Archives for August, 2008

Buddhism and Leadership

Recently I became very interested in the subject of Buddhism. I always heard it’s a very peaceful religion and I wanted to research that a bit further. I wasn’t surprised to discover that, indeed, it promotes happyness, peace and altruism. What surprised me though is that the more I read about the Buddhism, the more I was convinced that it’s sort of a foundation for the most important principles of leadership. I’m not saying that leadership is built upon Buddhism, but the similarities between these two are striking.

If one could summarize Buddhism in one sentence the best way to do it would probably be (quote from Dalai Lama): “The main principle of Buddhist morality is to help others and, if that is not possible, at least to do no harm.”. Great leadership is definitely about helping others – Jack Welch once said that “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.”. What’s a bit amazing here is that Buddhism would definitely agree with the latter part, but not necessarily with the former – success would still be measured by how much we contribute to growing others. Yet, if we are focusing on ourselves and have an objective of growing ourselves in order to help others than everything is alright. Pure altruism.

I took part in a very interesting discussion recently with a couple of Brazilian friends. The topic was very familiar to me – it dealt with “American ignorance” and the “fact” that Americans (look out for the generalization here) aren’t interested in the world as a whole, many of them don’t know where Iraq is etc. You probably heard these arguments very often, no matter whether you’re from Europe or from the United States. What is sad, is that saying the phrase “America is ignorant” became a bit fashionable in Europe. What is sad as well is that this argument became “common knowledge”. What isn’t sad though is that this argument, as every common knowledge argument, holds a lot of inconsistencies and is very, very flawed.

The “Last Lecture”

Some time ago I was interested in how should one promote a movie on YouTube. How do those guys do it that they get millions of views? One of the key advices was “Keep your movies as short as possible; you won’t be successful with something very long.”. Therefore when I saw that more than 5 million people watched Randy Pausch’s 1 hour long “Last Lecture” I knew I would watch it till the end. And I did. You should too.

Randy Pausch was a professor in the field of Virtual Reality at the Carnegie Mellon University. More than a year ago he was diagnosed with cancer. But not only did he decide not to stop teaching he also did a lecture, which is one of the most inspiring and touching lectures I ever heard. In his “Last Lecture” Randy Pausch pokes fun at himself, is smiling and, even though he knows that he’s left with a few months of life, he remains optimistic. He died of pancreatic cancer on July, 25th 2008. Read more… »


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Beginning February 2011 I have started a new job at Google in its EU HQ in Dublin, Ireland. I will be responsible for AdWords-related issues for the UK / Ireland market.

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