tv Studio 1.0 Bloomberg August 1, 2015 12:00pm-12:31pm EDT
♪ emily: imagine a global classroom were everyone can learn anything everywhere. he got his start as a hedge fund analyst. he posted a few tutorials and became so popular he made it his life's work. it now serves 26 million students, teaching everything from chemistry to computer programming, from kindergarten to college. the best part is, it is all free. joining me today is an education reinventor, sal khan of the khan
academy. you grew up in louisiana. sal: yes. she raised us as a single mother. she had a bunch of odd jobs from managing a local convenience store to at one point a woman who collected change from the vending machines. we had folks that were headed to four-year colleges. there were some kids around juvee. they were headed to college. emily: what did you want to be when you grew up? sal: i got enamored with the golden age of physics. we did not have a computer at home.
eventually i got my hands on one of these programming machines. i became obsessed with that. that became captivating. emily: you went to m.i.t. sal: my guidance counselor said where are you thinking about applying to? i said m.i.t. then he said no one has ever gone to m.i.t. from our high school. i went to a tech startup not far from where we are now. like everyone, i was plotting my retirement at age 25. then the nasdaq collapsed. i'm rethinking ok, maybe i should rethink my future in little bit.
i found an incredible mentor and boss. emily: you started tutoring your cousin on the side. how did that work? sal: in 2004 i had just gotten married. i became what i call a tiger cousin. i called her school and said i really think she should take take that placement exam. there is something here, how many kids might think they're bad at math but there's some intervention they could just run. emily: how do you end up posting the tutorials on youtube? sal: i started working with 10 or 15 cousins all over the country. i started writing practice software.
i wanted to keep track of what they were doing. one of my friends said this is cool, you should you make some of them as youtube videos. i thought it was a horrible idea, youtube is for cats playing piano, but i got over the idea that it wasn't my idea and made those videos public. it wasn't long before other people were watching. emily: tell me about the moment where you said there was another problem here and maybe this could be my full-time job. maybe this can be my mission. sal: in those early days, when i asked my cousins for feedback, they said they liked me better on youtube than in person. they like having no judgment. if there was talk of something they did not have to call me it was just on demand. the comments, this is the reason i was able to pass algebra, after leaving the military, i
was able to go back to college. this was the reason why my children are able to engage with their math class. i set it up in 2008 as a not-for-profit. by 2009 it was all that was thinking about. we figured let's give it a shot. we tried to see if can do it for real. emily: was it scary? sal: yes. our first son had just been born. you almost have to have a delusionally optimistic mindset. it was the most stressful time of my life. emily: it was not the cat playing piano. sal: nine or 10 months into it be got our first major donation.
i immediately e-mailed her, it was a $10,000 donation. if we were a physical school, i told them, you would have a building named after you. they said they loved it and wanted to hear more. they asked, how are supporting yourself? i said i'm not. she said you really need to be. maybe you can really do this. free world-class education for anyone, that is key to who we are. the support from the gates foundation, from google, and others. it is not just me anymore. we have 80 full-time employees. emily: i know eric schmidt is on
the board, how do you get these kind of people to support you? sal: a lot of the folks just found themselves using the academy. they were able to directly feel the benefit of it. emily: your employee model is no equity right? sal: everyone gets the same stock package i do. emily: at this point, do you worry about making ends meet? sal: we are a high growth tech thing that is reaching millions, but at the same time we are not for profit. we're competing with the top people like google and facebook and dropbox, all of these silicon valley companies, but we aren't able to give the stock packages. we find we give a good salary, and a good mission, than other
great things to work around, it naturally feeds on itself. emily: what about your own financial position? sal: i pinch myself every morning. the level we got to, to come in and buy a honda accord every eight years. we get to dream about what could be in the future. what is this next stage of civilization that could reach a billion students a year? i cannot imagine being in that kind of position. emily: you are hanging out with billionaires and on the same list as mark zuckerberg. how do you feel you fit in as an entrepreneur? sal: i joke that i was the poorest person on the cover of forbes. what is needed but silicon
valley is as much wealth as there is here, it is not about the wealth. what people in silicon valley care about is what are you doing to innovate. what is there to change the world. that is what makes it silicon valley. i'm still changing diapers and cleaning burp up off the floor. the other myth is that sometimes it looks like these things just happen overnight. i don't think i'm speaking just for myself. i'm sick of a lot of folks you started seeing that you hear about this success, but a string of failures get swept under the rug. it is never as clean as it looks in the outside. emily: do you think videos can replace learning in the classroom? ♪ emily: you still create most of
the videos, don't you? sal: i create a large amount of the videos. it's one of the things that keeps me happy. i've made over 4000 videos. most of what you are investing in is that software that i started with in 2005. students can go, and learn at their own pace and understand what they know or don't know. college board is the official test prep for the sat. emily: by some measure, khan academy is already one of the largest schools in the world. sal: we view this as a huge responsibility. you can imagine kids in the village and africa who gets access to a low-cost phone or tablet device. in five or 10 years that will be everywhere. every albert einstein we found, how many of them did we not find? how many got squandered because they did not learn how to read or get a good education. imagine if we could increase that by an order of magnitude, by a factor of 10 number of albert einsteins in the world.
