TED’s Content Producer, Kelly Stoetzel, helps choose the speakers for every TED conference. She shares her thoughts after TEDGlobal 2007 — on the conference buzz, the connections and the small moments between the sessions:
I observed so many connections and conversations at the conference that felt like they were changing lives. Like William Kamkwamba, the kid who built his family a windmill. Tom Rielly showed him the Internet for the first time. He’d never seen it. Tom typed his name and “windmill” and said, “Look, this is all the information that’s on the web about *you*.” (As Ethan Zuckerman reports, the TEDGlobal community is getting together to help Kamkwamba get further education.)
It felt like the speakers were more remarkable as individuals, because of what they’ve had to overcome to achieve what they’ve achieved. Corneille Ewango is a perfect example. He has an accent, and he is a little shy, but people really connected with his story. It reminded me that we should take risks with speakers — if the story is great and hasn’t been heard, people will connect. I had to go on stage after William Kamkwamba, wearing a blindfold, to throw hats into the audience, but by the end of his talk, his story is so amazing, so inspiring, I was moved to tears — with a blindfold on!
Especially among the Fellows, there was a huge sense of connection, the optimism and the connections. All the people, all of them wanting to make a difference in the same area — it’ll be really interesting to watch.