Khan Academy founder Salman Khan explains how always dreaming big and setting audacious goals got him to where he is today.
Salman Khan is an American educator and founder of the Khan Academy, a free online education platform and not-for-profit organization. He has produced over 2200 popular videos elucidating a wide spectrum of concepts, mainly focusing on mathematics and the sciences, in his home. His official channel, 'Khan Academy' has, as of March 2011, attracted more than 45 million views.
Set audacious goals
Salman Khan: In the early stages of Khan Academy, the passion and the ability to just execute directly were super important. Because my background was in software I didn't have to kind of get other people or get funding to start building prototypes. And sometimes I get obsessed with things and it allowed me to create just a ton of content and give it a critical scale so that it could be useful. It has a critical breath.
As Khan Academy then grew and became — more people knew about it, I think it was important — and I attribute a lot to just reading science fiction books and thinking on larger scales in the next four years or 10 years or even my lifetime — is, what could this be? If we're really allowed to dream, what could this be? It feels like we're at an inflection point in history. And when you're at these inflection points, there's new opportunities and there's new problems, but it's often the case that you can take advantage of the new opportunities, the technological opportunities, to solve the new problems.
And I had this lens of, well, maybe this Khan Academy thing 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 this 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.
And I think because Khan Academy didn't aspire to just to be a business, so to speak, we have been able to attract some of the very best talent around the planet for this mission. And so I think that's kind of the — you know, execute, build something, make it real, articulate a big bold vision, but one that people can believe that is possible because of the traction that you've just had, and then leverage those pieces to get just the best people around you that you can. And I think if you're able to pull that off, then you're off to the races.
In this Big Think Edge preview, Khan Academy founder Salman Khan explains how always dreaming big and setting audacious goals got him to where he is today. Ambition gets other people excited in your ideas. That's why it's vital to always keep reaching for the stars.
Ask very silly questions to spur very serious innovation.
- To get really innovative solutions to complex problems, you need to abandon logic, says Dan Seewald.
- Asking provocative and ridiculous 'what if?' questions pushes us down lateral paths of thinking versus the vertical or logical path. The latter approach is practical but it doesn't break new ground.
- Breaking with tradition through lateral thinking allows us to solve really serious problems, from climate change to political turmoil. Or, as Dan Seewald explains, it could just help you solve all your laundry headaches.
If you don't want to know anything about your death, consider this your spoiler warning.
- For centuries cultures have personified death to give this terrifying mystery a familiar face.
- Modern science has demystified death by divulging its biological processes, yet many questions remain.
- Studying death is not meant to be a morbid reminder of a cruel fate, but a way to improve the lives of the living.
When it comes to sniffing out whether a source is credible or not, even journalists can sometimes take the wrong approach.
- We all think that we're competent consumers of news media, but the research shows that even journalists struggle with identifying fact from fiction.
- When judging whether a piece of media is true or not, most of us focus too much on the source itself. Knowledge has a context, and it's important to look at that context when trying to validate a source.
- The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.