“You’re just too good to be true?”  in praise of TEDx and TED.com

Richard Lucas
14th June 2015
Introduction  
So it’s early Sunday morning and  TEDxKraków came to a close yesterday.  Not everyone knows about TED and TEDx. A very  successful businessman and friend told me just last week  – “I really must look into this TEDx thing”. Here is a short introduction about TED and TEDx by Chris Anderson.  For my friend Jonathan maybe the TED journey lies ahead but for me TED.com and TEDx is such a part of my life that the  “My TED story” section  on my profile on TED.com  reads
“I curated TEDxKazimierz in 2015. I spoke at TEDxKraków about running a global movement with no budget via a Facebook group, and at TEDxWrocław Salon about it never being too late (or early) to get into entrepreneurship   I’ve been a sponsor, speaker, team member, co-organiser and supporter of or at  TEDxKrakow, TEDxKrakowCinema,  TEDxYouth@Krakow, TEDxYouth@Podgorze, TEDxWarsawSalon, TEDxWarsawPresidentialPlace I set up the TED and TEDx fans and Travel and Meetup Club on Facebook which aims to bring Couchsurfing values and practice to TED and TEDx fans  I use TED.com talks in enterprise workshops I run in schools and universities as a volunteer on the Polish committee for Global Entrepreneurship Week.   I believe TED is part of my optimistic vision of the way the world should be. I interview TEDx-ers and TEDx speakers on my blog  I like people who like TED. I’ve transcribed a TEDx talk for the Open Translation Project.”
I could write more – but the form only allows 1000 characters.
The purpose of this article is to state why TED and TEDx are so important to me and could be important to you.   I see it is as follows:
Everyone will do something with their lives  – from the terribly destructive –  through the average –  to the sublimely positive.
As Ashton Kutcher said in a talk worthy of the TED stage to the Teen Choice awards “”you can build your own life that other people can live in. So build a life. Don’t live one, build one. Find your opportunities”.
Just as everyone has  choices as to whether they do the most important things they have to do every single day of their lives, everyone has the possibility and choice to live the best version of their life if they want to.  
 TED and TEDx greatly increase the chances that you can have a happy and productive life.   
As Sam Cook said in his TEDxKazimierz talk 23rd May this year  – “you should aim to chose the career and job you love so much you would pay to do it”. My brother Edward Lucas who spoke both at TEDxKraków in 2011 and TEDxKazimerz in 2015 sometimes said of his work at The Economist that he would pay to do it.    In the Project Kazimierz podcast interview with Daniel Ciupryk (aka MC Silk) who had a viral Youtube hit   says “minute 46:11  ” It might sound, you know, too simple, but it was said a lot… Really it’s the thing that you have to find the thing that you really love because if you don’t find it, then you try to focus on things that will give you money or fame, you won’t be good at it because you can only be good at things that you love because you will try and get up, and try and try until you reach that satisfaction level. And even though you might earn money on the other things, but still it won’t be success because you will be doing things that you don’t like for the rest of your life. Somyou can only be great at things that you love because you will spend your free time, you’ll be thinking about it even though you’re not at work, and you will win over people that don’t love that thing that as much as you love it.”
TEDsters and TEDx-ers are not paid. Not the teams, the volunteers, nor the speakers. They are a group of people who:
–  work together for free to promote the idea that there are ideas worth spreading,
 – look for ideas worth spreading and projects worth promoting in their community and networks,
 – encourage people to give the talk of their lives in up to 18 minutes,
 –  put them on both a stage in front of a local community and on the internet in front of  a global audience for ever
 TED has migrated beyond its original mission of TED ->  Technology Entertainment Design-  to give leaders and activists from all walks of life a platform.   Why?
Why do TEDx-ers  spending their time like this help others improve their chance of living a useful life.
It is because TED and TEDx are  an intoxicating cocktail of inspiration, connection, example, positivity, entrepreneurship, optimism and  energy, embodied in the community of speakers and attendees, and the values they share. 

You are bombarded by ideas from the stage. How can someone not be inspired by David Eagleman  whose talk was shown to TEDxKraków yesterday. I tracked David down, and we discussed with Scott Novich whether I could help promote his technologies here in Europe, Will anything come of it ? – I’m not sure. But a key step was the way a fabulous project reached  a global audience via TED. TED started the conversation.    Piotr Wilam  technology entrepreneur and leading light and role model for the Polish startup community  yesterday talked about the importance of sustaining the community. He showed a slide featuring Estimote   as one of Kraków’s leading   Internet of Things –  IoT – cluster companies.

