TED Global 2013 – Notes from the conference

I have been back home for about three weeks now since the event. I still cannot really comprehend that I actually attended TED Global this year.

I learned so much and I am still digesting all the wonderful ideas that were exchanged. I am so excited to bring all my ideas back to Wooster and begin working towards our upcoming event. The application for TEDxWooster has been sent in and hopefully they will grant us a license again.

I have been posting the videos to my facebook page, but here again a few that have been uploaded to the main TED page from the conference:

Here is my personal ranking:

1. http://www.ted.com/talks/charmian_gooch_meet_global_corruption_s_hidden_players.html

2. http://www.ted.com/talks/lesley_hazleton_the_doubt_essential_to_faith.html

3. http://www.ted.com/talks/raffaello_d_andrea_the_astounding_athletic_power_of_quadcopters.html

4. http://www.ted.com/talks/daniel_suarez_the_kill_decision_shouldn_t_belong_to_a_robot.html

5. http://www.ted.com/talks/manal_al_sharif_a_saudi_woman_who_dared_to_drive.html

6. http://www.ted.com/talks/juliana_rotich_meet_brck_internet_access_built_for_africa.html

7. http://www.ted.com/talks/joseph_kim_the_family_i_lost_in_north_korea_and_the_family_i_gained.html

8. http://www.ted.com/talks/george_papandreou_imagine_a_european_democracy_without_borders.html

9. http://www.ted.com/talks/eric_x_li_a_tale_of_two_political_systems.html

10. http://www.ted.com/talks/didier_sornette_how_we_can_predict_the_next_financial_crisis.html

During the conference I took quite a few pages of notes, so I thought I’d share them. Hopefully they are legible for others. once I am finished with the current commission I am working on I will spend about an hour putting together a few key points that I took away from each talk.

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Day 5: Start of the End

Today was full of emotions!


I will tell more tomorrow, but let’s just say I saw Alexa Meade on stage, Jamie Cullum preform, Pico Iver dliever an amazing talk, and Joseph a north korean boy share the story of his escape and reach out to his sister and mother from the TEDglobal stage. Not only this, but I also recieved about 5 businesscards and had the pleasure of meeting one of tomorrow’s speakers An Xiao Mina.


Unfortunately tomorrow is an early start once again! Once I have all my notes up on the blig I promise to tell more. Some of the videos will be released this summer but unfortunately the rest will be released in the fall. I will therefore try to fill in all my gaps and short comings as soon as I get on the plane back home.



Day 4: Half way there!

Wednesday was a crazy day in many ways.

The morning started with Session 4 titled: “Money Talks”. I feel as if I have earned an undergraduate degree in Economics just by sitting in the audience. There were some great points made about the current state of our global economy and the different factors that contribute to the instability we face in the western world.

Dider Sornette really stole the show for me. His team working from the ETH in Zurich has been abe to diagnose the market very accurately based on a new theory he had titled “dragon-kings”. The funny thing is that his theory mimics other biological processes such as birth or epileptic seizures. So, he reasons that it should really come as no surprise that when the market and economy are doing extremely well, this inflation and high volatility leads to an inevitable release (often in form of a drastic loss).

The other highlight from this session was former pick-pocket Apollo Robbins who made a fool of one of our audience members for our entertainment, but also made a fool of us (the audience) in the process. While he took the mans wallet, watch and credit card (while he was fully aware he would be pick-pocketed), he managed to somehow change his shirt without anyone in the audience noticing. Concluding, he posed the question “If you could hold someones full attention, what would you do with that time and power?”.

We then had a quick networking break and i went to play ping -pong with the droid robots. http://www.ted.com/talks/raffaello_d_andrea_the_astounding_athletic_power_of_quadcopters.html

The next session was one of my favorites  Titled: Listening to Nature, it feature Bernie Krause, Marla Spivak, Yaron Herman, and Suyzanna Herculano-Heuzel. Bernie’s talk was probably the standout, beside the wonderful improvised composition Yaron played on the piano. Bernie Krause talked about the unobserved effect selective logging could still have on the biophony of a geographical location. This effect can show us exactly how greatly we are damaging an area.

