Today I'm announcing that I'm leaving MIT to go full time on Quizlet.
I started Quizlet in 2005 to help myself with my high school french class. Since then, Quizlet has become one of the largest education sites in the world. We recently passed 5 million sets and 150 million terms and definitions. Over 3 million people use Quizlet every month. It's very gratifying to see the positive response people have had to Quizlet, and to see how many people depend on it to help them with all manner of school subjects.
All of this has happened while I've had other major priorities in my life - first high school, then studying computer science at MIT. I've been working on Quizlet throughout, coming home to the Bay Area during summer and winter breaks to work with the full-time team in San Francisco. This arrangement has allowed me to pursue my education and run a fast-moving startup at the same time. But over the last few months, it's become increasingly clear that Quizlet could be much bigger and better than it is now, and the only way that's going to happen is if I come out to work full time on it. I can do two things ok, but doing one thing and spending 100% of my time on it will allow Quizlet to become the major force in education that I think it could be.
So now I'm super excited to be joining the rest of the team. It's been an amazing experience to see other people get excited as I am about this little tool I built in my bedroom in high school. We're assembling a world-class team and hiring as fast as we can (if you know any great developers or Quizlet enthusiasts, let us know).
With all this said, MIT is the greatest place on earth. The people are extremely intelligent, down-to-earth, and fun to be around. It's a very challenging environment, and there's something to learn from every single person. There's a chance I'll come back to MIT to finish it off, but right now my first priority is Quizlet and making it great. I wouldn't be leaving unless I thought Quizlet could be a big business and have a huge impact. I'll be out on the East Coast for one more month while I finish up at MIT, then I'll get my own apartment in SF and get to work!
Developer Phil Freo and two interns (Chase and Arkajit) map out a new game at our San Francisco HQ.
Quizlet is a great tool for learning vocabulary and lots of other stuff. It produces fantastic results for students. But it only solves a few problems really well, and there are lots of problems in education. I don't think Quizlet, or any technology, is the solution to the problems in K-12 education, but it can play a part. My goal is to make Quizlet a very important and meaningful tool for students and teachers everywhere. It should do a lot more to help you learn languages: it should know about verb conjugations, about grammar, about spelling, and other aspects of language. It should help you understand concepts deeply and in many different ways. It should continue being the things that have made it great already: practical, efficient, social, and fast.
Please let me know your thoughts by adding a comment or send me a personal email: firstname.lastname@example.org.