There are a couple of conferences I’d go to every year if I could afford the ticket. (As it is, I go to them when folks are nice enough to ask me to speak or otherwise participate.) One of these is TED – Technology, Entertainment and Design – an amazing annual conference help in Monterrey, CA. I attended this past year and tried to blog the heck out of it.
There were three reasons to blog the conference. One is that Chris Anderson, the curator of the event, invited me specifically with the hope that I’d blog, as well as giving a short talk. A second is that I found most of the talks at TED hugely useful, and I use my blog as my notebook. (I frequently search for notes I know I’ve made on a topic by searching on Google with “site:ethanzuckerman.com” – I’m embarrased that my personal information organization is so poor that Google’s index of my website is the way I organize my notes, but that’s how it is…)
The third reason is that TED is a very exclusive conference, one that very few people get to attend. Tickets cost roughly $4000, plus travel, accomodation and all those other niceties. (Like I said, I couldn’t attend unless the organizers waived the fee for me.) This means that some of the very smart things said at the conference circulate through a limited audience and miss the larger audience of people interested in these issues. I figured that by blogging the talks (alongside master blogger Bruno Giussani), I could help some of these ideas reach a wider audience.
Well, TED has taken a big step towards making the conference more accessible – they’ve begun posting video of some of the talks given at the TED 2006 conference, with plans to post more. They’re available in a wide range of formats, and they’re released under Creative Commons, which allows for the possibility of an Al Gore/Tony Robbins mashup. (Read this post from Bruno to find out why that would be especially funny.)
Let me especially recommend Majora Carter’s talk, which was one of the best activist talks I’ve ever heard – I tried to capture a bit of it in a post, “Green is the New Black“. Whether you watch the video or just listen to the audio, it’s very much worth your time.
(If you get hooked on the TED talks, let me also recommend catching up on the talks from Pop!Tech, one of the other three conferences I block out on my calendar every year. For the past two years, Pop!Tech has been posting audio from their conference, including the talk I gave two years ago…)
Congratulations to my friend June Cohen who has worked so hard to launch this project for TED…