Saturday, August 09, 2008

Oh Boy, The last Lecture!

Once in a while you do come across people who are incredibly inspirational as they speak truth from their heart. This 1hour 16mins and 27seconds lecture will be the best spent time if you can steal one. As an able orator Randy was, I was able to connect right away as he talked about two things - Virtual Reality and Childhood dreams. Not a lot of folks know that my first job out of college was with a research institute associated with Indian department of Atomic Energy. Not sure how come they hired me because I was never a smart guy but when you work with them you tend to believe you are one. One of the projects that I did while working there was on Virtual Reality. Even my manager did not know that I was doing something like that. After doing the regular work, I used to wait for 6PM when everyone was gone and I could spend hours on computer doing something I was so passionate about. The office politics never bothered me. When almost everyone knowing Computers and Programming were leaving for US, I did not bother because I was doing what I loved. I left that job and never got any opportunity to work on VRML again.
I started working for a company as a Contracted programmer. They offered me a job and in the interview process I told them about a project I was doing after hours. A futuristic desktop environment that did not require any device driver installations to use services. A system based on Jini's auto-discovery so that services running in the neighborhood could automatically download itself when you login. I was passionate and excited and discussed every detail of what I was thinking. You should know you are a contractor here, Ashish. You should only be doing what is told to you, was the response. But I am doing it after work and never billed those hours, I said. He was not pleased but they hired me anyway. The project was lost in sub-directories till the Company years later unveiled a futuristic 3D Java workspace. I collected all the courage I had and discussed my project with Hideya Kawahara, the brainchild behind the project looking glass. He was kind enough to allow me to submit my project as an incubator project for Sun Labs for looking glass. I left that company and there are no takers of that project anymore.
Speaking of Childhood dreams, I dreamt of becoming an Air force Pilot. My Mom didn't even allow me to fill an application form. I had weird career choices as well. I thought of becoming a rikshaw puller (a hand pulled taxi) and that I would never fight for money and let the customers give whatever they liked. Even though an idiotic choice but it was philanthropic. I was also fascinated with Doctors for their clean offices, fine pens and amazing hand writings. I also wanted to be a drummer and a scientist and an entrepreneur and a millionaire. Were any of these fulfilled? Came close to being a scientist and I own a drum set but thats pretty much it.

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