to developing the resources of the Khan Academy, although he was still working from his wardrobe. While the beginnings may have been modest, Khan had an immense vision from quite early on. In 2007, when he was filing tax paperwork, he was asked to detail his mission statement as a not-for-profit company. “I could have written, ‘I want to make a repository of videos and exercises on the web for free,’ but a mission is something you should chase,” he says. “So I wrote: ‘A free world-class education, for anyone, anywhere’.”
Khan explains: “We wanted a mission statement on purpose that we could never say, ‘We are done’.”
Khan’s growing team includes several staff lured from lucrative roles in business, including his school maths rival and college roommate, Shantanu Sinha, in the role of president and chief operating officer, and school implementation lead Sundar Subbarayan. “Usually when people come to a start-up there’s a promise of riches at the end of it, but here it’s world-changing impact, not personal wealth,” says Subbarayan.
That Salman Khan would aspire to such lofty educational goals was not a given. He was born in New Orleans, in Louisiana state, to a Bangladeshi father and Indian mother whose marriage was arranged. He has joked that the attractions of the state for his extended family are straightforward: “It had spicy food, humidity, giant cockroaches, and a corrupt government”—much like their homeland. Missed out on subjects at school? Interested in learning something new? The internet is opening up education to everyone, and now you can be taught by the best educators from the best universities in the world, free. Most won’t get you an actual degree, but they will expand your brain. Some ways to access this form of education are: