Sharing TED Moments …

Tedmoments2Every year, we leave Monterey buzzing about our “TED moments”: those magical instances of creativity and connectivity that can happen only at TED. Some are collective experiences: a moment of profound inspiration on stage ripples through the audience, and you can almost see the lightbulbs illuminating over 500 heads. Others are deeply personal … the kind of “A-ha!” moments that happen when you suddenly connect your own ideas with something far deeper or meet a person who transforms your thinking.

Many bloggers have already shared their TED moments: Bill Liao found his world view changed by Al Gore’s wake-up call on climate change. Something clicked for John Maeda during Ken Robinson’s talk on education. The normally unflappable Ethan Zuckerman found himself tongue-tied in the presence of Dan Dennett. Bruno Giussani mused over the unceremonious removal of Al Gore’s namebadge. And Andrew Anker laughed at himself, with Tipper Gore’s help.

For me, three TED Moments in particular stand out: all moments when our collective energy surged …

  • The groan of disappointment when Julia Sweeney reached the 18-minute mark in her brilliant one-woman show, “Letting Go of God,” and declared, “I’m sorry. I have to stop.”
  • The sharp intake of breath (in a session bearing that name), as Jeff Han breezily manipulated images on his next generation computer interface, shown publicly for the first time at TED.
  • The spontaneous applause following Hans Rosling’s play-by-play explanation of globalization. His fast-paced narration began in 1963, when a distinct gulf separated developed and undeveloped nations. In the former, people enjoyed long lives and chose to have small families; in the latter, life expectancy was short and birth rates high. As the time-lapse graph ticked toward 2005, and nations realigned themselves, Rosling observed: “And now, we all have long lives and small families, and we have [pause] a completely new world.”

But there are so many others! And of course, the beauty of TED is that we all take something different from it. We’re so curious, then, to compare notes … Tell us: What were your TED moments?

Leave comments here, or email me directly: june at ted dot com.