books
4. Passing on the development of the Sugar Operating System to the community.

With regard to deployments:

1. Latin America will be spun off into a separate support unit
2. Sub-Saharan Africa will become a major learning hub
3. [In addition to Sub-Saharan Africa] The Middle East, Afghanistan and Northwestern Pakistan will become a major focus

Separately, OLPC will be dedicated to bringing the cost of the laptop down to zero for the Least Developed Countries — the $0 Laptop.

Restructuring brings with it pain for friends and colleagues who are being let go. These are people who have dedicated themselves to the advancement of a noble cause, and to say that we are exceeding grateful for the time, the ideas, the energy and the commitment they have given OLPC does not — cannot — adequately express our admiration or our gratitude. The fact that there are 500,000 children around the world who have laptops is testament to their extraordinary work and is already a key part of OLPC’s legacy.

The future brings with it some uncertainty and difficulty, but also the excitement that comes with the rededication to a cause, and a new path that will allow us to realize the moral purpose of OLPC. I hope that each one of you will remain supportive of OLPC, and its mission of opening up a universe of knowledge to the world’s poorest children living in the most remote parts of the Earth.

— Nicholas Negroponte

Please stay tuned – more updates will follow on the points above.  For now, your comments and feedback are welcome, as always.

78 thoughts on “Refocusing on our mission

  1. Pingback: La crise économique frappe aussi l’ordinateur des pauvres | Nom du blog

  2. Laptops nowadays are the future notebooks. And it is also the tool to access lots of information. Selling it to a reduced price would be a big help to the third world countries.But it doesn’t mean that I agree to reduce also the salary of the workers.

  3. Netbooks are really changing the tide. With their lower cost and portability ,
    I’m sure that the intentions are always the best, and two-way communication would help assure those intentions become a success.

  4. hello
    I could be your representative and dealer here in my country. I am dnamique and I also have the business acumen.
    I have my big brother who work in the sale of computer items and we both can impose your brand of PC here. Contact us now we are waiting
    Best regards


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  8. Netbooks are really changing the tide. With their lower cost and portability ,
    I’m sure that the intentions are always the best, and two-way communication would help assure those intentions become a success.
    Anyway, I do welcome change for Latin America, and especially awareness of the very different realities that make up the world south of the Rio Grande

  9. Honestly, I do not understand why these are not available for retail sale. The profits could go a long way to putting a lot more of these into the hands of more unfortunate children. We are teachers. We make enough money to pay extra for a wonderful learning tool for our son so that another child may benefit. We cannot afford to give away two hundred dollars for something our own son does not have. That’s a lot of money in this house to just give away.

    I would buy one of these if I could and I believe many other parents would too as it is such a revolutionary laptop. It seems to me your organization is turning its back on a very obvious source of funding in difficult financial times. I know you did a “get one, give one” a year or two ago, but, from a marketing standpoint, the buyer simply cuts the “value” of the laptop in half when it’s marketed that way. Don’t depend on altruism. Just sell the darn thing and keep the direct “feel good” attempt out of it. An excellent value for an excellent learning tool at an excellent price. That will sell.

    Not sure the market is there? Ask Disney. They have their own Asus ee coming on board in a month or so – just in time for the holidays. $400. I’d say they did your market research for you. And you can beat that price. Better hurry up.

  10. I have watched the OPLC project fom a little too far. It is still revolutionary in its ideals and technology. I am typing this on an ASUS EEE PC which I am sure would not have seen the light of day were it not for your brilliant project. I was a fan of your buy one give one project and think this would have been successful in the UK. Would this not be a way to stimulate the project?

  11. Hi,

    I want to thanks you for do this to the needy,for thisThe lord will bless you and may the lord God enlarge your coast and may the lord God give you increase moe and more to you and your childern in wisdom ,knowlegde and understanding.God has grant you wealth and riches more than before ,so make it in jesus name .you will borrow nation ,you will not borrow from them .you will resign over nation ,nation will not resign over you.