Estimote in Piotr Wilam's TEDxKrakow talk

Estimote in Piotr Wilam’s TEDxKrakow talk

Jakub Krzych and Łukasz Kostka who founded the company started talking about the idea of Estimote at an earlier TEDxKraków in 2012.    So it is not just the fantastic ideas but the examples and role models of people you meet at TED or TEDx-es.  It is not just the super successful entrepreneurs and scientists like Tal Golesworthy’s  who repaired his own heart. It is also the inspiration of being surrounded by people who share optimistic, positive values based around the TED mission of “ideas worth spreading” and who are ready to devote their time and energy to the cause.

In our wired, technologically connected word we have more and more choices about who we hang out with and how we spend our time.  Instead of doing whatever you normally do with the people you normally hang out with you go to  a TEDx. Who would rather hang out with people who are into ideas than go shopping? – if you prefer shopping, TEDx is not for you.
Spending time at a TEDx can be a bit of a reality distorting/mind bending experience for people who are not used to it. If you are cynical and pessimistic, believe that the people in charge of things are typically only interested in feathering their own nests and looking after themselves, then a TEDx is a bit of challenge, to put it mildly.  An army of volunteers,  great speakers  – many of them busy and successful in other walks of life – devote hundreds and thousands of hours to make an event for you for free.
Chris Anderson  – Curator of TED – gave a great talk about how the combination of attention, desire and instant global communication is accelerating innovation.   but it is not just the ideas but the people, because ideas worth spreading need to be put into action.   At a TEDx you are not just exposed to new ideas – but also meet people who are also interested in new ideas and are often doing something to put their ideas into action.
 TEDx-es also act  as filtering devices. I meet people who don’t go to TEDx s because they applied too late to get a ticket.. .. (if they cared they would prioritize it), or they had something else to do (no comment). You meet a more interesting type of person at a TEDx
A word of caution –  there are no guarantees or certainties in life.  I cannot guarantee that a TED or TEDx you go to will be brilliant, that you will like all the talks, you will meet the love of your life. There is always a risk of disappointment.  When I’m responsible I take very seriously issues of making events fun friendly and welcoming. I’ve written about this in another blog post .  What I can say is that for sure you are likely to meet people who are into ideas  – and that makes them  more interesting than average.
Having done my first TEDx – TEDxKazimierz  –  on 23rd May 2015 I am considering whether to apply to do it again. It’s a huge commitment of time, energy and emotion, with much more stress than I expected. The talks are not uploaded yet  – but they will be soon,  When they do go on line you do nothing else see 90 year war hero prof. Wojtek Narębski give the talk that got him a totally deserved standing ovation,
Professor Narębski on the TEDxKazimierz stage_TEDxKazimierz
For me his speech alone made the event worth doing.   At the end of this post I’m posting some of the positive comments I got about TEDxKazimierz thanks to the TED feedback process  – which make me think that if I can put the right team together I want to do it again. (so if you want to help fill in the form here) .
At just one TEDxKraków yesterday –   I was able to exchange words with Ewa Spohn TEDxKrakow,  Ralph Talmont TEDxWarsaw Michal Kasprzyk TEDxWrocław,  Tal Golesworthy, whose talk was on TED.com,  Agata Wilam – Children’s University,  who will become a talent scout for the next TEDxKazimierz, to welcome Piotr Wilam  – Innovation Nest to the elite club of TEDxKraków talk giving alumni, Małgorzata Kuś of the TED Open Translation Project, Joanna  Łasocha, Lech Madej, Wioletta Dec, Agata Wierzbicka TEDxKrakow team, Justyna Skowyra,  Radek Szczygieł, Łukasz Siatka, Ania Bywanis-Kwiecień of the TEDxKazimierz team Ramon Tancinco Cisco and TEDxKrakow speaker  Bartosz Józefowski,  of Kraków Technology Park and leading the Startup Community in Kraków, Krzysztof Kobyłecki and Michał Kalina of Innovation Nest, Marek Wierbicki of Seedlabs    as well family and other friends, talk business with Flytech – a drone company, and meet a potential marketing manager for one of my businesses.
TEDx really is too good to be true – but at the same time it is completely real.
I loved  Stephen Coates talk about how people risked and lost their freedom in the USSR for the love of music. A timely reminder of how lucky we are to be free. Ryszard Źróbek’s presentation of the Nowodworski choir.
So thanks to all at TED.com HQ,  at TEDxKrakow and everyone else from sponsors to volunteers  who make such wonderful events possible.
Richard

Positive comments about  TEDxKazimierz from the TED Post event e-mail  survey.

TEDxKazimierz team on stage
Note This is not the full report. There were some negative comments (three  about one singer – which I accept will publish and address in detail elsewhere). this is a positive pro TED article so you see the sanitized version here)  98 responses (17 passives, 74 promoters, 7 detractors) 61 rated the event 10/10 max  14 rated the event 9/10 12 rated the event 8/10,  5 rated the event 7/10 3 rated the event 6/10  1 rated the event 5/10  2 rated the event 4/10  1  rated the event 0/10.

