John Carmack Honorary Degree Speech

There are lots of viable paths through engineering. The path that I advocate is knowledge and depth, for knowing things really deeply. It’s possible that I’m a little bit of a dinosaur here and this might even be suboptimal advice to listen to. I mean it’s true that the modern wizardry of building amazing applications by bashing together a bunch of Javascript libraries and web servers, has indeed minted a lot of start up millionaires, but it does remind me of Mickey Mouse as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice in Fantasia, animating broomsticks with magic that he doesn’t really understand, and eventually making a really big mess. So, knowing how to the pull the levers of power is rewarding, but there is a satisfaction in really understanding how they work and knowing things very deeply. There’s also a great confidence you can have when you know that you could build something from scratch, even if you choose not to.