TEDxNewYork is held at GreyNY, 200 Fifth Avenue. We meet every week (mostly) on Fridays now and (mostly) from 1-2pm. We are open to the public. If you want to attend, send a note to admin@tedxnewyork.com (that's Don McKinney & Chel O'Reilly) with your vitals. Our biggest limitation is space so give us plenty of notice and we'll do our best to accommodate. Hope to see you at one of our events soon.

Monday, January 26, 2009

TED Talk-ers aren't all talk...

I’m waxing romantic about the line-up of speakers.

Looking forward to an author’s talk in particular is a strange thing: I feel I know you, dear author, I’ve heard the voices in my head as if you were speaking to me and to me alone. And you don’t know me at all. Mr. Sacks and Ms. Roach, I swear I have not stalked you. I have just loved you intimately from afar. I read your books. I do have to apologize to Mary Roach though: I was broke in college when I read Stiff. Damn, it was good though.

Jill Tarter is going to be surreal. How does one get away with dreaming aloud such big crazy ideas? On second thought, why don’t we all? Crazy is a good way to get places sometimes. At least, there are many place we wouldn’t get to if we weren’t crazy…

The categories for the speakers laid out include “See” and “Predict”, which are all-male; “Understand”, “Discover” and The Prize itself are all female dominated. No judgment on that, I’m just noticing out loud.

I also have a list of people I’m really looking forward to see talk merely for their titles alone:
P. W. Singer, military analyst
Margaret Wertheim, figurer
Nathan Wolfe, virus hunter
Olafur Eliasson, sculptor of light and space (Full disclosure: I'm also a fan of Turrell's work with light as a medium from way back when I lived in AZ.)

The one job title that sounds slightly dull (with sincere apologies, sir): statistician.  But didn't I learn that economics is exciting from Hans Rosling?  Who would charm me with stats?  Nate Silver. YEAH, BABY! When the election was overwhelming and I was full of fear, I could curl up with his numbers like a baby with a blankie. A strange, geeky baby, but yes, I slept better basking in the intelligent warmth of his website.

More soon,

Friday, January 9, 2009


I am officially allowing myself to start daydreaming about TED. Part of me still doesn’t want to say out loud that I’m going, lest the plane should fail on the way to CA and I die before getting there. But now, I’ll take that risk, I’ll be brave and consider a future with me in it—a TED that I get to go to. I’m going to Palm Springs.

And I’m freaking out.

Groucho Marx said he wouldn’t want to belong to any organization that would have him as a member, and I fear a little that the awe of TED will dull slightly to me now that I’m going.

Nah. If you see the machine up close is it fabulously demystified or the magic of it intensified? I kept picturing people with microscopes. They got down to molecules to atoms to sub-atomic particles and haven’t stopped being fascinated.

TED@PalmSprings has been twittering for a while about acquiring a new skill before the conference (you have 74 days to learn a new skill! 50 days! 31 days!). My colleagues who are going to TED in Long Beach have not been instructed to learn a new trick but I’m up for it. I think.

I wasn’t sure what I want to learn to do. The Times gave me a little mind-fuck the other morning with my coffee about procrastination issues. It seems I’m “self-handicapping” by not getting started on developing my new skill yet so that I’ll either be awesome (for someone who really didn’t try) or be not-so-good (but that’s okay because I didn’t try.)

I could perhaps develop a special neurosis of some kind by TED –an issue about not learning an amazing new skill by February. Would that count as a skill? Because I bet I’d be really good at it.

I bought an Irish penny whistle (key of D) and practiced in earnest last night. Fun. Harder than I had guessed. I forgot that in addition to the excitement of learning something new, there’s also an inherent requisite humility. I sucked.

I’ll be blogging from TED while I soak up the experience. Between now and then will delve into thoughts on speakers and gearing up in general for the next month. Like I need any gearing up. I’m already psyched.