TED2007 Day One: things that knocked my hat in the creek

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I had my mind blown in a thousand different directions by TED2007 today.  My big impression was having felt the future, in myriad ways.  From hallway conversations to the content of speaker presentations to the feeling of just being a part of it all, it was a fabulous first day. 

My assignment, as handed down by the head office of TED, is to tell you about the thing which blew my mind the most.  However, I’m going to take the easy route and talk about everything buzzing in my mind right now.  All the speakers were wonderful, but here are my personal highlights.  So bear with me; here we go:

  • Philippe Starck:  Proof positive that tangents are but the arcs of greater circles, Philippe gave us a very big picture look at life, beauty, meaning, the universe, and brushes for one’s toilet and mouth.  No photos, no precious design shots, just him and the space around him dancing around the stage in a virtuostic lesson in what it means to be a charismatic speaker.  Strictly nonlinear in presentation — and likely uncomfortable to some — his time on stage tickled me pink, and was formidable!  Watch for the TEDTalks on this one.  You need to see it to understand it all.
  • Hans Rosling:  How does one go about topping your previous world-changing effort?  Hans Rosling did it.  With equal parts killer interface design + serious storytelling + oodles of data + approximately a third of a meter of reliable Swedish steel, Hans Rosling pulled it all off.
  • Murray Gell-Mann: Was the field of particle physics ever presented in a more human, accessible way?  Elegance personified.  I loved every minute of this.  It was like being in the room with a triumvirate of geniuses: Newton, Einstein, Gell-Mann.  Wow.
  • Jeff Han:  Okay, I want one.  Please.  I want one.
  • Steve Miller: As part of TEDUniversity, told stories about Tiger Woods to reveal some elegant points about how to set standards of excellence and then rise to meet them.
  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar:  A moving essay on jazz, leadership, responsibility, and the need to look deep within to find excellence.  Inspiring.
  • Raul Midon:  A degree of artistic achievement which made we weep, so powerful was his music.  The high point of Day One.  And recipient of my TED Quote of the Day Award:  "Feel the fear, but do it anyway".

Onward!  Tomorrow bodes to be another amazing day.

photo credit: Jurvetson