I attended TEDx Portland today. The inaugural event (annual events are planned) is Portland’s first TEDx event. TEDx leverages the global TED brand and applies it to locally organized events.
TEDx Portland’s theme was “crossroads”, and every presenter wove it into their presentation in some way. In addition to approximately 10 presenters, there were musicians as well as four official TED videos shown.
I think the organizers did an amazing job. I know it’s tremendously difficult to organize events of this type and size, and even more so when doing such an event for the first time. Although I’m sure that the organizers must have managed their fair share of emergencies, I would say the conference itself went off without a hitch. Registration, venue, food, timeliness, sound systems, all were virtually perfect. The only mistake I saw was one small hiccup with a microphone that was resolved within fifteen seconds. A really amazing job by the organizers.
The venue was the Gerding Theatre at the Amory Building, which seemed perfect for the event. As it was standing room only, I suspect the organizers would have liked slightly more room, but the Gerding Theatre provides a nice, TED-appropriate atmosphere.
The musicians were fabulous too, although as I was live blogging the event, I’ll confess that I didn’t give the musicians as much attention as I would have liked.
I was inspired in particular by the Greg Bell talk, in which he spoke about personal attitude, the power that our language has, and the long time we must invest in and believe in our dreams. I was also inspired by Jim Riswold and Brian Drucker, two presenters who spoke together on cancer, and cancer medicine. Their talks were moving, and I didn’t capture notes, as there was no way I could capture the spirit of what they spoke about.
I thought Genevieve Bell’s talk on how we need to encourage being bored was important, and although I resonated with what she said, I thought she could have brought more data and research on the topic. Nonetheless, I’m committed to spending some time offline in the coming weeks to allow myself the room to grow bored.
Listening to Scott Kveton talk about the impact of open, social, and mobile on our times was also great. He linked how one individual’s actions in Tanzania plus the power of open, mobile, and social has lead to uprising through an entire region of the world.
I was really taken by John Jay’s notion that every city has its moment in time, and that Portland is having ours now, and we must seize that moment to influence the greater world, before our moment has moved on, and the world focus is on another city.
Here are my notes from talks. I apologize for typos and mistakes. I’m particularly bad with capturing names unless I see them written down. Sorry for anything I mangled!
- Scott Kveton, Urban Airship, on Open, Mobile, Social
- Elliot Mainzer, BPA, on the electric grid and renewable energy
- Ric Elias, on living through plane crash and how it changed his outlook on life
- Genevieve Bell, Director Interactive Design at Intel, on the importance of boredom
- Tinker Hatfield, VP Creative Design at Nike, on design
- Adora Svitak, Child Author, on the importance of children
- Roberta Conner, Director Tamastslikt Cultural Institute, on the importance of indigenous language and cultural knowledge
- Greg Bell, author, on language and positive thinking and dreams
- Mia Birk, urban planner, on biking and community
- Karen Brooks, Portland Monthly, on Portland’s unique food culture and movement
- John Jay, Weiden+Kennedy, on the Creative Community