Grassroots unconference/saturday notes


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I tried to record several discussions I was present for; all errors and omissions are my own. Mchua 16:41, 7 June 2008 (EDT)

* mchua will start transcribing grassroots unconference in this channel
<mchua> _sj_: ^^
<mchua> g: ... like the world food program - sees constituency as people without power. so what is its business plan?
<mchua> somehow, it's formulated a narrative compelling enough to people with $ that want them to be associated with world food prog.
<mchua> involved w/ the "free rice" project, a sub-aspect of world food program
<mchua> I think that joining with free rice & world food would be good, b/c implications of joining with this charitable incentive is huge
<mchua> how to become... the world's charitable marketing - free rice doing well b/c it fits that niche
<mchua> they'd probably be interested in working to distribute xos
<mchua> could imagine kids working on fancy computers saying "I'm helping kids without these"
<mchua> sj: can find some way to connect directly w/ kids
<mchua> sj: free rice does immediate gratification well
<mchua> m: elise's project is doing "free rice" for other projects
<mchua> sj: there's more to it than just the model
<mchua> sj: we should find a way to connect with free rice even as elise is setting things up
<mchua> also connected w/ save the children - umbrella orgs
<mchua> cd: i think the important thing is not just to focus on education
<mchua> olpc could increase their value proposition and focus on capabilities of the connected device
<mchua> not necc. just useful for edu
<mchua> could use for teachers, adults, making appointments...
<mchua> it's important to extract these scenarios
<mchua> of course, it's an edu tool!
<mchua> it's also a laptop
<mchua> that would increase the value system
<mchua> mc: that would turn olpc into a laptop manufacturer
<mchua> cd: different from onw how?
<mchua> s/onw/now
<mchua> m: stated goals are different
<mchua> g: talking about supermarket caught in tsunami
<mchua> (note: not sure where that came from?)
<mchua> (missed something, most likely)
<mchua> this is a total marketing promotion in a way that's focused
<mchua> she works with a guy named anders jones
<mchua> who is a marketer student @ stanford, started students for tech age 15
<mchua> have people in marketing given thought on how to generate a story around olpc?
<mchua> cd: olpc doesn't have a marketing team, it's nn
<mchua> sj: disagrees
<mchua> g: maybe set up a remote community in some place for storytelling
<mchua> (taking typing break for a moment)
<mchua> (back)
<mchua> g: if you're putting a story together, you can put it together back another way
<mchua> sj: someone has offered to do marketing
<mchua> (I missed the name)
<mchua> there is a constellation of superstars who'd like to help
<mchua> but there doesn't mean there's a strong overarching publicity campaign
<mchua> there's certainly room for that
<mchua> w/ a proect like this, you could get a dozen people who w/o even strong olpc connections
<mchua> would promote
<mchua> g: in marketing terms again, if you do a brand analysis of olpc
<mchua> what comes to mind, what does olpc mean to people?
<mchua> I don't believe it means the computer that is being built for the low power market
<mchua> don't think it has that connotatoin at all?
<mchua> cd: what is it then?
<mchua> g: kind of a do-good, expression of the magical internet
<mchua> expanding education to the world
<mchua> in terms of product, it's education... people watching, try to focus on who you're trying to market to
<mchua> not a question of having a celeb - it's a question of sealing a message to brand identification
<mchua> have a remote village, have a celeb travel there and emphasize how remote it is
<mchua> cd: what part of the public perception would you address
<mchua> g: one thing is the frontline program @ wgbh
<mchua> documentary team following celebs in "the wilds of the blue mountains"
<mchua> sj: I look at 2 things - from a brand perspective, there's this thing you think of edu, macines
<mchua> we're pushing out into those frontiers so others can fill in the niches
<mchua> we don't need clock stopping hot technology
<mchua> g: so what are you going to teach communities?
<mchua> they have an xo, now what?
<mchua> sj: first, they're connected to other communities, no longer isolated
<mchua> fs: if they have networking
<mchua> sj: sure, so far they all do
<mchua> (wait, misheard - some places do not)
<mchua> cd: the important thing is local mesh, not global internet
<mchua> <talking about simple, low-bandwidth, intermittent connectivity solutions>
<mchua> don't assume everyone needs hi-speed wifi
