Last Saturday September 28 I attended the third TEDxBergen conference. It was my first time attending a TED event here I'll just make a short writeup.
For those of you who haven't heard of TED before, it's an organization organized around “ideas worth sharing.” TED organizes various events where people get to share their ideas and the best presentations get put online on ted.com. Also, the TED organization also lend its brand to other events allowing them to call themselves TEDx events.
Overall it was a nice day of lectures, I'll open with that before going into each part and writing my impressions.
Registration & morning coffee: Simply lovely. Friendly crew. Overall well organized.
The TEDx concept: After we all had teemed in and sat down a video was played in the large hall where we sat. Before us were three grand screens. The video was a very well introduction to the TEDx concept and TED in general. Throughout the video I couldn't help but notice the discrete disclaimers which emphasized that the opinions of the speakers did not necessarily reflect the opinions of the TED organization. The presentation which followed the video was a pure marketing ploy by Marine Harvest who must have sponsored the event heavily, they must have. And I perfectly understand why the organizers went with this advertising route. Additionally, in one of the scheduled breaks we were all encouraged to go check out several Tesla cars standing outside. It felt both clever and decadent.
The lectures: All in all, all the speakers were impressive. What struck me was that watching four lectures in a row plus a video required some stamina. There were three 1.5hr sessions, totaling a 4.5hrs worth of lectures. We surely got our money's worth in terms of lecture time and food but I couldn't help wondering if it hadn't been better if they'd have shorter lectures and longer breaks.
When watching ted videos online it's easy to either jump to the point or take longer breaks inbetween the lectures, sitting in the large hall watching these lectures didn't afford such functionality. On the other side, I does make a difference watching a good speaker live.
A week later I have to admit to myself that attending TEDxBergen was something I did mostly to experience the concept up close. More than being simply inspired, I was impressed by many of the speakers’ presenting techniques and it was interesting to watch the overall event organization. I've heard that being allowed to host a TEDx event is no trivial ordeal as there are a number of rules to follow in order to adheer to the TED format.
Should you attend a TEDx event? Yes. If only to see a lot of other hopeful people who are there to connect and get inspired and start things. Be open-minded yet critical to the content and supportive of the organizers volunteering. Not all of the lectures will be as inspirational as the others, just because people are different. People who do impressive and important work do not necessarily present it well. Only the best videos make it up to ted.com which is a quite strategic move by TED becomes an effective way to manage their brand.
It's only fitting that I finish off this post with a ted.com video to inspire. Cheers. :) And if you're not quite sold on the ted concept take a look at this.