Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Pioneer

Well preparing assignments for our  newly developed Capstone class at Babson MBA program, I have a thought in my mind. More specifically, I'd like to give credit to the article "The Laptop Wars Business.View" from Economist. This is a required reading for the class and generally talking about whether the charity approach chosen by Mr. Nicholas Negroponte, the renowned MIT professor and director of Media Lab at MIT, is the best way to develop low-price and low-cost laptop for poors in developing countries. The article ends with "Judging by Intel's enthusiasm for selling the Classmate, there may be a decent for-profit market to be created. Mr Negroponte certainly deserves credit for highlighting the need to get laptops to children in the developing world, and for pointing out a business opportunity, even if inadvertently. But that does not mean his is necessarily the best organisation to deliver the goods."

I am not going to argue which approach is better but I want to say that the reason why people give so much credit to pioneers is not really about the direct outcome of proposals of pioneers but the overall impact those proposals could generate. For example, without Mr. Negroponte's One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project, others such as Intel and Asus may never enter this market. This is the value of pioneer. Even if OLPC and its XO laptop didn't become the standard or market winer at last, it still deserve most applause.

It's always easy to critize new things because without those new things presented in front of us, we may not know how and where to critize. That's why it's called initiative.

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