Monday, April 22, 2013

The Faith Restoring Story of Khan Academy

Speaking at the LSE on 10 April 2013, Khan Academy founder Salman Khan provides a lively, entertaining and touching account of his journey. (The story of Khan Academy's founding - how it started off as remote math tutoring sessions for his cousin Nadia, etc. - has been available on Youtube since TED 2011, but as someone who prefers audio/podcast to video, this is the first time I've got to hear Khan speak. And, in these rather depressing times, the story was indeed inspiring.). 

From the section recounting Khan Academy's earliest days - when he still had his day job:

  • One parent - whose children had learning disability (and Khan's videos were the only things they were connecting to) - wrote in to Salman saying "our entire family prays for your family each night". "Just for a little context, I was a hedge fund manager at that time!" :-)

  • When Ann (Ann Doerr, wife of venture capitalist John Doerr, who'd sent in Khan Academy's largest donation  - of $10,000.) asked how I was supporting myself and my family, I answered, "I'm not." She nodded, and we parted ways. About 15 minutes later, as I was parking in my driveway, I got a text message from Ann saying: You need to support yourself. I am sending a wire for $100,000.... Two months later I start getting a series of text messages from Ann (which by now, I have started to take very seriously!): At the Aspen Ideas Festival...Bill Gates on stage, last 5 minutes talking about Khan Academy." (Soon thereafter, The Gates Foundation became one of Khan Academy's largest donors.)
Download the full LSE podcast from here, and GET INSPIRED. (The least feeling you will come away after listening is that there's hope yet - thanks to  Entrepreneurs like Khan and the Silicon Valley way!)