I am still thinking a lot about David Boschmans lately. He was our gracious host in Belgium when we visited in December of 2005. Spent a lot of time driving Maryam and me around and hosting dinners and having us speak at Microsoft and other places. Proudly talked about his new family (he has a two-year-old daughter, he was so proud of her). Shared more than one beer with us and was clearly liked and trusted by lots of geeks in Belgium. Here’s a picture of me with David.
Two weeks ago he died unexpectedly in his sleep. He was 32.
His death hit me and Maryam hard. Harder than other tragedies in the tech world have hit me lately.
It gets down to who is a “real friend” and who is an “online friend.” David was an online friend who turned real over beers in Brussels.
He also reminded me that every day is a gift. I’ve had 10 more years of those gifts than he’s had. He did a lot in his short time here.
I look around the Web and see the love for David from around the world. Tom Raftery, Ireland’s top tech blogger, wrote about him. Roy Osherove, one of my favorite bloggers in Israel, did a video for him.
If you search Google for his name you’ll see page after page of people who were touched by David. Nathan Weinberg links to lots of the best stuff about David.
Anyway, what are you doing with today? That’s what David keeps asking me.
Today I’m thinking about a guy who took a few days out of his life to make sure we had a good time in a foreign land. He had a new daughter at home and, I’m sure, plenty of better things to do. The memories of him are among my most prized possessions. Worth more to me than an iPhone or an HDTV. It’s why I love traveling the world and hanging out with geeks.
I’m honored to have shared a beer with him and he definitely left a void in the tech world that won’t easily be filled. Thank you David!
You might think I’m stupid. Dumb. Lame. Irrelevant. Arrogant. Or worse.
But this guy is none of those things. In fact, he’s the opposite of all those things.
So, why is Mehran Sahami worth listening to?
He runs Stanford University’s undergraduate computer science department.
We have a 45-minute-long discussion about what’s going on at Stanford University, and also computer science education trends. Among other things happening in the industry.
Mehran is simply one of the most interesting people I’ve interviewed. You’d have to be to get a job running probably the most important computer science University department in the world. Hope you enjoy.
OK, some of you are asking for more text to judge whether the video is interesting, or not, so I took an hour out to do one for the interview of Mehran Sahami, head of Stanford University’s undergraduate computer science department.
00:00 introduction to Meharan Sahami
1:38 What’s the big thing he’s focused on? Joke about bubbles. Working on improving curriculum.
3:10 Why are numbers of computer science students going down?
5:30 Discussion of off shoring.
7:20 Discussion of social aspects of technology development.
9:00 Discussion of amazing things students are doing.
10:45 Discussion of the mythology of Stanford’s computer science department.
11:15 Discussion of the pressures that heading up such an important department brings.
12:58 What is Stanford not doing well?
14:50 How is the Internet changing education?
16:30 Joking about having Larry Lessig (law professor who started Creative Commons, among other things) at the school.
Which leads into a discussion of Stanford’s advantages and resources.
18:30: Discussion of the entrepreneur’s frustrations. Getting people to use new technologies.
22:20 What is the next big idea that’s cooking in your classrooms right now?
24:10 Did anyone working here understand how big Google would turn out to be? (Back when Google was being developed at Stanford).
25:00 What is it about big companies that keeps them from seeing the small idea (innovator’s dilemma discussion).
27:40 What would you like to tell the world about Stanford?
29:00 What’s the role of mobile in the world?
What kind of work is Stanford doing?
32:30 Is Stanford working with CERN?
34:09 If you were coming to Stanford this fall, what class would you take?
39:00 Talk about some of the famous names who are on the faculty here. Don Knuth for one.
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Mike Montemerlo is one smart dude. He works on Stanford University’s DARPA challenge team which is building a robotic car that’ll be able to negotiate a course without humans being involved.
Anyway, we have a 30 minute conversation about the future of automobiles.
We talk about the algorithms he’s designing (he’s the lead software guy on the project). What the challenge is this year (last year the team won $2 million). What real-world-things this car could affect.
I think you’ll find this conversation fascinating.
The interview was done in Stanford University’s Computer Science department. The Bill Gates building. Can you imagine the guys who started Google meeting around this conference table and working out their plans?