We then turned the world on its head and discussed the outliers, but I think at the point my concentration faded a bit, or maybe the talked just couldn’t really hold up to the others I had heard so far.

However, after this section the real winners of the day came out. There were multiple scientific advanced that were shared, and I will explain more of them later once I post my notes, but basically the sessions title was “regeneration, and it was just that. We discussed the brain often and new ways to administer vaccines. The new method of administering vaccines is actually an idea Chris Rogers shared with me 5 years or so ago. He said, “one day all you will have to do is touch your skin to administer a drug”. Well maybe we haven’t gotten that far just yet, but there will be a patch very soon that you can simply stick on your skin. More importantly, this patch is pain-free, doesn’t require liquid vaccines and requires 1/6 of the potency of any drug being administered.


Concluding this day TEDx organizers were invited to a tapas bar by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation and and food was absolutely wonderful. I then went home and took full advantage of the additional sleep I would be receiving.  This is why I didn’t post last night. My apologies to those of your that were waiting on a story.

Day 3: Let the Sessions begin!

This morning I woke up to a beautiful sunny scottish day. I didn’t have much time so I decided not to go for a run and instead prepare for the day ahead.

I took a shower, organized my bag and began my walk over to the University Lyceum for our second TEDUnivsersity session. In the TEDUniversity sessions attendees take the stage and share their insights.

My favorite talk was given by Francesca and Roberto D’Angelo. The talked about Francesca’s difficult pregnancy, which required an 8 month bedrest. After giving birth the first couple weeks went smoothly until they discovered that their son Mario had had a stroke. This stroke had killed the right side of his brain, which meant he couldn’t move the left side of his body. Therapy taught them methods such as using mirrors to help Mario visualize the use of his right hand. As they worked with Mario they become increasingly aware that as parents they were his mirror, which caused them to reevaluate how they approached this ‘problem’. Now they take Mario along with them on their journeys, hoping to open his mind to possibilities and provide positive role models for his mirror that is the world around him. (I almost cried at the end of this talk, it was truly a TED moment)
After this we played a game of Mass Multiplayer Thumb Wars! It was lead by Jane McGonigal, and if you havent seen her TED talk on superbetter I highly suggest you follow this link: http://www.ted.com/talks/jane_mcgonigal_the_game_that_can_give_you_10_extra_years_of_life.html

Today’s game of thumb wars connected the entire audience, we literally had a chain that included every attendee in the room! I managed to with both the games I was playing and have therefore become a legendary grand master! (according to Jane)

We then concluded the session y hearing from two speaker on technological advancements. The first was the BRCK, which is a small device that can tap into other networks so that during blackouts you can still access the internet in remote areas. The second was aerodynamic advancements that will make travel more comfortable, by creating parts of planes that mimic the structure and lightness of bones. Using 3D-printing technologies to construct these parts it has now become a viable option and allows for more creative innovation.
Leaving the Lyceum we walked over to the EICC. The was security lined up on the streets, as TED was expecting protestors who were there to demonstrate against George Papandreou.

We had about 30minutes until the doors of the main hall opened, and loud trumpets began playing over the speaker system announcing that it was time to head into the conference room. Once inside the stage was magically lit and decorated. Everyone sat down, I quickly introduced myself to my neighbor and then the lights went down and TEDGlobal 2013 officially began its first session. A scottish carynx was played to commence the conference. You can get a quick update on all the highlights of the day here: http://blog.ted.com/2013/06/11/in-case-you-missed-it-highlights-of-day-1-at-tedglobal-2013-think-again/

I have about 13 pages of notes I’ll add to this blog post once I get back home and scan them. For now though since it is getting late again I will have to make it short.

The rest of the day was just one incredible talk after the next. I can honestly say that there was only one speaker that faced extreme nerves and forgot what she wanted to say. Regardless, the crowd was supportive and she finished her talk successfully. It was nice to see that even the big events have their glitches, and that it is all just a matter of how you handle them.

