If you take any world problem, any issue on the planet, the solution to that problem certainly includes education. In education, the roadblock is the laptop.
Big companies are looking closer term, and even the most technological companies spend less than 1% of sales on research. Startups have suffered the burst bubble.
Cell phones were more popular in Cambodia and Uganda because they didn't have phones. We had phones in this country, and we were very late to the table. They're going to adopt e-books much faster than we do.
Giving the kids a programming environment of any sort, whether it's a tool like Squeak or Scratch or Logo to write programs in a childish way - and I mean that in the most generous sense of the word, that is, playing with and building things - is one of the best ways to learn.
Key is the question of where do new ideas come from. Historically, four places: government labs, big corporations, startup companies, and research universities.
Nature is pretty good at networks, self-organizing systems. By contrast, social systems are top-down and hierarchical, from which we draw the basic assumption that organization and order can only come from centralism.
Give One, Get One generated about 100,000 zero-dollar laptops. Somebody else paid for them, but from the recipient's point of view, that's zero.
Companies cannot really see beyond their current customer base. They explicitly or implicitly do things to protect their current customers. And the last person to want real change is your customer. This is why most new ideas come from small companies that have nothing to lose.
When you meet a head of state, and you say, 'What is your most precious natural resource?' they will not say children at first, and then when you say, 'children,' they will pretty quickly agree with you.
We've been working now with computers and education for 30 years, computers in developing countries for 20 years, and trying to make low-cost machines for 10 years. This is not a sudden turn down the road.
It's hard to propose a $100 laptop for a world community of kids and then not say in the same breath that you're going to depend on the community to make software for it.
One of the arguments here at OLPC is, if 100 million kids could have an Asus running Windows, is that better with two million kids running the XO? And the answer is yes. We want kids connected and the largest possible number is the goal.