Saturday, June 16, 2012

I Love TED

I have an uncle named Ted.  I love you, Uncle Ted.  You're cool and world-wise and live just around the corner from Times Square.  But this is not about you.

This is about TED.  As in Technology, Entertainment and Design... as in Ideas worth spreading.

If you're not already familiar with TED (many folks are, it's been around since 1984), let me wander about ad nauseam for a bit.  Imagine people of all types of intellectual and experiential backgrounds, sharing the heart of their research, lives, or dreams.  From Al Gore and his environmental chutzpah to Philippe Petit, the World Trade Center wire walker, these are amazing story-tellers.  Put them all in a live theater setting, surrounded by people of similar statue, all coming together to weave a beautiful pattern of inspiration.  It's like Speaker's Circle at MU without the weirdos and freaks.  Or at least the dangerous ones.

So I don't have to rephrase it, here's a description from the TED site:
Held annually in Long Beach and simulcast in Palm Springs, the TED conference is at the heart of TED. More than a thousand people now attend, indeed, the event sells out a year in advance -- and the content has expanded to include science, business, the arts and the global issues facing our world. Over four days, fifty speakers each take an 18-minute slot, and there are many shorter presentations, including music, performance and comedy.

The original small conference has morphed into a massive enterprise of idea-sharing around the world and a yearly $100K award to the concept deemed worth of the TED Prize.  You can check out more historic details here about TED's background.  To be fair, there are complaints of elitism due in part to the invitee selection process (part of which is dictated by a $7500 entry fee and a very subjective group decision on whether you count enough to make a difference in the world), but then again, these people are amazing.  And most of the content is available online for free.

What I want to dive into today is the TED iPad app.  Cue lots of pictures starting ...  now.

(And you'll have to click on these screenshots to get the full effect.)

After the preliminary download, you get the home page with a selection of featured presentations.  Click on the Inspire Me tab and the coolness kicks in.

Choose your topic; sometimes you want to laugh or be blown away.

Choose your timeframe 'cause you don't always have a rainy Saturday to blow on the couch surfing through other genius's accomplishments...

Be inspired to change your world or your mind or your neighborhood after listening to courageous stockbroker who moonlights as a volunteer firefighter. Or a hip-hop artist who blows your mind with creative loops.  Or an inventor who's developed a solar stove that's going to keep women in the African bush country from collecting wood miles from the safety of their village.

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