Position: Founder and chairman, One Laptop
Location: Cambridge, Mass.
One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) is no Dell or HP; it doesn’t even hold 1 percent of global notebook market shares. But founder Nicholas Negroponte thinks it could, if he can accomplish his lifetime goal of getting OLPC’s XO laptop into the hands of the world’s children. “This is not a laptop project, it is an educational project,” he has said. But the small, green, low-cost laptop (which he hopes to trim down to $100) running the Sugar Linux operating system with built-in mesh wireless connectivity drives the effort to educate the world’s children.
“Suddenly, a child [with a laptop] has access to millions of books. Even more important, children can collaborate, can make things, and can learn by doing,” Negroponte asserted. Time will tell if the laptop can change education worldwide, but change the mainstream notebook market it certainly can. The idea of a $100 laptop has spread to mainstream manufacturers such as ASUS and HP, which have created low-cost Linux portables. Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak has said Negroponte deserves a Nobel Peace Prize.
Negroponte doesn’t think so. His response: “They do not give prizes for disrupting industry and governments. But I appreciate Steve’s vote of confidence.”
Did You Know: Negroponte sits on several boards, including Motorola, The Wall Street Journal, and Ambient Devices.