Khan Academy: Sal Khan

How I Built This


Most of the products and services we've talked about on the show have been innovative or disruptive in some way. But some of them and you've heard me say this before have fundamentally changed the way we live I mean lift AIRBNB starbucks. Shop Affi-. wayfair. These brands have transformed the way that many of us shop and travel and work. But every now, and then a founder comes along that seems to want to do something even more ambitious, even more transformative like remember. Pat. Brown, he founded impossible foods to create meet out of plants meet. So meet like that even the most die-hard carnivores would want to eat it. Pat Wants to put a stop to meet production period because of the damage, it's doing to the planet and essentially and I don't think I'm overstating this. He set out from day one to change the world. But still. Pat Brown stands to make a lot of money from his company same with most of the founders who've been on this show and I don't think any of them are motivated primarily to make money but it is part of the story they make a product or offer service, sell it to you and me, and they also get rich perfectly fine. But what about someone who makes a product or offers a service that is equally transformational maybe even more so but makes it one hundred percent free To do that, you have to make personal sacrifices starting by earning a lot less money. which is just part of what makes Sal Khan. So incredibly remarkable. Over the past twelve years, he's built Khan Academy into a powerhouse, a massive online learning platform that offers free tutorials to anyone anywhere. And from the very beginning South sided, his academy would be a nonprofit that it should never be tempted to compromise on its values. But before he launched Khan, Academy Sal didn't anticipate any of this. He was just trying to help a younger cousin with her sixth grade math lessons at the time he was working for a hedge fund. But from those early days of doing one on one to toils sal gradually built a platform that offers hundreds of classes in dozens of languages. Nearly thirty million people use Khan Academy. Every month to learn math science arts even sat prep all four free and Khan. Academy has inspired the launch of many other online learning platforms, but many of them are for profit operations that charge money. But we'll get to all that moment first. Let's back up just a little bit sal Khan grew up in metairie Louisiana his mom was from India and his dad was from Bangladesh and the marriage ended when sal was pretty young. My parents. Had issues and so they separated when I was probably about eighteen months old two years old and then I had really never seen my father and I saw once four an evening when I was thirteen and then he passed away the next year so it was really might. mother who raised us as as a single mother. While was there a community of South Asian families in imagery? Growing up. Yeah my you know when my parents separated. We actually live with my young at the time they were in their twenty s, and so they all were kind of like father figures and almost like older siblings to to me as well and and a lot of ways they were not your stereotypical you know. Just come to the US study. Get a job save money kind of prudent immigrant story they were. They were much more embracing of New Orleans. Culture. And I would say they're the most new ORLEAN South Asians. You will ever find it in your life. I had a very colorful childhood. You know late night parties, people, singing, and dancing. For me it felt like a I remember my third birthday that my uncles got a belly dancer. I still remember Habiba you know So it was definitely a different type of childhood, but it was a in some ways a really rich one. So what did your mom do for a living? The first job that I remember her having she she was the person who takes the change out of the vending machine at the at the local hospital actually the hospital where I was born and she took me to work a couple of times 'cause she didn't have childcare and I thought at the time I remember watching her do that. I think it was like the coolest job on earth because you have the key that you can open up the vending machine and like quarters just pour out of it. So she did that for a little bit and then essentially was a cashier at a series of convenience stores is kind of doing you know one minimum wage job after another and then I was in high school she had remarried her my Stepdad at the time were able to. Kind of cobble together to get a a small convenience store in. Your book you write. Louisiana was as close to South Asia as the United States could get. It's spicy food. Giant cockroaches in the corrupt government which is both funny but somewhat true true. I guess right I mean. You grew up at a time when. Like David Duke was the. The representative in steel her. The part of Mary where we had our store, it was called seminole convenience store on Seminole Avenue, and it's called a parliamentary called on that was kind of the heart of David Dukes base. So to speak I remember in a right outside of our our store across the street was the largest David Duke for president signing I've ever seen and so it was A. You know the the folks who lived in the neighborhood who were frankly know Super David Duke supporters in some ways it was lucky. This is pre nine eleven They didn't really know what to make of my family at at the time We've had a few conversations I remember with people the store where they they openly told us that they were trying to decide whether we were white or the N. word to you know we were confusing them but you know growing up I was the only Brown kid in in the classroom. But I never felt in school at all like folks were in any way biased or racist against me. If anything I have to give the the school system to Jefferson parish school system, a lot of credit you know I think a lot of what I am today is because they gave me opportunities there were teachers that believed in me. I had a really good friend circle So so I have no. You, know I I don't feel like it was a a tough childhood.

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