When We Said OLPC Should Act Like A Tech Company, We Didn't Mean Microsoft

from the bureaucracy dept

In the latest blow to the OLPC project, the organization's security chief, Ivan Krstić, has resigned over philosophical disagreements with the organization's direction. The nub of the dispute seems to be chairman Nicholas Negroponte's belief that now that it's out of its startup phase, the project needs to be run "more like Microsoft." Krstić complains that the organization's previous president, Walter Bender, was demoted, and Krstić was asked to report to "a manager with no technical or engineering background who was put in charge of all OLPC technology." Now as we've said before, it's healthy that the OLPC organization is beginning to realize that they face many of the same challenges as for-profit technology companies, and might be more successful if it adopted some of their methods. But bringing in non-technologists for senior leadership positions and adopting a rigidly hierarchical org chart might be taking things a little too far. Culture matters in technology companies, and it probably matters even more in an organization like OLPC that depends on having employees willing to go above and beyond the call of duty for relatively modest pay. More orderly management is a good thing, but not if you cause your best people to jump ship in the process.

Filed Under: non-profit, olpc, startups
Companies: olpc

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    Hellsvilla, 21 Mar 2008 @ 9:27pm

    There's that foundation again...

    The foundation of the company is charity. Nicholas is trying to change the very foundation of the company, and is watching the walls shake and start falling. He doesn't understand why, because he doesn't even realize just what OLPC means to its own employees.

    Or perhaps its the employees who don't understand that OLPC was never about charity to Nicholas at all. Maybe to him it was always about finding a highly profitable niche.

    We won't know until Negroponte himself resigns. (which should be soon...)

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Techdirt Logo Gear
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.