Friday, 16 May 2008

Is the $100 Laptop A Fairy Story?

Once upon a time there was a Technologist called Smart Nick. He lived in the Land of Bright Ideas where everybody was happy. Everyone in in the Land of Bright Ideas thought Smart Nick was the cleverest of clever people who had ever been clever and when he designed a Magic Box of Tricks that would make all the poor people in the rest of the world very very happy they all clapped and cheered and threw a big party with lots of jelly and cakes.

Smart Nick was so pleased with his idea. He knew it was just what the people wanted because he'd asked everyone in the Land of Bright Ideas a very special question. It was known as The Philosophers Question and the question was this..."if he could make their wish come true what would it be?" After listening really really carefully to what everyone said he worked very very hard everyday and every night for a whole week so that his Magic Box of Tricks was just what the people in the Land of Bright Ideas wanted.

The day came when he had to go on a long and dangerous adventure. He would have to go over the hill and far away beyond the Gates of Bill that led from The Land of Bright Ideas to meet the people of a mysterious land called Afreeka. The people of Afreeka were very nice but they didn't have much money and this made Smart Nick very sad. So off he went with a big smile, his Magic Box of Tricks and knapsack with an Apple to eat on the way to make all of the people in Afreeka happy.

When he got there he was invited to tea with the King of Afreeka. He lived in a huge palace with lots of nice things but he was very very angry. "Why doesn't your Magic Box of Tricks make my people happy?" he thundered. "I was told that your were the cleverest of clever people and you are not!" Smart Nick explained that he had asked everyone in the Land of Bright Ideas what they wanted using the Philosophers Question and he couldn't understand why the people of Afreeka were still unhappy.

This made the King of Afreeka even more angry. He stood up and banged the table so hard that all the plates and cups jumped nearly a whole metre in the air. "Fetch me my Wizard" he boomed. With a loud bang the Wizard appeared through a big cloud of sparkling purple smoke. Smart Nick's knees began to knock, he'd heard of the Marketing Wizards of Afreeka and their potent magic. "You see..." said the King "I have been working on my own Philosophers Question...Wizard...what can you see?"

The Wizard pulled out a crystal ball from the huge pockets of his coat and stared at it muttering mystical incantations. Smart Nick could only just hear them..."what do you want?", "what's important for you?", "what do you value?"... "what is the benefit of", how do you choose?...", "what problems would you like to solve?" the end the Wizard shrieked and shouted out 'You've Put Lipstick on a Pig' The people of Afreeka will only be happy if the Magic Box of Tricks can do the things they want to make them happy"

The King stood up at once. "Smart Nick go away and come back with something our people want." he commanded. So Nick went away trudging back to the Land of Bright Ideas and he was very very sad. When he got home he sat by the fire and had lemonade and crumpets and then went back to work. He worked all alone for a hundred days, when suddenly he had a bright idea.

If his box of tricks could let the people of Afreeka have a Window on the World surely the King of Afreeka wouldn't be angry and his subjects would be more skilled & knowledgeable than the other tribes of the world, this would make them popular, which in turn would make them rich, which in turn would make them attractive, which in turn would let them get married and have children, which in turn would them very very very happy!

Soon he went back and showed the King of Afreeka his Magic Box of Tricks with its Window on the World and the King jumped for joy and danced around his palace doing a jig with his soldiers until his crown fell off. "You really are Smart Nick!" he said "You listened to my Marketing Wizard and look what you've done, you can marry my daughter the Princess." This made Smart Nick very very happy too and so Smart Nick, The Princess, The King and the people of Afreeka lived happily ever after.


  1. Clever. The real story behind $100 laptops is anything but a fairy tale.

    The One Laptop Per Child is a great idea, but was sabotaged by Intel because Intel couldn't make a profit from it. Duh. I wrote 2 articles about it (search my site for "laptop")

    (Found you via Blogrush by the way...)

  2. Thanks for commenting please feel free to post your links in the commentary here I'm sure people would like to read them. Nic to know Blogrush is working too :)