In mid-March I had the privilege of attending my first ever TED conference, and while it has taken me a while to finally post a recap from my experience. Many people have asked me “How was TED” and I usually just respond “Amazing” because it is so hard to describe. So here goes my attempt at outlining some of the most fun and intellectually stimulating days I have ever experienced.
When I was getting ready to attend the conference, I knew I was going to be watching a plethora of TED talks but outside of that, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. The experience ended up being so much more than just the Talks themselves, it was the people, the discussions, and the experiences that truly makes TED what it is. Here is what I found:
- The Talks – Yes the talks were amazing, but very hard to sum up. Some were just funny, others about the newest developments in technology and others from people really trying to affect change. I made a commitment to attend each talk, and even the talks I may not have normally clicked on when watching TED at home, I attended. This proved to be so valuable because of the truly broad and inspiring set of ideas I was exposed to (i.e. Sting singing, Firefly communities, etc.). I found this post from TED following the conference outlining the 5 days of talks on one page.
- The People – This is by the far the best part of the conference. I found 700 other people all on my wave length and all doing very interesting things. From a successful venture capitalist to the head of Target’s design group to a NASA space economist I truly met and made connections that I will foster for a long time to come.
- The Experiences – TED really knows how to put on a world class event. From mountain top parties to design workshops hosted by leaders in the field, there was always a ton of activities and stimuli to choose from.
- The Follow-Up – Its been a few weeks but I am still talking to and in touch with many of the people I met during the conference. The global connections are likely ones I will rekindle as I travel but we have even been participating in Google Hangout sessions to keep the conversations going.
All in all, TED was an amazing experience and one I hope to repeat for years to come. It’s more than great ideas, its a community and movement that is something worth experiencing and being a part of.