Three Lessons Ed-Tech Startups Can Learn From Innovator Sal Khan

PW-41-1.PNGNot surprisingly, there are many things that we can learn from Sal Khan, founder of the extremely successful ed-tech non-profit Khan Academy.

Recently, I saw a video interview with Sal Khan.  It was interesting, because Sal touched upon three things that really resonated with me:

1.The Importance of Persistence

Ed-tech startup journeys take time. You can spend months (really, years) working on something, and ultimately, have it not work out. That’s just part of the risk that comes with ed-tech entrepreneurship. It can be difficult to continue persevering when things aren’t working out quite the way you had hoped, but sometimes, persistence does really pay off. Sal describes how he was turned down by funder after funder until he was about to give up, when he suddenly received an investment out of the blue that completely transformed his startup journey.  

2. The Power of Connection

When it comes to teaching and learning, there’s nothing more important (I think!) than the connection that exists between a teacher and a student. Sal talks about how his life was transformed by a few wonderful teachers who really listened to him and encouraged him to pursue his passions. As ed-tech entrepreneurs, we need to keep this connection at the heart of our design work, because the objective when developing any new technology tool or product should be to help facilitate and support this core connection between teachers and students.

3. The Joy of Learning

And finally, Sal talks about how important it is to cultivate curiosity and a joy of learning. In the video, he’s talking specifically about the students that he’s worked with, but I think this is a true statement for ed-tech startup founders, too. Launching a startup is an amazing learning experience, but sometimes it can also be frustrating and exhausting. Having a genuine interest and curiosity in doing the day-to-day work of a startup founder, in learning new skills, and in trying new strategies, will really help you persevere if/when you hit any rough patches along your startup journey.

Here’s the full interview with Sal if you want to check it out.

Also, you can read more about Sal Khan and his startup journey in these Education Week articles:

What do you think? Let me know @professorword on Twitter.

Until next time,


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