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.
In 2016, the European Commission launched the first European Digital Skills Awards to honor outstanding initiatives that significantly improve Europeans’ competence to use digital technology. This was a landmark act of recognition, emblematic of growing awareness of the need to teach digital skills, promote digital citizenship, and empower participation in a global digital economy.
This year’s awards have just been announced, and we’re delighted that the European Commission has awarded Udacity, and our partners Bertelsmann and Google, the 2017 Digital Skills Award in the “‘Digital Skills for ICT Professionals”’ category.
There are many ways to measure success. At Udacity, we prioritize our students above all else—when our students succeed, we succeed.
That said, there are other measurements that can be very meaningful. When an extraordinary organization such as Google, Amazon, IBM, or NVIDIA chooses to collaborate with us, we consider this a powerful and positive referendum on our efforts. When a publication such as the MIT Technology Review determines that we are one of the 50 “Smartest Companies” in the world, we are excited that our work is capturing minds and imaginations.
Ultimately though, even these examples come back to our students. And that’s as it should be.
Today, we received recognition of a somewhat different kind, and for a moment, we are able to stop, reflect, and feel a bit of pride that our company has emerged as a wonderful place to work, as well as learn.
MIT Technology Review’s 50 Smartest Companies list has come to be considered a kind of innovation bellwether, signaling what the future holds, how we’re going to get there, and who will lead us onwards. All at Udacity are both thrilled and humbled to be included on this year’s list, and we thank everyone involved in the decision-making process for recognizing our efforts in this way. We especially wish to thank our students, for there is no Udacity without you. We thank our partners as well, who help make everything we do possible.
Didi Chuxing may be one of the most electrifying companies in the world right now. The Chinese ride-sharing service just received a $1 billion dollar investment from Apple, and is poised to grow significantly in the coming year. Which is why we are thrilled to partner with Didi on the global Di-Tech Algorithm Competition, which boasts a $100K prize for the winner, and perhaps more exciting, the opportunity to join the Didi Research Lab and work on innovations that will affect hundreds of millions of riders.
Our pursuit of new ways to educate is driven by a desire to reach every aspiring learner with an opportunity that is uniquely right for them, no matter their circumstances. The phrase “Talent is universal, opportunity is not” is a well-known aphorism, and from it we have taken our guiding principle for The Udacity Transcend Award:
Talent deserves opportunity.