| November 27, 2014

2014 Tech Awards: We Won The Microsoft Education Award


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Anyone who’s seen Worldreader’s headquarters here in San Francisco understands that our organization knows how to do a lot with a little. Words like “austere” and “spartan” and “converted old garage space” often come up when describing our digs. So, a few weeks ago, I was thrilled to deliver a new addition into the office that really brightens things up: our first shiny, glimmering (and heavy!) trophy acknowledging the work that Worldreader has accomplished.

As one of ten awardees of the 2014 Tech Awards, Worldreader was invited to attend about a dozen events in Silicon Valley a few week ago, which culminated with the Tech Awards Gala. That night Worldreader received the Microsoft Education award in front of 1,350 people. It was truly inspiring and a milestone achievement.

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But something else happened at the gala that was even more inspiring. About a half an hour before Worldreader was recognized as the 2014 recipient of the Microsoft Education Award, Salman Khan took the stage to speak with the crowd.

As many know, Sal is the founder of Khan Academy, overall darling of Silicon Valley, and a favorite success story from the world of social entrepreneurs. And with good reasons! As he explained last week, it all started with Sal tutoring his cousin in math over Skype back in 2007 and now over 6 million people are using Khan Academy online each month.

What many people may not know about Khan Academy is actually what brought Sal up on stage last week. Khan Academy was the recipient of the Microsoft Education Award at the 2009 Tech Awards; winner of the same trophy that now sits in Worldreader’s San Francisco office.

So, as I gaze over at our shiny new trophy sitting on top of a wobbly Ikea shelf above a nest of wires, blinking routers and modems, I can’t help but imagine where Sal put his trophy when he won it just two years after he started tutoring his cousin. If you see him, please ask!

And for now, we’ll spend more time focusing on growing Worldreader and impacting millions of people – just like Khan Academy has – then hopefully returning to the gala in 2019 to talk about our own “since we received a Tech Award” success story.