TED. Three letters, a veritable treasure trove of new ideas, challenging thinking and incredible people with finely honed presentation skills.
I first stumbled across the TED initiative in 2006 when I was shown a presentation by Hans Rosling using Gapminder to do some incredible data visualisations. From that day onward, they have been a regular both in my RSS feed readers and in my browser as I immersed myself in the site from which I have gained so much.
It was with huge excitement then that I saw that TED was not only allowing independently organised events (under itâ€™s banner of TEDx), but one of these events was going to be in Auckland, New Zealand â€“ my home town.
I must admit I was initially reluctant to fill out the registration form, as chest puffery and self promotion doesnâ€™t sit well with New Zealanders. Encouraged by some colleagues, and with the knowledge that the official event attendee spots are so coveted I did sit myself down and force my fingers to the keyboard to tap out an introspective view of what I have achieved to date, and why I should be amongst those fortunate enough to sit in attendance. The exercise in itself was worthwhile as it gave me an opportunity to cast back over many years in the technology industry, and to re-celebrate a number of the awesome innovations that I had been involved in over that time. The submit button was clicked, the â€œThank you for registeringâ€ page loaded â€“ and then all there was to do was wait.
In the fullness of time, I received an acceptance email and, excitedly, I checked in with my other colleagues to find they too had secured their place â€“ timing-wise, the TEDx Auckland event was scheduled for the day before a weekend away at TelecomONE, a FOO style “Innovation Unconference”, so I knew that we would be in for one heck of a lot of brain stretching. We made our plans to meet up and attend together, and then again we waited for the beginning of the first ever TEDx Auckland, October 01, 2009.