Friday, May 9, 2008

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture Part-7

This technology actually got used at the Spiderman 3 premiere in L.A., so the audience was controlling something on the screen, so that's kind of nice. And I don't have a class picture from every year, but I dredged all the ones that I do have, and all I can say is that what a privilege and an honor it was to teach that course for something like ten years.

And all good things come to an end. And I stopped teaching that course about a year ago. People always ask me what was my favorite moment. I don't know if you could have a favorite moment. But boy there is one I'll never forget. This was a world with, I believe a roller skating ninja. And one of the rules was that we perform these things live and they all had to really work. And the moment it stopped working, we went to your backup videotape. And this was very embarrassing. [Shows image of Roller Ninja world presentation]

So we have this ninja on stage and he's doing this roller skating thing and the world, it did not crash gently. Whoosh. And I come out, and I believe it was Steve, Audia, wasn't it? Where is he? OK, where is Steve? Ah, my man. Steve Audia. And talk about quick on your feet. I say, Steve, I'm sorry but your world has crashed and we're going to go to videotape. And he pulls out his ninja sword and says, I am dishonored! Whaaa! And just drops! [applause and laughter]

And so I think it's very telling that my very favorite moment in ten years of this high technology course was a brilliant ad lib. And then when the videotape is done and the lights come up, he's lying there lifeless and his teammates drag him off! [laughter] It really was a fantastic moment.

And the course was all about bonding. People used to say, you know, what's going to make for a good world? I said, I can't tell you beforehand, but right before they present it I can tell you if the world's good just by the body language. If they're standing close to each other, the world is good.

And BVW was a pioneering course [Randy puts on vest with arrows poking out of the back], and I won't bore you with all the details, but it wasn't easy to do, and I was given this when I stepped down from the ETC and I think it's emblematic. If you're going to do anything that pioneering you will get those arrows in the back, and you just have to put up with it. I mean everything that could go wrong did go wrong. But at the end of the day, a whole lot of people had a whole lot of fun.

When you've had something for ten years that you hold so precious, it's the toughest thing in the world to hand it over. And the only advice I can give you is, find somebody better than you to hand it to. And that's what I did. There was this kid at the VR studios way back when, and you didn't have to spend very long in Jesse Schell's orbit to go, the force is strong in this one. And one of my greatest my two greatest accomplishments I think for Carnegie Mellon was that I got Jessica Hodgins and Jesse Schell to come here and join our faculty.

And I was thrilled when I could hand this over to Jesse, and to no one's surprise, he has really taken it up to the next notch. And the course is in more than good hands -- it's in better hands. But it was just one course. And then we really took it up a notch. And we created what I would call the dream fulfillment factory. Don Marinelli and I got together and with the university's blessing and encouragement, we made this thing out of whole cloth that was absolutely insane. Should never have been tried. All the sane universities didn't go near this kind of stuff. Creating a tremendous opportunistic void.

So the Entertainment Technology Center was all about artists and technologists working in small teams to make things. It was a two year professional master's degree. And Don and I were two kindred spirits. We're very different -- anybody who knows us knows that we are very different people. And we liked to do things in a new way, and the truth of the matter is that we are both a little uncomfortable in academia.

I used to say that I am uncomfortable as an academic because I come from a long line of people who actually worked for a living, so. [Nervous laughter] I detect nervous laughter! And I want to stress, Carnegie Mellon is the only place in the world that the ETC could have happened. By far the only place.

[Shows slide of Don Marinelli in tye-dyed shirt, shades and an electric guitar, sitting on a desk next to Randy, wearing nerd glasses, button-up shirt, staring at a laptop. Above their heads were the labels "Right brain/Left brain"] [laughter] OK, this picture was Don's idea, OK? And we like to refer to this picture as Don Marinelli on guitar and Randy Pausch on keyboards. [laughter] But we really did play up the left brain, right brain and it worked out really well that way.

[Shows slide of Don looking intense] Don is an intense guy. And Don and I shared an office, and at first it was a small office. We shared an office for six years. You know, those of you who know Don know he's an intense guy. And you know, given my current condition, somebody was asking me ... this is a terrible joke, but I'm going to use it anyway. Because I know Don will forgive me. Somebody said, given your current condition, have you thought about whether you're going to go to heaven or hell? And I said, I don't know, but if I'm going to hell, I'm due six years for time served! [laughter] I kid.

Sharing an office with Don was really like sharing an office with a tornado. There was just so much energy and you never knew which trailer was next, right? But you know something exciting was going to happen. And there was so much energy, and I do believe in giving credit where credit is due. So in my typically visual way, if Don and I were to split the success for the ETC, he clearly gets the lion's share of it. [Shows image of a pie chart divided 70/30 (Don/Randy) ] He did the lion's share of the work, ok, he had the lion's share of the ideas.


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