    I need this laptop because i have just find a job on line and the job is typist job and i have to have my on latpot for me to start the job i need this job because of my living .I have a a propsal that i have at hand too,i will have to go with a laptop to the company that i want to present it to becaues it as to be in a slide on the laptop and the profession said that i have to go with it,that is the second reason why i need the laptop.Am a Nigerian and ilive in Nigeria

    thanks for reading.

    Adeleye Ademola

  12. Pingback: Change the World program wraps up | One Laptop per Child

  13. Respetado señor Negro Ponte:
    La Asociación de municipios de la provincia de Lengupá esta intersado en adquirir unas tremil quinientas (3500) unidades de los computaodores del programa de un portatil para cada niño para desarrollar un programa en cada municipio de los que integran la provincia, esto queda en el sur oriente del departamento de Boyacá república de Colombia.
    Por tal razón nos interesaría saber cuales son las condiciones de compra y si usted se compromete a entragarnos los equipos en sitio.
    Agradezco se ponga en contacto conmigo en el menor tiempo posible.

    Nicanor Tobar Beltran
    Director Ejecutivo ASOLENGUPA.
    calle 4 No.7-42
    Miraflores Boyacá

  14. It never ceases to amaze me how individuals can: 1) kick someone when they are down and 2) find something wrong with even the most noble of causes.

    SHAME ON YOU! *wag of my finger*

    Wake up, this is not your father’s recession and OLPC is facing the same realities as every other non-profit. My guess is they are being PROACTIVE.

    Sign me…Slack-jawed, objective observer

  15. Pingback: mohrolsen » OLPC Project cutting staff?

  16. Pingback: OLPC Foundation Cuts Staff by 50% : McTechie : I’m lovin’it!

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  18. My company works with nonprofits to build homes. Nonprofits do not have capacity to drive enterprise. Case in point, I have been trying to order 500 laptops from your company for 60 days and have had a very difficult time communicating with your company.

    It is essential that an evolving nonprofit bring principles of a for profit organization into its operation or sub out that portion of the business in order to grow.

    Second, collaboration is important. For instance, our Integrated Multidimensional Teaching Assistant is in over 3500 schools. We have changed how teaching is performed in schools and after school programs by creating a teaching assistant to teach Math, English, Phonics, German, French, Italian, Chinese, Japanese and properly assess children, find the gaps in their learning career and then provide a unique curriculum for that student to bring them to grade level.

    Rather than create your own curriculum, why don’t you collaborate with other successful models, brand it under your name and include it in your laptops. It is more efficient, costs less to engage and creates a way to reduce your costs, increase revenues and create barriers to entry from other companies that are awaiting your success in educating the world (which is very expensive) or your demise from being a first move, innovator (7 out of every 10 start ups fail for many of the same reasons you are having challenges.)

    If you want to grow, I would be happy to help. I am sure many of your readers would. If someone wants to add our inexpensive assessment and curriculum Multidimensional Teaching Assistant, contact me at

    Thank you

  19. I neglected to mention in my comments above, I am working with Vomerica in creating low cost WiMax systems in 3rd world emerging economies.

    Vomerica Company Description:
    1. A robust, adaptable, affordable, scalable, reliable, fully redundant business-class PBX phone system application, using Open Source code, which literally replaces old and expensive traditional PBX business phone systems. Because it is Open Source computer code we pass the savings along to the consumer and businesses, and allow them to program customizations internally.

    2. Broadband telecommunications systems and has partnered with Cisco to deploy Broadband Wireless networks throughout emerging economies, beginning in Sierra Leone and Honduras, with future expansion in both Latin America and
    West Africa. We also offer complete turnkey, end to end telecom solutions
    consulting, including connectivity and competitive International VoIP calling
    card rates.

    For more information on connecting your XO laptops to the internet in areas where access is non existent or too expensive contact me at and I will direct you to the proper people to help you.


  20. Netbooks are really changing the tide. With their lower cost and portability, it puts wirless network ready laptops in people’s or children’s hands that couldn’t have afforded them before. Wireless 3G is going to make a huge impact on this market.

    Thanks, Rob

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