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  • Charlie: Sal Khan is here.

  • He's the founder of Khanacademy.org.

  • He provides 10-minute tutorials on the web

  • on everything from math to science to finance.

  • The Harvard MBA and former hedge fund manager

  • has become an online teaching sensation.

  • His videos have been viewed

  • more than 50 million times worldwide.

  • They have been translated to more than 7 different languages.

  • Here is a look.

  • Sal: So the hypotenuse is now going to be 5.

  • This animal's fossils are only found

  • in this are of South America,

  • a nice clean band here,

  • and this part of Africa.

  • We could integrate over the surface.

  • The notation usually is a capital sigma.

  • National assembly, they create the

  • Committee of Public Safety,

  • which sounds like a very nice committee.

  • Some cells have a membrane around the DNA.

  • This is called a nucleus.

  • Notice, this is an aldehyde and it's an alcohol.

  • Start differentiating into effector and memory cells.

  • A galaxy!

  • Hey, there's another galaxy!

  • And for dollars is their 30 million

  • plus the 20 million dollars from

  • the American manufacturer.

  • If these things end up being worth 30 cents on the dollar,

  • let's say that we go to some future state

  • and these really are worth only 30 cents,

  • the most that the private investor loses

  • in this situation is his 7 dollars.

  • If this does not blow your mind, then you have no emotion.

  • Charlie: I am please to have Sal Khan

  • at this table for the first time.

  • Welcome.

  • Sal: Thanks for having me.

  • Charlie: So what am I just looking at?

  • Am I looking at someone who's interested in everything

  • and has a passion to tell others?

  • Sal: I think so.

  • Yeah, that's what I've turned into. (laughing)

  • Charlie: What have you turned into?

  • Sal: I've turned into someone, I guess from my point of view,

  • who gets to, I started off with the math

  • and the physics and the science and the economics,

  • stuff that I knew fairly well from my background.

  • Now I've turned into someone who gets to learn

  • pretty much anything and distill it down and teach it.

  • Charlie: You're learning new things,

  • assimilating them, distilling them,

  • and then teaching them.

  • Sal: Yeah.

  • Charlie: So give me the background that you have.

  • Sal: As you mentioned, 5-6 years ago

  • I was an analyst at a hedge fund.

  • Before that my background was in software

  • then I went to business school, did the hedge fund thing.

  • I started in Boston, and while I was in Boston

  • I had family visiting me from New Orleans.

  • This was right after my wedding.

  • This was in 2004.

  • My cousin, Nadia, I remember we were waiting

  • for the fireworks over the Charles River

  • and we were just killing time

  • and I started giving her these brain teasers,

  • the type of brain teasers you'd give

  • at a software interview for like 25-year-old engineerings.

  • Most people just disengage,

  • "I don't want to deal with that.

  • "I don't want to think right now."

  • But Nadia, here's a 12-year-old, she was like,

  • "Don't tell me the answer.

  • "I need to figure it out.

  • "Okay, can they see each other?"

  • All these type of things about the brain teaser.

  • I was pretty impressed.

  • I started telling her and her mother,

  • "Hey, you should think about

  • "becoming an engineer" or whatever.

  • The next morning, her mom, [Noshradandie]

  • told me, thanks for believing in Nadia

  • but she's actually being tracked into

  • a slower math class, the non-advanced track.

  • I said that's impossible, the stuff she was doing

  • yesterday is way beyond her.

  • She's clearly a bright girl.

  • She's like no, I think she did bad on a placement exam.

  • So when Nadia woke up, I said, "What's going on?"

  • She said, no I ...

  • Apparently she had bombed units,

  • converting gallons to quarts and all that.

  • I said, Nadia, I understand how that can be confusing,

  • but the stuff you were doing last night

  • was way deeper and way harder than units.

  • If you're willing to work with me,

  • when you go back to New Orleans

  • and I'll stay here in Boston,

  • I think we can get you past whatever hurdles you have.

  • She agreed and they went back to New Orleans.

  • Every day after work I would come home

  • and we'd get on the speakerphone

  • for about half an hour, an hour,

  • and I'd start working with her.

  • It worked out.

  • Two or three months, she got up to speed,

  • went ahead of the curve.

  • Then I started tutoring her brothers,

  • other family members.

  • Then you fast forward to 2006.

  • About 18 months have gone by.

  • I was venting to a buddy,

  • I was like, "This is a lot of fun I'm having."

  • By this time I had moved out to California.

  • I was like, "This is a lot of fun.

  • "It's really satisfying, but ..."

  • The first time you give a lecture

  • on least common multiples, it's kind of fun.

  • The second time, it's still fun; a little more polished.

  • The third time it starts to get a little bit tiring to do!

  • He said ...

  • Charlie: Do it one time.

  • Sal: Do it one time.

  • Why don't you put it on YouTube?

  • I said, "No, YouTube's for dogs on scateboards.

  • "It's not for serious learning."

  • Charlie: (laughing) That's true.

  • Sal: Once I got over the fact that it wasn't my idea,

  • I decided to give it a shot.

  • I put it up there.

  • Charlie: Now, which one did you put up there?

