Rick Byars

The impact that just one teacher can have on you

I had a very special experience in the last few weeks of my time as Entrepreneur-in-Residence at McCombs. I reconnected with Rick Byars, who was my MIS333K professor (my undergraduate major at the University of Texas at Austin was MIS), in time for his legendary end-of-semester speech. He invited me to attend and speak for five minutes at the end of it.

To put this in context, when I was in Rick's class back in 1994 it had a huge impact on me. First of all, it was the most practical class I took at U.T. and, as a result, the one I remember the best. It simulates what it is like to be a technology consultant by giving you and your small team a large project to develop, test, and "deploy" by the end of the semester. It is the most time consuming class I took at U.T., by far, but at the end of it you have an incredible feeling of accomplishment. And then, at the end of the semester, Rick surprises you with the article below and his talk about it. You had no idea it was coming, and the shock value is what makes it a very special experience. You can't help but thinking, "Is this for real?! Was this really Rick?".