Everyone at Udacity is elated this morning with the news from CNBC, that we have been named to their prestigious Disruptor 50 list for a third time—and at #8, our highest ranking yet! It’s certainly thrilling to find ourselves in the company of such world-changing organizations as SpaceX, Airbnb, and Didi Chuxing. We appreciate the continued recognition from CNBC, and take heart that our efforts are having a sustained impact.
Disruption equates to change, and change informed by good intent is a powerful thing. No one of us, nor one organization, can change the world in its entirely. But by initiating positive change one student at a time, we can set in motion disruptive forces that can break down barriers, disarm opposition, and give rise to new opportunity.
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” ―Mother Teresa
Udacity has grown from a big dream in a tiny room—Sebastian Thrun’s living room, to be precise!—to a global community comprised of millions of passionate learners, dedicated educators, and forward-thinking industry collaborators who have come together to create a culture of success and achievement. And if we are indeed bringing about positive disruption, we are doing so only through the efforts of our entire community. Should we succeed, we have this community to thank. And should we falter, we have this community to turn to for inspiration and strength.
Recently, Google highlighted one of our wonderful students, Sara Blevins, on their Keynote blog. Sara is a recipient of a Grow with Google Udacity scholarship, and in her interview, she offers a beautiful testament to the transformative power of learning:
“For most of my life, I’ve felt like a stallion that couldn’t run, an eagle that couldn’t fly, or a dolphin that couldn’t swim. Now, my cage door has been opened and I’m going to move forward as fast as life will permit me. I see wonder all around me, in even the simplest of things. I now have the ability to meaningfully contribute to that wonder.”
The evocation of symbiosis that closes Sara’s quote perfectly expresses something both dear to our hearts, and central to our approach—that growth and change are made possible through collaboration, and the unifying desire to contribute meaningfully to progress.
“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” —Henry Ford
As teachers of data science, we consistently evangelize on behalf of the power of data to drive positive innovation, and we strive as well to embrace our own advocacy. We collect, analyze, and act upon thousands and thousands of feedback signals every week in an ongoing effort to refine our offerings, and consistently deliver a world-class learning experience. We collaborate with visionary industry leaders to ensure that what our students learn are the most valuable and in-demand skills. And we bring the world’s leading experts into our classrooms to provide transformative instruction for our community. Together, we create the Udacity experience.
To receive this acknowledgement from CNBC offers us the opportunity to recognize the contributions of every member of our community, and best of all, it provides us the chance to thank our students. To the 8 million and counting of you, thank you! There is no Udacity without you.