Even as a college student in 2000, multimillionaire Imran Khan was ahead of his time.
Today, 39-year-old Khan is the chief strategy officer of Snapchat, the man behind the curtain whose youthful exuberance, illustrious network and Wall Street chops have shepherded the company to stardom. But in 2000, the dotcom bubble and Y2K loomed large. Alibaba was a year old, Amazon sold books, Facebook and YouTube didn't exist — and Khan was a kid from Bangladesh.
"We possess technology [that] gives us more information about our world and ourselves than we've ever had before," his University of Denver yearbook read. "Within our massive global database is the answer that we keep ignoring."
Then, Khan was just another smiling face on page 154. He would ultimately come to shape the future for internet users across the world.
In the vein of investor Bill Gurley and writer Om Malik, Khan was already launching a mini-new media operation of his own: A newsletter run by students in the Economics department. The newsletter fizzled out, but professor Tracy Mott remembers Khan's initiative and energy. Khan also proposed his own independent study, and went outside the curriculum to take classes on monetary policy and financial markets, Mott said.
"He had a very pleasant personality and a lot of energy," Mott said. "He and his parents took Professor Ho and me to dinner right before graduation."
Mike Durney of DHI Group recalls a different meal with Khan, a lunch on a snowy day nearly a decade later. By then, Khan had shot up the ranks on Wall Street, working at a tech company and investment firms and becoming top analyst at JPMorgan by 2004.