Each ession was followed with a one hour break, and session three concluded with Natasha Bedingfield preforming three songs, one of which was played for the very first time on the TEd stage, titled “I like you”. Her last song was “Unwritten”, which I now view and understand in an entirely different way from when I had played it on repeat at the age of 15!

After this we all went over to the Sheraton where the oficial opening party was held, there was fantastic food and great conversations and I got to meet some of the speakers, including Natasha Bedingfield herself, who is of course very down to earth and immensely interested in psychology. I also coincidentally bumped into Hetain Patel’s wife Eva standing alone at one of the tables. When I expressed my fascination with his performance and the very delicately eloquent way they were able to convey inherent truths about our human nature and identity, she thanked me for expressing their vision so beautifully. I have promised Eva that I would write out what I have verbally expressed to both herself and Hetain.

However, it will have to wait for a while, as it is once again 12pm and time for bed. There is still so much i want to share and I havent even gotten to the highlights really.

One last thought! Watch this video, I will be playing with these robots this week, but what they have been able to create is truly remarkable!


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Day 2: TEDGlobal 2013

Tonight’s entry is going to be very short.

I will try to get more written tomorrow, but today was a very busy day!

I woke up and went for a 5km run around the area, and then got dressed and walked over to the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

TEDGlobal 2013 - Badge

After signing, in I received my gift bag and badge! So many goodies inside…an umbrella, urbanears, a dragonfly converter, a stylus and a vapur water bottle.

IMG_7554                                                             IMG_7557

This morning began with a Workshop  ‘Taming Wicked Problems!”, lead by Tom Wujec. I received a book after the Workshop and proceeded to the TEDInsitute Session which featured:

Tokunbo Ajasa-Oluwa (GoThinkBig) – investing in people’s potential

Jeremy Bentham (Shell) – making future memories to better visualize a path toward success

Kate Groch (Bush Schools) – providing access to technology to aid education in rural Africa

Jennifer Healey (Intel) – personal digital data as a future currency of exchange

Chris Paretta (State Street) – being able to think wide and have deep knowledge of disciplines

Mahadev Raman (Arup) – maintaining the human environmental confort zone (20-25`C, 30-70% humidity

Philippe Schulz (Renault-Nissan) – leaving the oil business to develop environmentally conscious automobiles

Ton Wujec (Autodesk) – how design and creativity can aid innovation and ideas

Once this session concluded everyone walked over to the University Lyceum for our first TEDUniversity session featuring attendees! The inside of the theater was absolutely beautiful and very TED.

Concluding the University session we walked back over to the conference centre for some friendly networking before being bussed over to the National Museum for the evening reception. There everyone spent another few hours meeting other attendees and enjoying conversations about the day’s events. At the reception I met Arthur Benjamin, who is completely amazed by the 5 million views his talk about Mathmagic received. He took the time to explain his process briefly and explained what the seemingly random words he mentioned during his calculations meant!

I then bumped into Tokunbo again. I had told him how much I could relate to his talk earlier, and we began talking more specifically about our stories. I hope to run into him again to discuss in more detail how I could possibly become involved with his organization!

I then walked home and edited a few images from yesterday’s adventures and tried to keep my blog post short as tomorrow will be another packed and busy day! We didn’t even really get to the big speakers yet!

on the way up                                        IMG_7522

IMG_7526                        at the top

another angle                                       IMG_7523

IMG_7528           TEDx’ers get creative!IMG_7531
….and they told me it always rained in Scotland….


Day 1: Complete

Finally, I am in bed and I have a quiet moment to myself before I pass out!

After arriving in Edinburgh I grabbed my luggage and left the airport looking for a cab into town. This entire trip was very quiet. Usually I speak to more people during my travels, but I hypothesize that I received a bit of peace and quiet from the universe, since this week is going to be filled with excitement. My driver (also very quiet) was from Poland and entertained my small talk occasionally.