the number of people back at the good alternative energy. this could be a force multiplier like we have never seen. emily: do you think videos can replace learning in the classroom? sal: if learning in the classroom is about information dissemination, videos can do that. in some ways, it is more bite sized and on demand. but i think it is a huge opportunity to allow the physical classroom to move up the value chain. if students get their information at their own time and pace, the physical classroom can now be used for real human interaction. emily: critics have said the videos can be repetitive. sal: i am the last person to force videos on everyone. i think they are the least important part of your education experience. if you need an explanation it is great to be able to look it up. to have projects, and get
feedback from your peers, that can be the human in the child's life and sit next to them and intervene. not just what the content gaps are, but what are the emotional needs? there was all this body of research that says your brain is trainable if you just push yourself. you can make yourself smarter. emily: you actually have a new classroom that you set up at the academy where you are testing different things. tell me about this. sal: it is always been a dream of mine before the academy. wouldn't it be great to explore with these ideas. then you can have small lab we can test these ideas. a run workaday classroom be. emily: how many kids? sal: my eldest son is one of the
emily: the u.s. spends more than any country in the world on education. $1.3 trillion a year. yet, we are 25th in math, 17th in science, 14th and reading. what is wrong? sal: if you went 50 years ago and to give me a list of the 10 most innovative companies in the world, maybe 30% would've a been american. if you do that list now, maybe 80% would be american. how can we bring that entrepreneurialship and that spirit of not being stigmatized to the future?
it doesn't mean just a gpa, it can be a portfolio of creative works, popular feedback. being a designer is a creative endeavor. show us what you have done. emily: the u.s. is the only developed country with a high percentage of top performers and a high percentage of low performers. public schools in san francisco aren't good at all. what is the problem? sal: we're living in a world right now where if we don't fix something, we will have a smaller percentage of people able to participate in these innovations. we lose our most creative engineers base in how we evaluate them in middle school. you can't solve an exponent when you are 14, we don't think you can be a doctor. emily: that is so early. sal: the example is looking at a 12-year-old and saying you can't
mix paint we don't think you can be a painter. or you are not so flexible, we don't think you can be a dancer. emily: do you think online education will replace traditional education? sal: not at all. uber might disrupt the cab industry. but i don't think that will be the case in education. i hope my own children use khan academy and other things. i hope they go to a classroom where they are able to interact with their teachers, and told to move around. not told be quiet, but to discuss. emily: decades from now, will people stop paying thousands of dollars for that m.i.t. degree? sal: even today, the return on investment unless you major in a lucrative field is suspect. if you extrapolate the growth intuition 10 or 20 years you look at --
emily: oh yeah. sal: half a million dollars. that is just not feasible. over the next 5-10 years, there will be other paths. i don't want colleges to go away, but it will be some economic discipline that forces them to locally lower tuition. emily: have you had any conversations with a university about lowering tuition? sal: i don't think it is that simple, but there tools at their disposal to drive this down that aren't there yet. i do think as there are other narratives that people can do that might be different. i think that will naturally put pressure on them. this is not just to do it online, you have things like general assembly where they accept students and take no tuition. they train them for a year, on something that society needs. then, it will be like a
recruiting model. they take 20% of your first year salary. that is a way in. if i get placed, and make six figures, i make a good income. i don't have all the answers, but there are interesting catalysts out there. emily: is there a government solution? sal: there is no equivalent for a college degree. but you can imagine someone to say that if you can prove to us that you know this set of skills at the same level as a college graduate, we will give you a credential. we will give a signal to society that you are employable along these conventions. at a very high level, this is him and the like in the graduate of harvard would want to do. that will be one of those catalysts that puts the pressure on higher education costs. when we put $200,000 for a diploma, most parents are thinking the bulk of that we are
paying for is a credential. and universities, if you think about the resources, it is going into something else, the campus, the landscaping, whatever else. it could allow everyone to compete on the learning side on equal footing, and allows innovation to happen. it allows everyone to kind of aspire for credentials that it equal weight. that could be a pretty powerful way to level the playing field. emily: if the brain is a muscle, does that mean anyone can be sal kahn, or mark zuckerberg? is there something innate about great entrepreneurs that can't be learned? sal: i don't know the absolute statement here. i do think most people on the planet are capable of mastering calculus, are capable of programming a computer or understanding genetics. i generally believe that.
if you 400 years back -- emily: can anyone start facebook? sal: i don't know for sure. some of these things, mark zuckerberg -- a couple years before or after, and he might not have started facebook. instead, he might have been a programmer for facebook. instead of going up in new orleans, if you grew up in calcutta, i might have -- you don't know what paths might have been. they do have a growth mindset. they push themselves to learn new things, but also had a lot of opportunity and at the right place at the right time. and a little dose of luck never hurt. i think mark zuckerberg would've been successful in anything that he did. i don't think anybody could be him, but i think that are a lot of people that could be mark
zuckerberg. emily: what does the classroom look like 10 years from now? sal: kids are able to create things at 10 or 20 years ago you needed an engineering degree to build. schools will be these maker spaces. they could be making art, poetry, starting businesses, who knows what might be. i hope to be doing this until the day that i die which hopefully is not for another 50 or so years. if i imagine a world in 500 years, i hope khan academy is still around. what do we need to do to make this an organization that can reach a billion students? what needs to be done? what is at stake here? i hope i keep making videos. emily: thank you so much for joining us. ♪
♪ emily: it has changed the way we watch video, redefined going viral, challenged governments, and even launched the career of justin bieber. today, youtube, now owned by google has more than 1 billion users, uploading 300 hours of video every minute. it all started a decade ago with a trip to the zoo. and one of the founders says he is not quite done changing the way we are entertained. joining me today on "studio 1.0," youtube cofounder and former ceo, chad hurley. thanks for being here. chad: thanks for having me. emily: in 2005, you va