Paul Judge Shares Advice, Lessons Learned with Class of 2021 Graduates at Georgia Tech
It was with great honor that Panoramic Managing Partner Paul Judge delivered the commencement address at Georgia Tech’s bachelor’s degree graduation ceremony at Bobby Dodd Stadium on May 8. Judge earned his master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from Georgia Tech in 2002.
In speaking to graduates, Judge acknowledged the impact the university has had on his life and shared advice from his career as an inventor, entrepreneur, and investor. He delivered “life lessons” in a series of motivational vignettes:
Lesson 1: You Can Build Something from Nothing. Judge was in graduate school when he became part of a cybersecurity venture started by a classmate. Beginning with basically just an idea and a whiteboard, they grew the venture over six years to sell it for hundreds of millions of dollars.
Lesson 2: Run into Fires. Judge recounted his penchant early on for finding the most pressing problems and fixating on trying to solve them. He advised that in business, running to problems in order to create solutions, instead of running away from them, can provide the biggest reward.
Lesson 3: Don’t Be Comfortable, Be Great. After his first company was acquired, it would have been easy for Judge to become complacent. But instead, he felt the need to start more companies to resolve more problems. He advised that the truly successful don’t rest on their laurels but always move ahead to achieve more.
Lesson 4: When Things Get Hard, Go Harder. After starting a new mobile device security company, the financial markets crashed in 2008 and Judge’s company was on the edge. Instead of giving up, he and his partner went “all in,” using their personal funds to make payroll and keep things running. Ultimately, the market turned around and the company was successfully acquired.
Lesson 5: Bet on Yourself. Several years ago, a Georgia Tech professor asked Judge to meet with a student, Vijay Balasubramaniyan, who had an innovative idea but also had a job offer from a top tech company and was unsure what to do. Judge asked him, “Do you want to work on furthering someone else’s dream or furthering your own?” He and Balasubramaniyan went on to co-found Pindrop, which today is one of the largest U.S. security tech startups.
Judge charged graduates with listening to their inner voice—especially when it asks why a problem can’t be fixed or why something doesn’t exist—in order to find their true calling.