  • Sal: It was either Least Common Multiple

  • or Greatest Common Divisor, I forget.

  • I think I did them on the same day, that first day.

  • The cool thing about YouTube is you an sort by upload time.

  • So that first video you'd shown,

  • that was literally, that was one of the early videos.

  • I kind of cringed.

  • I was like, "Oh, that's when I wasn't using

  • "the fancy HD stuff."

  • Yeah, it was on one of those topics.

  • Charlie: And the reaction?

  • Sal: You know what?

  • I had about 20-30 up there, my cousins' initial reaction,

  • and I joke about this but it's true,

  • is that they preferred me on YouTube than in person!

  • Charlie: (laughing)

  • Sal: I'll take that for what it's worth.

  • It made sense.

  • Charlie: You need not come to the next family gathering.

  • Just send us ...

  • Sal: (laughs) Yeah, Sal can be annoying sometimes.

  • Charlie: When did it become Khan Academy?

  • Sal: You fast forward, it soon became clear,

  • maybe in 6 months, even from the beginning

  • random people started watching it,

  • but then fast forward 6 months,

  • I probably had 50 or 100 videos,

  • and I started getting these random letters

  • from people, just on YouTube.

  • If you look on YouTube, people aren't always

  • that civil on YouTube in terms of what they write.

  • For the most part, everyone was writing,

  • "Hey, thanks a bunch, this helped me."

  • Some people would write,

  • "I was going to flunk calculus until I got this video."

  • Or "I wasn't going to become an engineer

  • "because I couldn't handle the course load

  • "until I saw that video on vectors"

  • or whatever it might be.

  • It started to dawn on me that this could be

  • more than a hobby, although it stayed a hobby right then.

  • I think the first time Khan Academy came about,

  • I think it was 2007, I had decided to set up

  • my own domain name, and so have another way

  • of viewing the videos.

  • I also started working on the software

  • for my cousins so I could give them problems

  • and give them exercises, and I put it all on that site.

  • I was working for a hedge fund

  • called Wohl Capital and my boss was Dan Wohl

  • and I said, "Well, I'm Sal Khan

  • "so I'll call it Khan Academy." (laughs)

  • Charlie: (laughs) What are your dreams?

  • What do you want it to be?

  • Sal: I used to be kind of quiet about this dream

  • because it seemed kind of like a crazy thing.

  • Even last year it would have seemed crazy

  • for me to say what I'm about to say,

  • but now, I think there's a potential for-

  • Online learning, no one takes it ser-,

  • They take it seriously, they think it has value,

  • but online learning is here

  • and your prestigious universities are over here.

  • They're not in the same conversation.

  • I'm hoping Khan Academy can turn into an institution

  • that, I don't want to say rivals, but it's

  • talked in the same conversation as some of these things

  • that have been around for hundreds of years.

  • Charlie: In the places where you can learn.

  • Sal: In the places where you can learn

  • at a very high level.

  • So you can start at arithmetic but you can go deep

  • and it's a real learning experience,

  • it's not something superficial.

  • Charlie: So how many people work for you now?

  • Sal: We have 8 people.

  • We just have 8, we had 6 if you'd asked last week.

  • Charlie: So eventually you will give diplomas?

  • Sal: That's an open question.

  • If you focus just on K through 12,

  • and our video content goes well beyond K through 12,

  • but just on K through 12, right now what really matters

  • is some of these standardized tests,

  • the SATs, the AP tests, high school diplomas,

  • kids are getting into Harvard based

  • on just being home schooled right now.

  • We see our real niche right now on the learning side.

  • Standard education's really learning and credentialing.

  • We're going to tackle the learning as well as we can.

  • In the future, we'll see what we can do

  • on the credentialing side.

  • Charlie: You've got a remarkable group of people

  • who believe what you're doing; people from Google,

  • Bill Gates and a lot of others have cited you

  • for what you have done and what you are doing.

  • Is there any pushback from what you have accomplished?

  • Does anybody say, "Yes, but"?

  • Sal: My sense of the pushback is

  • sometimes these articles get written where

  • the article itself is fairly balanced and reasonable,

  • but they'll title it like "Will Khan Academy

  • "Demolish Traditional Education?"

  • Charlie: Where was this?

  • Sal: Oh, I don't know, I'm exaggerating.

  • There was one that recently came out,

  • will it flip the classroom, or turn education upside down

  • or something like that.

  • There are these headlines that are very

  • attention-grabbing.

  • I think when someone reads that, they've become

  • cynical about these panacea solutions

  • to a big problem, so they might say oh, no,

  • there's no way that something like this

  • could solve all of our problems.

  • For the most part, I think, when people

  • understand what they're doing,

  • we haven't gotten a lot of resistance.

  • Charlie: Who are the people who are watching?

  • Sal: That's the surprising thing, who's watching.

  • When I started off, it was for my cousins.

  • I kind of just made them for my cousins,

  • they wanted to learn, I was there as kind of

  • their big brother type figure, so I was motivating them.

  • Still, when I make the videos, I'm kind of like,

  • "Well, if I wanted to learn this subject,

  • "what would I want, how would I want it