TED is an annual event that pulls together some of the greatest and most innovative thinkers of our time. Defined initially as ‘technology, entertainment and design’, TED encompasses far broader topics than that, from the neuro-sciences, to cyborgs, to carbon footprints. Each event consists of a program of filmed talks that are later shared freely on the TED website. Daring in its protocol of limiting attendees to its actual events and revolutionary in its thinking of giving all the talks, presentations and lectures away free on the internet, TED is revitalizing the way we spread ideas.
TEDx was started a little while ago as a way for the community of TED watchers to independently organize their own TED events, using the TED name and following a few certain guidelines set out by TED creator Chris Anderson. TEDx events have been popping up all around the world, from private clubs to large universities. The guidelines state that this independently organized event can extend up to a full day, and can be programed with live speakers or a showcase of filmed TED talks from other events.
Christine Lu and Sage Brennan decided to organize the first TEDxShanghai which was also the first TED event ever in China. I was asked to speak at this all day event which was sponsored and held at M1NT, a unique shareholders’ nightclub in Shanghai. TEDxShanghai was scheduled the day after BarcampShanghai, which was the main crux of the Shanghai schedule for the Geeks on a Plane tour.
I was really excited and nervous about presenting at TED in Shanghai but was able to prep my ‘Open Everything’ talk that I gave at PKN5 a few months back for the event. They placed me last in the list of speakers for the day, defining my talk as a perfect closing keynote. My anxiety of the day was eased by the other amazing line-up of speakers and musicians that preceded me in the programming.
The program included Jason Hsu and Kevin Peng, who started TEDxTaipei, talking about Youth 3.0, Isaac Mao talking about the Sharism Philosophy, Mihela Hladin talking about the Common Sense Index, An Zhu talking about his 1KG concept of travel, Stefano Negri talking about China’s urbanization, Su Yunsheng talking about architectural artistry, Mao Jihong talking about his documentary and his work in the textile industry, Dave McClure talking about Money 2.0, Andrew Lih talking about designing the Internet’s new Public Spaces and four university students talking about topics from animation, free trade and neuro-science. The day’s event also included three performances by local Shanghai musicians: JAMMALA, a drumming musical group, Zhou Yunpeng, a blind troubadour who has an incredible life story and Ginger & Greg, pioneers in the Shanghai jazz scene.
This was the first event TEDx event in China and was broadcasted thru a live video stream on Tudou. All of the talks were recorded and some of them will be selected for the TED website. The Shanghaiist wrote up a great article covering the event and all of the day’s happenings. It is planned that TEDxShanghai will happen a few times a year, with the next one being scheduled in September/October.
Despite all of my anxiety the event went off without a hitch and I really think that my ‘Open Everything’ talk was a great way to end the day. I have already started brainstorming the planning for the next TEDxShanghai with Sage, Christine and Andrew. A geek never sleeps I guess.