<mchua> fs: there's a gap between "teacher running w/ usb stick fake un-internet" and "high speed wifi"
<mchua> kids need to understand that computers are for communication
<mchua> part of that is understanding themselves as part of a bigger community - peru, the global learning network
<mchua> one thing I"m working on is college students penpalling w/ students in peru
<mchua> (wrists hurt; stopping)
<_sj_> returning
<mchua> (back! rabi from ole nepal talking about community manager positoin for nepal)
* nlee ( has joined #olpc-groups
<mchua> responsibilities include holding events
<mchua> have to work v. closely with developers
<mchua> tha'ts something we have to debate - what % of the comm. mgr time should e spent as a dev, what % community
<mchua> I think it should have developing w/ the community aspects
<mchua> point person for giving feedback - should be... I don't know if it make sense for point person to be a developer
<mchua> (rabi speaking)
<mchua> (from ole nepal)
<mchua> cd: (christoph) communication media - blogs, websites - what's the most effective way to communicate?
<mchua> for example, when you have universities and they have interested contributors, we assume students working for 4 months
<mchua> is there a helpful resource to point them to saying "hey, here are problems, it would be nice if they could do/work-on that."
<mchua> same thing that mel and I talked about the other day
<mchua> one reason I want to get the ffedback loop is that people can use it as a reality check
<mchua> on what's been happening
<mchua> and thy can use it as a reality check for how people are uisng laptpos
<mchua> so they'll stop worrying about politics
<mchua> and do things
<mchua> avoine: (transcribing a grassroots unconference conversation between rabi and christph, from nepal & austria respectively)
<mchua> rabi: a system for requests is needed - something that can break requests for things-to-do up into categories
<mchua> so you can better see duplicates
<mchua> cd: it's important to be able to merge the queues... feature requests, rt tickets, they all go into different systems
<mchua> we need one system where it just presents open problems
<mchua> so people who don't necessairly want to get involved with all the details of the community and to contribute to emails
<mchua> you need a place they can just go and grab tasks
<mchua> rk: that's what the community manager should do
<mchua> if we had local students with spare time, the c.m. would give them things to od
<mchua> cd: we discussed a pen pal program between g1g1 donors and recipients this morning
* h01ger has quit (
* h01ger ( has joined #olpc-groups
<mchua> mel: <long spiel on thankless work I'll type up later>
<mchua> cd: look at mechanical turk - many small, tiny-$ jobs
<mchua> *interruption! donuts!*
<mchua> (while people discuss donut flavors... transcription backlog)
<mchua> mel: problem is that this work of creating good project/problem statements and keeping them up to date is not recognized, at least not in proportion to what it enables
<mchua> we value code contributions more than the contributions that enable that code to get written
<mchua> also, the people who can usually write these good problem statements bridge both arenas - they can speak educator, they can speak hacker
<mchua> and now we say they're spending their time in the gray zone where their contributions don't get recognized in either realm
<mchua> i.e. they're spending time doing these problem statements = time not spent teaching, time not spent hacking/producing-code... i'm not surprised nobody wants the job!
<mchua> cd: mechanical turk
<mchua> cd: what if there was a rating system for how much work you do?
<mchua> sj: ok, here's something I've been thinking about for a long time
<mchua> what if there was a system *goes to whiteboard*
<mchua> *people in room looking at monitor with mechanical turk on the screen*
<mchua> *commentary on interface*
<mchua> *sj draws up grandiose plan on whiteboard*
<mchua> the nutshell version of sj's drawings is that he proposes a system that aggregates your contributions on the internet at large
<mchua> "here's what I've done on X network, Y network, Z network"
<mchua> _sj_:
<mchua> sj: everyone write 3 project descriptions now!
<mchua> mel: this is a nontrivial thing - i estimate the page took me ~2 manhours to make
<mchua> sitting down with chris ball, hearing about what needed to be done, writing a first pass, going back and forth with chris on what needed doing etc
<mchua> just saying it looks like a small and simple thing, but it's nontrivial (to make it *look* small and simple - that's the point, if it's a good problem statement there'll be a clear route to success)
<mchua> _sj_:

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