Friday, July 25, 2008

A final farewell to Randy Pausch

I first wrote about Randy Pausch's "last lecture" in September of last year, just days after he spoke at Carnegie-Mellon. I had heard about the lecture through a Slashdot thread. After watching it, I knew right away that this was something special, and not just because of the virtual reality/3D connection (Randy is responsible for the Alice programming environment). Despite his terminal disease, he had an amazing take on life, family, work, and technology. It was touching, and fascinating, and viewers couldn't help but to examine their own lives after seeing it. The online video quickly went viral, and millions all over the world eventually saw it on the Web. I later ordered a DVD through the Carnegie-Mellon webpage, because this was something I wanted to share with my wife, and she is not the type to watch long videos online. She, too, was very impressed.

As you probably know, Randy passed away this week. Even though I never knew the man, I felt inspired to write a brief memorial in The Industry Standard, "Randy Pausch dies, and the world loses a true hero." At the end, I noted:
The heroes of the tech world are usually coders and entrepreneurs, who are judged by the products that they design and the businesses that they start. Randy made some major contributions to his field (such as overseeing the development of the 3D programming environment, Alice) but it is his accomplishments as a human being that make him a true hero.
The post prompted many tributes from readers, such as these:

Patty Kay Herndon:
He truly was an amazing person- his thoughts about acheiving childhood dreams has prompted me to realize that I have met some of mine and to be more grateful for the life I have had. Also to be grateful for good health and not to take it for granted. He was truly an inspiration - I am so sorry for his family's loss- he will be missed by many!
I feel as if I have lost a friend. Thank you Randy for your gift of wisdom of living life to the fullest. Thank-you Randy for being an inspiration to me in my current cancer treatment.
My deepest sympathy to his family. I hope they will remember that his story touched many as I know it touched me. I felt hope and encouragement as I read his book and heard his lecture. Not very many people get to make such an impact. You are in our prayers as is he.
Pauline Callahan:
I am an RN who in the end of my career am working with Hospice and I so much enjoyed the lectures and messages that Randy posted on his Web Site. I have taken care of many, many people with cancer and they are all truly remarkable people but once in a lifetime comes a person such as Randy who can put into words so many feelings that most people have who are facing the end of their life.
Randy Pausch touched a nerve with society- and that is what people are looking for and what is lacking now- truth and depth of purpose. He not only lived his life well but had the wisdom of a sage and the wonder of a little child, and was able to communicate it so well that he lived his calling. He lived in the moment with clear purpose and his words have deep meaning to those that heard him speak and teach becasue he was so grounded in truth. We need more Randy's to encourage others to think out of the box and not be condoned for progressive thinking. He was a dichotomy of both scientific genius and artistic imagination, a rare combination. He inspired all who knew him and kept it simple so that understanding something was the key to not only enjoying learning but a ways to a mean to learn.
If you haven't seen the video yet, please press the play button below and take some time to hear what he has to say. The YouTube video is more than an hour long, but even if you only have time to watch ten or 15 minutes, it's worth it.

1 comment:

  1. Living proof that at the center of life is the human being. We have been blessed in this time of sterile living to have a man such as Randy remind us that "living" is the most important part of life.

    Thank you for touching all of us. Thank you for sharing your family, your journey and your WISDOM.


All comments will be reviewed before being published. Spam, off-topic or hateful comments will be removed.