Actor, producer, entrepreneur, Welsh football club owner, and philanthropist Ryan Reynolds made a guest appearance at Autodesk University's Day Two General Session.
Booking the widely-liked celebrity did its job – the on-site crowd packed the conference center in Las Vegas to see what Reynolds had to say.
In case you missed it and you were as curious as we were, here are the main topics that Autodesk COO Steve Blum and Reynolds discussed during his 40-minute interview.
Ryan Reynolds at Autodesk University: Risk, Empathy, and Getting Over Yourself
• When asked whether he preferred leading or following, Reynold's response was that he historically felt a timidness and inclination to follow before leading. "Following prepares you to lead," he said.
• In referencing his success with Marvel's Deadpool films, Reynolds referred to the importance of taking calculated risks in the face of criticism – while shoring up all the support possible from key players around you. Quoting "Necessity is the mother of invention," he championed the innovation that comes from being backed into a corner and encouraged the audience to power through challenges.
• Reynolds also lauded humility and inexperience over pride. "You can kill a company with hubris but it’s much rarer to kill it with inexperience," he said. Humility equips you to admit you don’t know everything and get help from smart people around you. "I'm not here to do a TED talk," he said. "I don't know what I'm doing either."
• He briefly touched on his Group Effort Initiative, which works to build inclusivity in film.
• Blum asked about conflict management, and Reynolds stressed the value of mirroring and empathizing with the other party, as it is a very genuine way to disarm them and find common ground.
• Asked about his decision making as an entrepreneur, Reynolds addressed the importance of creating something that has emotional investment with the audience. If you can build an emotional connection to a character, brand, or experience, it creates a deep moat that makes for real long-term value.
• When asked about his work with Wrexham Association Football Club and how to impact the life of a community, he stressed that centering focus on the community or audience you're working with is the most important thing.
• Then, with a nod toward the AEC professionals in the audience, Reynolds talked through the topic of historical preservation in the light of expanding Wrexham AFC's historic stadium to accommodate more patrons.
• When the inevitable question about AI was asked, Reynolds said that the most important thing is to not lose sight of the creative identify of the individual. AI can be helpful, but it cannot displace human creativity and the value that it brings to our world.
• Finally, the last thing Reynolds mentioned was the importance of not thinking too much of yourself or what others think. "Get over yourself because no one cares."
Ryan Reynolds or Revit?
All in all, the Reynolds interview was lighthearted, entertaining, and generally "fun." The Autodesk connection to Reynolds is a bit distant – no, he is not a Revit user.
Autodesk supports Reynolds' organization Group Effort Initiative and they are participating in the expansion of Wrexham AFC's stadium. Otherwise, the connection is largely star-power for Autodesk's Media & Entertainment sector (and anyone who loves Deadpool or Forumla One racing).
Regardless, the departure from product announcements and executive inspiration was received enthusiastically by the Autodesk University audience and we expect this format may be repeated in the future.
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