I have already encountered my first faux pas. I thought I could simply show up to the TEDxOrganizer event, since I was told I could leave my luggage at the cafe and on the bus once we went on the hike. However, I should have gone through registration first and picked up my conference badge instead. Luckily everyone was very accommodating and they let me in even without my badge. I walked up the royal blue staircase and entered the workshop. The room was entirely set in TEd colors, soft velvet curtains hung from the front stage and the walls were a deep terracotta. The food on the middle buffet tables was already gone, but I grabbed myself a cup of coffee and joined in on one of the smaller circles. Once the first ‘Dive Deep Topic’ sessions had ended, I decided to sit in on a filming workshop Angela Chang.

Angela is lead of production for TED. As I sat in one of the chairs in the big circle surrounding her whiteboard, it soon became clear that only myself and another TEDx organizer were going to participate in the discussion of this topic. Filming was difficult at our TEDx this year, so I figured that any input from Angela could help our process next year. The three of us were able to have a great discussion about camera angles, placement, and lighting. We were also able to discuss the process of editing and the best programs to use. I have a whole page of notes that will be extremely useful to our organizing team.

The TED team then concluded the sessions and asked everyone to walk to the buses that would take us to the foot of Arthur’s Seat. After driving out toward the park we were given three hiking options: 1. easy, 2. medium, and 3. hard. I decided to join the “hard” group, and found the challenge quite pleasant. The hike up was beautiful, the sun was shining and there was a nice cool breeze from the ocean. The entire way up I had a great conversation with another attendee, Kinga, who was also from poland.

English: Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh, viewed from...

English: Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh, viewed from Pollock Halls. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Once summiting the peak, we decided to take arial shots of ourselves spelling TEDx further down the hill. After enjoying the sun and the view of the city we began walking back down to the buses, which began dropping us off at the hotel locations. As I am staying at a wonderful family’s guest room, I simply got off at the nearest stop. This is when the second small adventure of the day began. I went to grab my suitcase from below the bus, and was told by the driver it was on the other coach! No one had told me that they made this switch, so the other bus met us at our location and dropped off my bag. Once I figured all of this out I hopped in a cab and took it over to the B&B I am staying at.

The family wasn’t home yet so once I got to the house I sat on a bench enjoying the last 10minutes of sun. When they arrived I was warmly greeted. The room is very spacious and they have been taking fantastic care of me already.

This evening there was a reception up at the castle, so they offered to drop me at the mound from where I then walked up the hill to the castle. At the castle I checked in and grabbed a glass of white wine, finally ready to relax. I began speaking to other organizers. TEDxBerlin, TEDxChange etc. etc.

I also began speaking to members of the staff. I was able to have a longer conversation with Salome Heusel about TEDx and her road to becoming part of the TED crew. The conversation then lead into the discussion of TEDxYouth a fantastic program for children.

After making a few more rounds of conversation it was time to head out. Other attendees continued on to the bar, and I decided to make my way back home. I wanted to be sure I could find my way back. I arrived back at the guest room and had a friendly chat with the father and his oldest son. Katharine (the mother) then came in and asked me what time I would like to have breakfast and that she would bring it into the room in the morning.

So now I am in bed, and going to go to sleep! I plan on running a bit in the morning and then heading over to registration after a nice gluten-free breakfast!

At the Zurich Airport

Today I am at the airport waiting to board my flight from:  Zurich –> Amsterdam –> Edinburgh.

I still can’t believe that I will actually be attending TEDGlobal 2013! I am both excited and nervous about this opportunity. The people I will be meeting there are most likely leaps and bounds beyond where I stand in life right now.

They have just begun boarding, I thought I would have more time to work on my first blog post. I guess it’s a good sign!

Hopefully, I have purged myself of all my flight troubles on my last trip. (I say this with caution)

Unfortunately some of the TEDxOrganizers Workshop events have already begun this morning. I should arrive in time for the TEDxOrganizers hike to Arthur’s Seat though and I am very glad that I decided to bring my camera. (even if it’s one of the heaviest things in my bag!)

For those of you following, I will post again tonight!