October 5, 2007

News & Opinion: The Last Lecture

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 7:30 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

A number of universities have created a "Last Lecture" series. The speakers are asked to answer one question, "What wisdom would you try to impart to the world if you knew it was your last chance?"
Randy Pausch a professor at Carnegie Mellon, known for his sabbatical work at Disney, creation of the program Alice and work with Google, was one of the recent lecturers at CM. The "last" part of the lecture is unique for Randy as he is fighting a deadly pancreatic cancer.
His lecture was on achieving your childhood dreams. Something I think we all want.
Here's the link to his lecture. It's long; it runs about 1.5 hours.
A few pieces stuck out for me.
  • Around the 41-minute mark, he talks about giving his students an interactive entertainment assignment. They were given two weeks to work on it and the results exceeded Randy's expectations. So he sought advice from his mentor, came back to his students and said, "This is good but you can do better."

  • Around the one-hour mark, Randy talks about the importance of feedback from your peers, your superiors, those below you and knowing yourself.

  • Also, in there he discusses finding a successor. How it's so important to find someone who's stronger than you to take over. That will make the transition a bit more smooth.

I could find a million stories with the above lessons. Randy's presentation is another way to present them -- and it's worth the time. There's plenty to take from it on teamwork, knowing yourself, business lessons and, of course, following your childhood dreams. On that note, enjoy your weekend and (can't help but do this) keep following your dreams!