Randy Pausch Was Great Presenter; Dies Anyway


er’s seemed to be just totally overwhelmed that Randy Pausch actually died. He actually did. He said he would, he had a deadly form of cancer, he told his family he would die sooner, rather than later.”But, but,” Xer’s seem to be saying… “we never thought he would actually do it!”

Heavy man.

Randy Pausch was a teacher who died of pancreatic cancer.

Lots of people die of pancreatic cancer, so what made him such a star?

A colleague and I often remark how “it’s not what you know, it’s how you present it.”

Randy Pausch was a great presenter.

Why did his lecture just go viral on the Youtube? and the networks? Was it his message? Nope. There are thousands of people harping the same “keep the faith, baby” message. Hundreds of books. Was it the form of cancer? Nope. Cancer is pretty much cancer. It’s still incurable, and usually fatal.

Was it an original idea to speak as if it was his Last Lecture? Nope. The talk was a formula-lecture. Carnegie-Mellon asked top smarties to make a “final talk.” Nothing original there. Of course, it wasn’t his final talk. He wrote a book, spoke to

  • Oprah,
  • Congress,
  • Diane Sawyer,
  • Sting,
  • and even got a bit part in Star Trek:The Movie.

Of course, some bloggers are using his death to extrapolate some meaningful business use. Another refers to him as the “late, great Randy Pausch.” ( ! ) And of course, the inevitable Jimmy V tie in.

A passionate man noted for wearing his emotions on his sleeve, Jimmy V. also began by addressing the elephant in the room. But in contrast to the physically-fit Pausch, the frail NC State coach had to be helped on and off the stage. And in direct contrast to Pausch, Valvano chose to focus on the impact of cancer on his life and that of his family.

Randy Pausch knew nothing more than anybody else about dying from cancer. He just knew how to present.

He was a great presenter.

  • white
  • male
  • handsome
  • well-educated
  • witty

Pausch benefited from the Tim Russert Effect. If you are a great presenter and can muster an audience, you will become a star. It’s not what you know, it’s how you present it.

At the end, as Dr. Pausch’s body was clearly failing, Mr. Seabolt said he told his friend that it was okay if he felt like he needed to “let go.”

Dr. Pausch’s reply: “I’ll get back to you on that.’’

And those, according to Mr. Seabolt, were the final words of Randy Pausch.

Always leave them wanting more.

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Randy Pausch Was Great Presenter; Dies Anyway — 2 Comments

  1. It is all about how you (and the media) tell the story. Apparently he was the only one who knew how to live life. What will we do now? I’m waiting for the tearjerker book/Lifetime movie/Oprah special from Mitch Albom.

    Chriss last blog post..sam’s new hat