Big Dreams and Audacious Goals Attract Amazing People

In his Big Think Edge interview, Salman Khan discusses the imaginative steps that led him to creating one the world's finest online education platforms


Big Think Edge is a video-driven platform that catalyzes happiness and performance in professional environments by cultivating leadership, creativity, and self-knowledge. Learn more about Big Think Edge.

As a fellow graduate of Harvard Business School, I know Salman Khan is well-versed in turning good ideas into potential business opportunities. When it came to Khan Academy, however, the online education platform offering free lessons in everything from algebra to art history, Khan dreamt bigger.

We know that as a result of a psychological phenomenon called the Einstellung effect, executing a familiar solution blinds us to other, more creative possibilities. But new problems present new opportunities.

Thanks to his training in software development, Khan didn't need to rely on outside talent to begin building prototypes of Khan Academy. And once a basic scaffolding of his vision was created, he credits his longstanding devotion to science fiction as much as his business acumen for allowing him to imagine the possibilities of what Khan Academy might become. He explains in his Edge interview:

"Instead of it just being a one-off collection of videos or a one-off software app that I tried to do as a venture-backed business, maybe [Khan Academy] could be the next Stanford, the next Harvard, this new type of institution that people haven't visualized quite yet, but it could help empower millions or billions of students for the next 500 years.

And as soon as you start thinking on those scales, you go after a bigger problem and you phrase things differently and, frankly, you inspire more people. More amazing people are going to want to be part of that audacious goal."

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