“Organizing a #TEDTalk video night …”

Posted by: Emily McManus

Yesterday, Twitter user @ademoor wrote:

Thinking of organizing a #TEDtalk video night w/ some friends. What’s your absolute favorite must-see talk?

Great question! We RT’ed on @TEDNews. And the replies are worth sharing:

@WackyFiasco: I really appreciated Dan Gilbert’s talk on happiness

@ozteethtweet: hans rosling, can’t get enough, all the world’s problems explained with some amazing graphics, what’s best, gives you hope!

@Cathy_Blackler: the danger of relying on a single story – so powerful for my continuation HS students

@CTStorytelling: a single story when many are needed was awesome!

@lukaszpira: #AimeeMullins is great… #DavidBlaine : whaow ! both give good lessons of life.

@MichaelEasom: Philip Zimbardo and Richard Dawkins TED talks.

@florisvc: the Neil Gershenfeld talk about fablab

@archsaraf: Sir Ken Robinson on Education and Shashi Tharoor on Soft Power

@adfurlan: A must see #TEDtalk: The car for the blind driver by Dennis Hong

@DerMoosealini: David McCandless “The beauty of data visualization” always cheers me up

@jeffpiazza: Sagmeister’s “Power of Time Off

@rozilevi: sarah kay, helen fisher, elif shafak

@garb: favorite TED talk? I have to say Jill Bolte Taylor‘s stroke of insight talk. Also Hans Rosling at TEDWomen.

@ZeeshanSuhail: anything by hans rosling, the one with the woman suffering paralysis attack and lived to recover, and the one by reddit founder

@ChristopherM00: my favorite #TED talk is @CameronHerold‘s lets raise kids to be entrepreneurs

@joeknape: Roger Ebert: Remaking my voice

@DVHeld: Sir Ken Robinson‘s

@3treescoffee: The first Ken Robinson

@jclynnlynn: @DVHeld @3treescoffee @ademoor Sir Ken Robinson +1

@DVHeld: @jclynnlynn @ademoor Yeah, the 3 listed in his TED profile are awesome and inspiring

Is this blog post missing your favorite? Reply to @ademoor, or comment below …

Comments (13)

  • alesa byers commented on Jul 22 2011

    i don’t know how to write this.
    when i saw ademoor’s “organizing a TEDtalk video night” i thought it meant that randoms would watch the same video and then talk about it…
    is that dumb?
    i’ve been watching ted talks way too long and way too alone. i felt my palms sweat when i saw ademoor’s tweet. what a letdown to see it was a tweet for ademoor’s Real friends. wah-wah :(

    • Emily McManus commented on Jul 24 2011

      Alesa — that’s a genius idea. You could start a tweetup — which 5 talks would you want to watch with a virtual crowd?

      • alesa byers commented on Jul 25 2011

        well… if we wanted to have “theme” nights…
        i would say there are three major themes we could go with.
        1) failing = learning (vice verse, of course)
        2) complexity = simplicity (and vice verse)
        3) happiness (but since i’ve read and watched so much in this genre, it’s like beating a dead horse. happy thought, right?! ha)

        if we started with the 1st theme, these i really liked and would fit the theme:
        1 -brene brown’s power of vulnerability
        2 -diana laufenberg’s learn from mistakes
        3 -jk rowling’s fringe benefits of failure (on ted, so it still counts, right?!)
        4 -tim harford’s trial and error and god complex
        5 -kathryn schulz on being wrong

        (i don’t have twitter yet… guess i better get on it if i want virtual friends! ha)

      • alesa byers commented on Jul 25 2011

        i must add this theme!
        4) god vs. atheism

        this would be a really good theme too.
        julia sweeney’s video would be a great intro –but we’d need to get a hold of the whole show!

  • Aldo de Moor commented on Jun 19 2011

    @Benedikt Your point about not just going for the “cream of the crop” is well taken. My asking for recommendations of what people _personally_ consider the best talk was exactly because of that reason. My problem with “Most Popular” ratings is that they become self-reinforcing categories. Once videos/books/games/movies/posts/… are popular, they become more popular, not necessarily because they are better, but because they have the numbers on their side. Especially with inspirational videos like TED talks, where the value is very much in the eye of many different individual beholders, such ratings don’t seem to do justice to the quality of the talks. It’s really yet another variation of “The Long Tail”, this time not with respect to commercial, but life changing goals.

