Eric Simons, Founder
As a student I was your worst nightmare.
I couldn’t stay focused in school, I wasn’t interested in homework, and I wasn’t motivated by grades.
This dismayed my parents and frustrated my teachers. Then, during my junior year of high school (almost two years ago), my chemistry teacher pulled me aside and asked the question that changed the focus of my life: "What would make you interested in learning what I’m teaching?" I was stumped. She didn't ask me to try harder, she didn’t ask me to stay after for help or study more - she asked me to figure out how she could grab my interest. No one had ever bothered to ask me that before. A few moments later I replied, "let’s get everyone working together on computers – I'll even build the software for us to use".
And that was the start of Claco. For the next two years I designed, tested, and redesigned the software, getting teacher and peer input along the way. Suddenly, I couldn’t learn enough about how teachers teach and how students learn. Education, once my nemesis, became my passion. I became obsessed with trying to figure out how to share knowledge more efficiently. I realized as students we learned better when we worked together using videos and websites – and we even enjoyed it!
That was the key "eureka" moment - give students the best possible content and let them work collaboratively using web tools. I figured out the answer to my chemistry teacher's question. It makes perfect sense -- best content, easy access. The next trick was making that process easier for teachers.
At the end of my senior year, I decided to work on Claco full time instead of going to college. I moved out to Silicon Valley and eventually convinced my best friends to join me, which has been an incredible experience. I've slept on a lot of couches
, eaten a ton of Ramen noodles, work 12-16 hours a day - and I love it. I've finally found something that I'm truly passionate about.
Life isn't about what you have, it's about what you leave – and I want to leave education with something really incredible.