12 2 / 2013
Until now! We were thrilled last week when free lunches started at our down-to-earth startup. Huge thanks to Ben Kamens and Matt Wahl for making dreams of lunchtime efficiency and bonding over daily free meals a reality.
There are no pictures to share thus far because we are so excited to be eating free meals, there’s no time to be photographing. And when we’re done eating, there’s nothing left to photograph.
While we have drinks and snacks in the office, we’re super grateful for this food boost. In Silicon Valley software start-ups, free meals are the norm - mainly to encourage productivity and camaraderie in teams. We are in this boat but more importantly, this perk helps ensure that we are recruiting the most amazing software developers.
Want to work with us at Khan Academy? Apply at www.khanacademy.org/careers.
14 9 / 2012
Today we say farewell to the last of our awesome interns. We are sad to see them go, as they have been such an incredible addition to our team, and led to all sorts of amazingness including our new CS platform, international landing pages, and a new community forum.
As yet another sign of how remarkable they are, Dylan wrote a blog post capturing what he did, and why he thought his Khan Academy internship experience was pretty sweet…
Check it out at: http://dylanv.org/2012/09/14/the-khan-academy-internship-experience/
14 9 / 2012
While growing up, Haagen-Dazs was my mom’s ultimate dessert treat - the delicious decadence of velvety smooth ice cream. Mmm… So as an avid ice cream lover myself, I was pretty psyched when I heard that my fellow teammate Jason was offering Haagen-Dazs sessions anytime someone needed ‘em. Jason is a cool guy, so ice cream time with Jason seemed like a pretty sweet deal. Who doesn’t need ice cream therapy?
I soon discovered that it wasn’t actually ice cream time…but rather, Jason, our Lead Designer, was offering ”Hired Gun for Design” sessions or HGDS for short. In these sessions, anyone on the team can schedule a quick session with Jason to get his expert design perspective on product issues. ”H-G-D-S” didn’t really roll off the tongue for developer Marcia Lee, so she dubbed them Haagen-Dazs sessions, and the name stuck.
All ‘n all, Jason IS pretty awesome and the name has permeated our culture fabric so well, Shantanu and Sal now hold SHaagen-Dazs sessions. While the sessions induce too many ice cream cravings, they do lead to incredibly valuable brainstorming and feedback, and are now a core part to developing thoughtful learning experiences while holding true to our “Shipping beats perfection” philosophy.
So why write this blogpost?
1. For those who ask about the downsides of working at KA, this is one of ‘em. It is important to point out how often I crave ice cream while at work due to this naming. To those who want to work here, beware the evils of that.
2. Also, we thought the folks at Haagen-Dazs might be amused. Who doesn’t like hearing a little kudos from afar?
28 8 / 2012
On this, David’s last day, while eating David’s last bread, we reminisce how David captured our stomachs, and revel in the dedication and productivity of his internship experiences that have brought inspiration and entertainment to us.
He represented us proudly in Guatemala at TEDx, brought an equally amazing developer, Jamie Wong, to our team and consistently gave his 1000% to everything - from his actual work to his side projects and even to getting the foosball table priority space in the office.
Thanks David for setting the bar high and for helping to make this a great summer.
23 8 / 2012
Our interns set the bar high, and have some really great practices like blogging about their internship experiences. Here’s a post from intern Jamie Wong capturing what he’s been up to this summer: http://jamie-wong.com/2012/08/22/what-i-did-at-khan-academy/
22 8 / 2012
We were all a bit misty eyed today, and with good reason. Today’s is Ben Alpert’s last day with us this summer. We’re all quite attached to this outstanding intern, so much so that another outstanding 2nd time intern, David Hu not only did a special bread time yesterday, but also coordinated a special gift - provided as an incentive to return for a third internship.
Hipchat looked like:
Here’s a pic of the last high bensity meeting this summer near the BEN diagram.
Thanks Ben Alpert for returning this summer to increase our Bensity, step into a mentor role, organize events like FIXIT days and overall be so darn productive. We’ll miss having you here in-person and look forward to seeing you again very soon! <3
08 8 / 2012
One of our interns mentioned “It feels odd to say, but you guys are so NICE during the interview process and are even nicer in-person.” I smiled when I heard this because yes, it was odd to say, but also, it was so nice to say.
It seemed unusual to comment on because, wouldn’t you hope most folks are nice? But in my experience, there’s something about bringing people together at work that makes people feel like they are fighting over pieces of a pie, instead of uniting to make that pie grow. But what affects that?
There’s a bit of a chicken and egg question hidden in here - is it the organizational culture that makes us nice or is it something more inherent in each of us?
I would like to think that it’s both - we started with nice, fun folks who want to positively impact the world, and niceness is infectious. Sal’s personality set the pace and tone - and lucky for us, it is a fun, quirky, intellectual, innovative vibe that attracted some amazingly talented and nice folks. That vibe penetrated into our hiring process, where we hired more nice, fun, amazing people. And not surprisingly, those nice, fun people do nice, fun things like plan social outings or bake bread each week. And the more invested nice, fun people get in making work a great place, in turn it perpetuates more niceness and fun to pop up around the office. It’s a circle of niceness, you might say.
I am continually amazed by our folks here and usually comment on how smart and accomplished folks are, but perhaps the bigger distinction is how NICE these smart folks are. Craig gave us the biggest compliment when he commented that it’s rare to find a place with such super competent AND super nice people. Of course, we all blushed when Craig said that.
But really, how can you not be nice when folks are so nice? In the spirit of Sal’s 2012 Rice Commencement speech, perhaps test this theory: try being nice and see what comes back around. The world usually can use an extra smile or nice gesture. It’s like when you look at Mr. Happy, it’s hard not to smile back!
16 7 / 2012
Last Saturday, a few select developers got an inside peek into dev life at Khan Academy.
Check out a few photos capturing highlights from the afternoon:
Sal Khan, John Resig, Ben Kamens and Jason Rosoff enjoyed an informal Q&A session with our guests, who had the opportunity to get the inside scoop on burning questions. Among the hot topics included this question: How do we attract top talent when we are a nonprofit? How do we hire such talented developers? Short answer: We have an inspiring mission, we give people the scope and freedom to have major impact on millions of learners, and we pay on-par with a for-profit so folks don’t have to worry about money.
Afterwards, guests chilled with our employees enjoying ice cream sundaes and freshly baked bread courtesy Chefmaster Hu.
Thanks to those who joined us!
25 6 / 2012
Wired just released an article about the talent that’s gravitating towards Khan Academy these days. http://www.wired.com/business/2012/06/khan-academy/ We like working with ‘em a lot too.
Interested in applying for a position here? Check out our open positions: www.khanacademy.org/jobs