I took the scenic route.
My origin story begins with a Commodore 64 that I wasn’t allowed to touch, if unsupervised.
I was in first grade. We were living with my mother’s aunt and her family. I called her Aunt Algerine.
The computer, Commodore 64, did amazing things. By amazing things I mean we played video games on it. I recall watching my older cousins type the commands in DOS to load the games from the floppy disk. I didn’t write any code on that machine.
How did the exposure to a computer impact our lives?
My cousins, 6 and 9 years older than I, have successful careers in technology. One is a computer scientist and the other was a chemical engineer and now does stuff with data/databases. My brother, 3 years older than I, is fighting to appeal a life sentence for bank robbery. I always had a passion for math, science, and commerce. I’m a serial entrepreneur and a builder of communities. But how did I end up an aspiring computer scientist?
My opportunity to code came a few years later. It was an elementary school project. The purpose of the project was to draw a map of Indiana and build links that would lead to where we lived. There were a series of links that would dive deeper into Indiana.
State -> County -> Township -> School
Each student in the class worked on an Apple computer to build this digital map. I don’t recall using a computer to do anything other than play games before that moment. This type of things was usually done as a shadow box project.
Fast-forward to high school. I spent four years working with my counselor to find the best engineering school for me. I chose Arizona State University because it offered the four things I looked for in life after high school:
- No application fee
- Cheap tuition
- No essay/writing required to apply
- Not in Indiana
I didn’t study engineering. I took the classes I wanted and graduated with a BS in Human Communications and one class away from a minor in Business. I’d return later to acquire an MBA in Supply Chain Management, therefore not getting the minor didn’t matter.
It was during graduate school that I found my way back into tech. I spent the previous few years trying to convince developers to invest their time and energy into creating my ideas. I quickly learned that they had their own dreams and there wasn’t any time to invest in someone else’s zany ideas. Though it wasn’t until I began teaching financial literacy to children under The Elementary MBA that I found coding again.
I taught third, fourth, and fifth graders about money and how businesses make decisions at a charter school in Scottsdale, Hirsch Academy TeamCFA. I would use Khan Academy to teach math in between lessons about money.
It was there that I confirmed I didn’t want to be a school teacher.
It was there that I decided that automating the curriculum was the quickest way to get out of the classroom and back out into the world exploring.
That’s when I set out to create the Khan Academy for financial literacy. I’m still on this journey. I know there are numerous tools available to learn about money. I still plan to automate The Elementary MBA (TEMBA).
What’s your origin story? Add it to the comments.