“Salman Khan, you can count Bill Gates as your newest fan”, read one the emails sent to Khan. A voracious consumer of online education, Bill Gates sent him the email expressing his happiness about the nonprofit khanacademy.org, a vast digital collection of free mini-lectures all narrated by Khan, a cheerful, lucid Harvard MBA and former hedge fund manager.
Khan Academy started of in 2006 as software Salman Khan created to help his cousins learn academic lessons. By 2009, tens of thousands of students were watching tutorials on the Khan Academy every day, making his $50-a-month web host crash. Though he was operating alone out of his home, his videos already had more views than MIT Open CourseWare and Stanford combined.
One day he got a surprising email from Ann Doerr, wife of famous VC John Doerr. She invited him for lunch where Khan told how he and his family were living off of their savings.
She agreed to invest $100,000 in The Khan Academy. After two months he got a text message from Ann which read
“At Aspen…hundreds of people in audience…Bill Gates on stage, talking about you.”
He had not even came out of this pleasant shock that about a week later he was called to Seattle to meet the second richest person on earth. The meeting was on August 22. Very nervous, he was waiting for Bill Gates in a conference room, when a minute later he walked in and was standing behind him. Khan expresses, “Yeah, just another human being. I spent the next 15 minutes talking about what I thought the Khan Academy could do and how we would do it.” He asked him a few questions and then said simply, “This is great.”
Gates becoming fan of this innovative man is reflected in his words which were published in Fortune Magazine 2 days after the meeting.
He had said, “This guy is amazing. It is awesome how much he has done with very little in the way of resources. Gates and his 11-year-old son, Rory, began watching videos, from algebra to biology.
Hailing from Bangladesh, Salman Khan lives in an undistinguished farm house off the main freeway of Silicon Valley, in a converted walk-in closet filled with a few hundred dollars’ worth of video equipment and bookshelves. He produces online lessons on math, science, and a range of other subjects that have made him a web sensation and his site the most popular educational site on the web.
Today Khan Academy playlist has a total of 1,630 tutorials and are now seen an average of 70,000 times everyday generating 18 million page views worldwide. The free tutorials are voiced by Salman Khan himself without appearing in any. You can only see his explanations and diagrams on an electronic blackboard.