What’s Next for TED? How Do We Get Even *More* Open?

Ruby Jane at TEDxAustin, Feb 20, 2010 - Kirk TuckCES, the Consumer Electronics Show is a Tech conference. Ruby Jane, a 15 year-old musical savant who performed at TEDxAustin, is not Tech. Not at all.

When I was explaining to someone where I was on Saturday they said, “Oh, the Tech conference.”

So while TED (Technology Entertainment Design) has some hearty brand recognition globally, perhaps the acronym needs to evolve. I woke up with this need, to re-brand TED. The best I have come up with, before my coffee has completed the brew cycle is Transforming Evolutionary Dreams. Because where CES is about “consuming” and “electronics” as in gadgets and computers, TED is really about fueling change rather than fueling purchasing frenzies.

One other issue often taken up as a criticism of TED is elitism. And for the original TED conference it is understandable. To get to the ONE TRUE TED you pay thousands of dollars to join the club. And then you hope, beg and negotiate for an invitation to the actual show. And if you are a near miss you go to one of the virtual satellite viewing events, where TED ONE is streamed live.

A number of observations I have about TED.

  • It is elitist. (Just being in the room with all these smart people in Austin, I know I am privileged to be here.)
  • It is exclusionary. (By the nature of the any event, there is a physical size limit. And if you want to see the videos or streaming broadcasts, you have to have access to a computer and high-speed access to the Internet.
  • It is not revolutionary. (There are great conferences all over the world. Austin’s own SXSW is coming up in two weeks and has magic in the synergy of MUSIC, FILM and INTERACTIVE. I am certain that most if not all of the people at TEDxAustin will be participating in some SXSW events.)
  • It is evolutionary. (How can you change the world for the better? How can you change your life to align more closely with your dreams? What is the power of a gathering of folks with intentional good in mind?)

So to me TED is not about Technology (although technology allows much of TED to happen.) TED is not about Entertainment (although to be effective your presentation should contain some elements of performance.) And TED used to be, but is not so focused on Design.

So I am really *not* proposing a change in the TED maxim or acronym. But a question of the language behind what the “T” and the “E” and the “D” stand for. What I would’ve preferred to hear, when I chatted with my friend online was, “Oh TED, that conference about changing the world.”

One dream, one heart, one mind at a time.

Yep, that’s what I *wanted* to hear.

Namasté TED.

@jmacofearth
permalink: http://bit.ly/TEDx-means

Some additional TED+ ideas:

  • TEDi (interactive – 100% virtual conference, on all the time, on around the world) Alternatives: TEDv (virtual)
  • TEDo (open – pure collaborative TED mechanism)
  • TEDc (camp – defined and designed in the moment of the event)
  • TEDu (uber – hyper – bigger – always on!)
  • TED3 (third world – how do we bring TED to the non-tech, non-wired world?)
  • TEDa (advance – let’s *do* activities, let’s participate, to move these ideas into actions!)

IAMACONNECTOR.COM has a growing TEDxAustin page: TEDxAustin Connect (please join and ask for admin rights, and you can add your connections from this masterful event!)

The official Flickr stream of Kirk Tuck images from TEDxAustin is UP!

[the image of Ruby Jane, above, was taken by Kirk Tuck at TEDxAustin on February 20, 2010.]

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. TED is a sham. It parades itself as some kind of faux intellectualism while its topics are completely shallow on content and heavy on presentation gimmickry.

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