India’s $30 tablet pc, education, training and national productivity

There is a great article in the New York Times today by Thomas Friedman. It’s called “Connecting the Last Person.” Friedman’s column is syndicated, so you may find it in your daily newspaper at home. Otherwise, you can read it online at

It’s about the significance of India’s government-sponsored program, in conjunction with The Indian Institute of Technology, to get very affordable tablet computers into the hands of poor students. To help educate them and prepare them to become more valuable employees or start entrepreneurial businesses when they leave school. To help them escape the seemingly closed-loop trap of extreme poverty. To help raise the skills of the people of India and help them catch up with the growth of China. To help India become an economic powerhouse.

An interesting note is that a similar program was started in 2006 in the U.S., funded by AMD, eBay, Google, News Corporation, Red Hat, and Marvell, among others. Computers from that program have been being delivered to students in developing countries since 2007. They are available through purchases made by governments and given to the students at no cost. The program is called One Laptop per Child (OLPC). It’s run by One Laptop per Child Association, Inc.

It seems sad that we seldom see any publicity on such a fine program. And although it’s available to state and local governments in the U.S., in all the time it’s been running, only Birmingham, Alabama has used the program.

If the India’s idea of jump starting the climb out of poverty through the tools of education and training has inspired you, perhaps you’d like to investigate this some more. After reading Friedman’s article and exploring the One Laptop per Child Association, Inc. site, you could look deeper into what other programs are ongoing. You could encourage your state or local government to look into the possibilities of getting into the program for your local schools. You could consider using your technical skills to develop similar products. You could develop a community organization to promote better tools for better schools. What else can you think of?

Are we so backward that we’ll let India do better at helping their el-hi and college students than we can? Don’t we need to ensure our near-term and long-term performance and productivity by educating and training our students in the knowledge and skills that best support our businesses and economy.

Got training?

Today’s article on is “Training: Getting It When There’s No Money For It.”

Training is one of the most critical factors in human performance and productivity. Whether it is formal, classroom training, web-based training or on-the-job training done one-on-one, employees need it. They need it for orientation to their jobs when the are new to the company. They need it when they get transfers or promotions. They need it when the company reorganizes or downsizes and they end up doing more or different work. They need it to grow within their jobs and within the organization.

Without it they often find their current abilities inadequate. Far too often, they find that they had the qualifications to get the job, but lack sufficient knowledge or skills to actually perform well on that job at that particular organization.

I could go on and on about all the reasons employers should provide training. But what I wrote so far gives a long enough introduction. It’s sufficient to understand that when employers can’t or won’t find the money for training, employee performance will suffer.

Regardless of your position in the organization, whether a manager or an employee, you can seize a leadership role and find a way to get training for yourself or for those who report to you.

That’s what the article is all about. It’s about getting the training you or others need, regardless of the money issue.

I also cover the small business owner’s need to get training for himself/herself and employees in the same creative, low-cost and no cost ways.

Read the article:

Good Old Books: The Art of Public Speaking by Dale Carnegie

A few days ago, I suggested that you might want to consider public speaking as a way to gain customers, clients or subscribers if your business is a local one.

In keeping with my continuing feature of providing downloads of “good old books” that are still relevant today, I have a fine candidate related to public speaking: “The Art of Public Speaking,” by J. Berg Esenwein and Dale Carnegie. He spelled his name Carnagey at the time, but it’s the same Dale Carnegie that later wrote about winning friends and influencing people.

“The Art of Public Speaking,” originally was sold as a correspondence course. And it actually provides good ideas and training that is still used for preparing speakers.

Download it: