Why I started Brilliant.org

I had a sort of anti-tiger mom. I was a “high-achieving” student in the conventional sense, but my parents didn’t believe in optimization of their kids’ abilities, which is their way of saying that they didn’t have the money to fund tutors or send me to math camp.

Their circumstances made me more proactive about finding and pursuing my interests, but I was trying to do this at a time when online resources weren’t as readily available. In the absence of Google and Wikipedia and MOOCs, I was relegated to whatever I could find in the library. The library is not the best place to find out that you like solving hard math problems, or programming computers. I was a motivated kid and did the best I could, but my sense of justice was wounded when my neighborhood friends got to go to schools with better teachers and more challenging textbooks. It was frustrating not to have access to resources to find out where I topped out at something I was good at, and then push myself higher.

So I was “ready” for the idea of Brilliant by the time my co-founder Silas and I met Chamath Palihapitiya in Palo Alto last year. We talked at length about how to build a company that is able to identify and develop human capital, and the impact that such a company could have. Silas and I had spent the past 2 years of our lives growing our previous company, Alltuition, which helps students and their families manage the college financial aid process, and levels the playing field for families that don’t have access to good guidance counselors. It was important to both of us to work on companies that generate economic value and have positive social impact. We were excited by the prospect of helping to create a world in which smart, driven people could be found and nurtured on a more meritocratic basis, irrespective of their geography or socioeconomic background, and we were willing to devote our lives to this vision. We wanted to create a company to help these people reach their full potential, and accelerate their ability to work on the hardest problems in STEM.

Note by Suyeon Khim
7 years, 2 months ago

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Thanks a lot for this Brilliant vision of yours. It is of immense value to us students.

But, I must ask, how do you plan to make turn this into economic value, especially from the perspective of industry. How can this increment in human resource be transformed into larger social impact ?

Mirza Baig - 7 years, 2 months ago

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How'd you gather a staff? Also, do you use the site? If so, what are your levels?

Cody Johnson - 7 years, 2 months ago

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Thank you for sharing your vision to us. :3 Hope more student like me will be better and best in math :3 Suyeon Khim thanks alot :3 <3 <3 <3 GodBless

Jhay-ar CLink'z - 7 years, 2 months ago

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감사합니다 ^^ Thanks for sharing your vision !

martins alves - 7 years, 2 months ago

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people like you are very little in this world

Rishabh Jain - 6 years, 8 months ago

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You've done a great thing imo, thanks a lot :D

Jord W - 7 years, 2 months ago

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awesome !!! your site is boon to me as it has helped to get exposure to tough problems.thank you so much for it.

niranjan hegde - 7 years, 2 months ago

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practically a convinient use of technology.

GAURAV KUMAR - 7 years, 2 months ago

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Just idea I have .... But soon

John Hoffman Cody - 7 years, 1 month ago

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Simply "BRILLIANT"!!

Gaurav Sharma - 6 years, 3 months ago

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There is a huge value in those kinds who otherwise will have little opportunities. This is an unconventional and transformative model for the education. It might be some time before the big companies realize that it's better to hire a kid who excelled in problem solving compared to hiring someone who was able to get a degree from a top university. The value and the social impact are there. The business will follow. Good luck with your pursuits !

Maksym Korablyov - 5 years, 6 months ago

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Thanks a lot! Your story is so motivating!

Sonja-Erica Pompa - 2 years, 1 month ago

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i must say that it' s a very brave step taken ......... and i would like to thanks to you ..... and i wanna ask you do you have an I D or Skype i d so please you must mail it to me cause i am the student of mathematics and i would like to discuss and mathematical problems......... if you don't mind will you mail your skype and facesook i d on this e_mail address (muhammadtaimur918@yahoo.com)

Muhammad Abbas - 7 years, 1 month ago

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