    I agree that adding a theme of “what I am looking for” could make it easier for people to recommend talks or to decide whether they might be interested in joining a video night. However, I was (in this case) not after learning about some particular topic. Instead, I was hoping to feel connected to people I don’t know by sharing in their excitement and sense of inspiration. Something like having an “invisible conversation” where you connect and bond, but in this case without any direct interaction.

    Frankly, I was a bit overwhelmed by the number of suggestions I received. I had expected a couple, maybe 5 recommendations. Instead, I got many dozens (thank you all!) My plan now is a variation on your theme: instead of watching all TED talks (I still have a life to live :-)), I plan to watch all of the talks people suggested to me, with friends preferably, the rest by myself.

    I am quite excited about this topic. I think as a global society we are still at the beginning of truly seeing the value of “mashups”, not as technological gimmick, but as an intricate fabric of ideas, content, conversations, workflows, and, most importantly, a shared sense of values and purpose. Such “idea mashups”, and the actions they generate are helping to redefine our world. In the case of TED one person’s talk may be another person’s start of a new life, the inspiration for a dying organization to revive its mission statement, or perhaps even a catalyst for a mass movement of citizens who have had enough of their irresponsible leaders.

    TED: thank you for making this service freely available, I think you’re doing something very profound for humanity!

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  • Benedikt Heinen commented on Jun 5 2011

    TED is not exactly short of great talks. I am not quite sure whether just picking the ‘favourites’ is going to give the best selection.
    To me, what makes TED special, is that there is a wide variety of talks – there are subjects I like, but better – there are a lot of talks on subjects I might not normally watch. After seeing a few of those – a few months ago – I decided to watch _ALL_ the TED talks.

    So, yes, Ken Robinson’s talks are great – but these fall clearly into the category of talks I would have watched anyhow, as was Larry Lessig’s talk on laws that choke creativity (man, I’d love to really be able to do his presentation style: seriously, wow!).

    Some of the most exhilarating talks for me came from those I would normally have skipped over: Evelyn Glennie , Benjamin Zander have been two of the best talks I’ve seen, that before I wouldn’t have considered to watch.

    Peter Donnelly on stats, Lang’s Origami, Rosling’s world health stats, Barnett’s map for peace, Rives on 4am, Jaime Lerner about cities, Erin McKean’s dictionary, Elizabeth Pisani’s talk on HIV and politics, Temple Grandin on minds, plus the videos of the Raspinyi brothers juggling and Lennart Green’s card magic to round it off — these would all be talks that might not rank as the favourite talk, but adding these adds so much breadth without any compromise in quality…

    So, if you plan a video night – might it be worth while trying to come up with some vague idea about what you’re aiming at.
    Are you after just ‘the cream of the crop’, which is entertaining enough, but leaves out the chance to really also get people interested in watching more. That way, you will get a good video night _plus_ turning it into a massive teaser to get people more interested in TED.

    • commented on Jun 7 2011

      I really appreciate this (post) and more importantly, the comment by you, Benedikt Heinen.

      I think it’s incredible that you have watched all of the TEDTalks. I’ve seen quite a few, but probably not even half of all of the talks. Your insights to some of the lesser-known talks made me glad that I’d seem some (Rosling’s, in particular, but also Green’s card magic), but for the most part, I’m not familiar with most of these. I’ll be sure to check some of them out, along with the ones mentioned in this post!

      With Love and Gratitude,


      • Benedikt Heinen commented on Jun 7 2011

        Let me qualify – I have decided to watch _ALL_ TED talks – I am not sure whether I really have seen _ALL_ of them – so far, I’ve got 918 of them (hand assembled from the various rss sources), but I am not sure whether this is really _ALL_ of them… Unfortunately, there does not seem to be a ‘full’ podcast link for literally all TED talks.

        If you want to try and do the same – it helps to have a lot of time (and admittably, not much of a life outside of it)… ;-)

        • Emily McManus commented on Jun 8 2011

          Hi Benedickt! You can find a full list of all TEDTalks, in spreadsheet form, in the sidebar of this blog or right here: Would you be interested in writing about your experience in watching all the TEDTalks? And — how many others are there who’ve seen them all? Enough to start a club?

      • Benedikt Heinen commented on Jun 8 2011

        Hi Emily,

        thanks for the spreadsheet list – what I think would be good, though, would be an rss list of all talks, so any podcast client can download them. Like possibly many, I tend to download the videos via the podcast and then watch them on the go, instead of over the web…

        There are a couple of individual feeds – but they seem to be organised by themes – which basically, is an institutionalised filter-bubble (to use Eli Pariser’s terminology): choosing one theme already limits you from seeing others. ;-)