Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Randy Pausch: A Lecture You Must See ...

I am presently attending the webcast lecture by Randy Pausch of CMU. The lecture is entitled, "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams," and will cover many, many things I am sure (it's just starting now) -- Randy is starting by describing the "elephant in the room" -- Cancer -- Randy has been battling for some time now (see his cancer update page) -- so far he has challenged the audience to not talk about cancer, and to not offer pity (esp. during his push-ups :-) -- wow, he just bought a Macintosh too! I suppose anything is possible.

Alice imageRandy is a long-time SIGCSE attendee and contributor, often indirectly -- his work with the Alice virtual world environment for learning programming is a SIGCSE standard, and the Alice Tea Party becoming another.

Randy has been going through his dreams, including being like, er, meeting, Captain Kirk and his cool toys from Star Trek -- he demonstrated what looked like (and sounded like) a communicator from the original series.

Apparently, Randy also has a large and interesting collection of stuffed animals -- to convince the cynics, Randy brought out a collection of stuffed bears, very large and colorful -- he then gave them away to the audience.

Imagineering is also on Randy's list, and from a long time ago -- he showed photos of him and his family on the "Alice Ride" at Disney (foreshadowing much?) -- so many stories that Randy is sharing, and in his very engaging, unique style, please just visit the webcast yourself, I am stopping to enjoy the lecture.


I learned some interesting approaches of hardships and obstacles, including "the brick wall" -- the brick wall is there for (at least) three reasons:
  • to see how much you want it
  • to keep the others out
  • let us show our determination
... OK, I did not see the birthday cake coming, or the singing for Randy's wife Jai -- and what a cake, looks like enough to feed all 500 attendees.

It was nice seeing a few familiar faces in the "audience of physical proximity," including Don Slater, Wanda Dann, Andy van Dam and Tom Cortina (SIGCSE 2008 Birds of a Feather).

There is a nice post-lecture recognition service, stay tuned, it's worth it.

I was able to access the webcast from the CMU homepage, perhaps it will be archived there. And remember, Randy is a big believer in "head fakes," so keep you eyes and ears open as you watch.

Oh, and I was not crying -- I just got something in both eyes at the same time.


Postscript: Check the story from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette.


Dr.O. said...

Excerpts from Randy's farewell address are currently on line at The Post Gazette video

Barbara Boucher Owens

Mimi Lenox said...

I watched the lecture this evening. Remarkable man.

Sara Gold said...

Some lessons from Randy Pausch’s last lecture that especially moved me:

1. Brick walls are there for a reason: they let us prove how badly we want things.
2. Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.
3. Never lose the child-like wonder.
4. If we do something which is pioneering, we will get arrows in the back. But at the end of the day, a whole lot of people will have a whole lot of fun.
5. Be good at something; it makes you valuable.
6. If you live your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself, and the dreams will come to you.

Check out the tribute quiz on the lecture at www.mystudiyo.com : you can add your own questions at the end of the quiz.

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Keep up the good work.

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