Friday, February 6, 2009

TED - No, not the Guy Next Door

TED Talks – Ideas Worth Spreading

I have been stealing time to listen to podcasts lately. There is a new source of interesting audio and video podcasts which has captivated me. These “TED Talks” are recorded during the annual TED Conferences. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design and this is not your ordinary You Tube where anyone can upload a video.

The folks at the TED Brain Trust make sure that only the most fascinating, brightest, funniest; most inspiring or innovative speakers appear on their site. You will find such folks as Bill Gates (his latest released yesterday talks about how he is trying to change the world), Al Gore and Bill Clinton and Jane Goodall but aside from the rich and famous, you will also relatively unknowns - inventors, explorers, scientists and anyone who can pitch a interesting idea, thought or belief. If you have a cold winter day that you want to cocoon at home and surf the net, it is well worth exploring the site and listening to a selection of speakers from TED.

Anyone can send in a podcast to the folks at TED and they will follow up with you it if they think it has merit. If you are really good, you might be invited to present at the next annual TED Conference. The 2009 TED Conferences are happening this week

Some examples of Ted Talks I have listened to:

->“Life on Mars?...” Penelope Boston talks about why she thinks that they may find evidence in Martian caves.

->“Who is General Tso?” Reporter Jennifer B. Lee is on the hunt for the origins of this famous dish.

->“Exploring the frontiers of happiness” Dan Gilbert presents research and data from his exploration of happiness

->“Second Life where anything is possible” Philip Rosedale talks about the virtual society he founded. (I happen to have an avatar on second life!)

->“The powerful link between creativity and play” designer Tim Brown talks about the relationship between creative thinking and play using examples you can try from home.

Everything is nicely tagged and indexed by interest area and rating (e.g. the most courageous, jaw dropping, funny, etc) and by date – so you can browse to suit your fancy.

To see the list of talks go to:

Oh, and by the way, if you want to go to the TED Conference and listen to these speakers in person it is by invitation only. You submit your application and they decide, based on your application and CV whether they want to invite you to attend and pay the $60,000 ticket price! There are over 1,000 attendees listening to 50 speakers and it sells out well over a year in advance. For $1,000 you can video conference in to see and hear the talks live.

On a more do-able scale, the site suggests hosting a “TED Party” or “TED Salon” as an interesting way to host a party. (Wiki defines “Salon” as a social gathering of intellectuals who meet to discuss ideas and watch artistic performances.) All you need to do is:

- Invite half a dozen people around for an evening
- Plan a series of three talks from a theme that interests you
- Curate the conversation that follows, to encourage genuine discussion as opposed to insistent opinion

Hmm, maybe I should host a TED Party – might be fun and an interesting way to perk up a party!

Yesterday’s Blog:

Readers from yesterday’s blog are looking for a conclusion to “Running Late in the Morning…” What happened when I was 45 minutes later than usual leaving the office? Sorry if you were expecting something more, but I promise that you will find a more interesting version (a fictional account) of what might have happened, once I get a bit more time to work on the story line. Blogs aren’t meant as a medium for stories, short or otherwise, however, maybe I can serialize this one and give you a bit of it every week or so. Stay tuned.

So what really happened at the point I left off yesterday?

Well for one, I discovered a whole new set of people who live in my building who normally I never see. They leave for work at 8:00 and I discovered that there are quite a few folks in that set. Some looked quite interesting. And that is where my imagination starts to gear up!

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