Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Bill Gates' favorite teacher, Sal Khan

Cool article about http://www.khanacademy.org/



[  Sal Khan, you can count Bill Gates as your newest fan. Gates is a voracious consumer of online education. This past spring a colleague at his small think tank, bgC3, e-mailed him about the nonprofit khanacademy.org, a vast digital trove of free mini-lectures all narrated by Khan, an ebullient, articulate Harvard MBA and former hedge fund manager. Gates replied within minutes. "This guy is amazing," he wrote. "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 soaking up videos, from algebra to biology. Then, several weeks ago, at the Aspen Ideas Festival in front of 2,000 people, Gates gave the 33-year-old Khan a shout-out that any entrepreneur would kill for.  ]

[  He maintains he has no interest in monetizing the operation by charging subscriptions or selling ads. "I already have a beautiful wife, a hilarious son, two Hondas, and a decent house," he declares on his website. But that hasn't stopped the inquiries, the most notable from John Doerr, the Silicon Valley venture capitalist, and his wife, Ann. Not long ago a PayPal donation on Khan's site came in for $10,000 (a typical gift is $100). Khan e-mailed the donor. Her name was Ann Doerr. He knew of a John Doerr but just assumed the name was more popular than he realized. He e-mailed her to say thanks. She suggested lunch.

When they met, Ann Doerr told him she couldn't believe hers was the largest donation. "This is, like, criminal," she said. "I love what you're doing." When he got home, he found a message from her: "There's $100,000 in the mail."

Khan is using that money to pay himself a salary. Later, he met John Doerr and has since relied on both Doerrs for entrée to others in the philanthropic establishment.  ]

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- Vasudev Ram

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