Making Childhood Dreams Come True

Watch this video of a lecture by Randy Pausch. Be prepared. Get a snack and a drink – it’s about an hour and a half long but it is worth your time!

Pausch received his bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Brown University and his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University. He has been a co-founder of CMU’s Entertainment Technology Center (ETC), a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator, and a Lilly Foundation Teaching Fellow. He has done sabbaticals at Walt Disney Imagineering and Electronic Arts (EA), and consulted with Google on user interface design. Pausch is the author or co-author of five books and over 70 articles, and the founder of the Alice software project.

Battle with cancer

Pausch has been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer and was told in August 2007 to expect a remaining three to six months of good health.

Pausch delivered his “Last Public Lecture”, entitled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”, at CMU on September 18, 2007. This talk was modeled after an ongoing series of lectures where top academics are asked to think deeply about what matters to them, and then give a hypothetical “final talk”, i.e., “what wisdom would you try to impart to the world if you knew it was your last chance?” Before speaking, Pausch received a long standing ovation from a large crowd of over 400 colleagues and students. When he motioned them to sit down, saying “make me earn it”, some in the audience shouted back “you did!”


You can also go to his homepage and get a PDF transcript and more information
Dr. Gabriel Robins has a website with more links and a wonderful Halloween picture of the Pausch family.

That gives you the who and what but not the why. I completely forgot about the cancer as I watched and listened and even took notes. There is so much in this video and I will tell a few of the ones that remember best.

How about going out for football and showing up at practice and finding you will be playing with no football? If you know me at all you know I know nothing about sports. There are 22 men on a football field at one time. Only one has the ball. This coach was teaching what the other 21 should be doing. Fundamentals…

Sometimes you run into brick walls when you are trying to make your dreams come true. “Brick walls exist for a reason – they give us a chance to show how badly we want something – they stop the other people”

“Sometimes brick walls are flesh”

“most of what we learn, we learn indirectly (or by “head fake”)”

“If you are going to do anything that is pioneering you are going to get arrows in the back – put up with it”

(he got an award that consisted of a vest that had arrows sticking out of the back)

He advises that we learn to recognize the moments that change our lives, don’t bail – the best of the gold is at the bottom of barrels of crap, and don’t complain – just work harder. Jackie Robinson’s contract said that he would not complain even when fans spit on him.

Be watching for the two head fakes about this speech – he will explain at the end. After the video – go to and download the software. It will walk you through and give you an idea of his his work. Anyone who wants to get girls more interested in programming…..

He is definitely someone worth knowing.