“that was a great experience”

|Event was very well organized, speakers were great and there was free food too 🙂

“Great organisation and fantastic guests. I have not known anyone there, but i had wonderful and inspiring time.”

“it was wonderful and very … personal!!! Exceptional experience!”

“TEDxKazimierz really was a special event for me. It was always my little wish to partecipate in TED. The fact it was organised in Krakow, in Kazimierz, was an additional adventage. The people who organized the event gave a heart to it. It was a pleasure to be there, see and meet so interesitng and motivated people who created this special

atmosfere and invited so amazing speakers. I think everyone should have this opportunity to, at least once, be and attendee of TED or TEDx.”`

“Everything was perfect ! :)”

“It was an amazing event where I could meet really awesome people. The variety of topics was really wide so everyone could find something for themself. ‘Age has no limit’ from so many different perspectives. So positive and developing”

“It was a very interesting and diversified event.”

“I had a really great time! It was something interesting. High level of organization, interesting program, good speakers give me a good motivation for self development. The topics mentioned at the event were really inspiring.”

“Great speakers, awesome music and people. The event was organised for the first time, but everything was great :)”

“I love watching TED and TEDx talks, but taking part in TEDx is 100 times more exciting. TEDx Kazimierz heleped me to find new inspirations and meet amazing people whom I would propably wouldnever meet otherwise.”`

“The conference was very well organized. Invited interesting speakers.

“Speeches were accompanied by interesting workshops. Ensured the possibility of linking with each other guests so that they can meet each other and referring interesting contacts. The event was accompanied by a great atmosphere. The organizers took care of the guests.”

“Good range of speaker, authenticity in enthusiasm of the organisers, valuable community spirit”

“It was an amazing experience – eye-opening and really worth taking part in. excellent event. good speakers, good organizers.”

“It was an inspiring and even moving event, with many great people taking part. All speeches were great, but some of them were truly amazing. Best way to spend your saturday!”

“ I loved the topic and the speakers. I think the atmosphere was great. I met two people who I will definitely cooperate with. Oh, and I just loved Richard’s way of running the whole event:) Thank you! “

“It was for the first time in my life I could experience Tedx live. Real people, real challenges, real emotions. What I appreciate the most is the passion in Tedx talks and in the choice of speakers. Very inspiringday. “

“Diverse speakers, interesting topics, good organization! Totally wouldrecommend the event to others, what I am already doing! “

“It was great event, great quality speakers, great organization”

“Great event! For sure worth spreading!”

“great and content of all presentations was very interesting. I will definitely participate in the next edition.””

“was a great conference that helped me to rethink what and why I am doing today. I believe that participation in event like that would be valuable experience for any of my friends and colleagues. “

“It was an unusual experience, which has already influenced my life.”

Everything was alright

“it was motivating event. Great job guys !”

““Po prostu było ciekawie, organizacja wypadła dobrze, a ekipa, która się tym zajmowała była przesympatyczna :)”

It was pretty great, although I think it should have been more focused on talks in english. “

“Because the atmoshere was fantastic and all the speeches presented ideas worth spreading. Balance between inspiration and knowledge.”

“Very good logistics. i think organistators did great job! And the place was awesome!!!”

“Great speakers, wonderful website, awesome venue.”“

“:The event was very well organised. The speakers were very interesting and what they said was thought-provoking and inspiring. I made some new friends.”

It was awesome !!! 🙂

“Event is perfectly organized. Speakers line up and topics was very inspiring and interesting. It was fit pretty well the general theme “Age is not a limit”. As non a native Polish-speaker (yet) It was a little bit difficult to listen to Polish talks w/o translation or printed materials/ details/transcriptions. Thanks the whole team! And hope to see and be a part of TEDx community again!”

“Naprawdę czułam się tam dobrze i wiele wyniosłam! Na każdym kroku było widać, że organizatorzy dbali o uczestników –

nie za pomocą wielkich nakładów i nie na pokaz, ale poprzez proste drobiazgi: – zdjęcia na wejściu, rozwieszone później na sznurku – ice brakery

– jedzenie! (proste a pomysłowe, zdrowe drobiazgi od konkretnych ludzi! – punkt za wizytówki do autorów przekąsek:)

– wielość opcji w przerwie – na pierwszy rzut oka ponad godzina wolnego budziła zdziwienie, ale każdy mógł znaleźć coś dla siebie – albo rozmowy z ludźmi, albo wykład o astronomii, albo pokazy sztuczek, albo po prostu słuchanie pianisty)

– dobór muzyków – bardzo autorski, bardzo odważny 😉 zupełnie “niehipsterski” 😉

– wspólne śpiewanie spinające cały dzień – i niesamowity, bardzo bardzo wzruszający finał z prof. Narembskim

– jak zwykle, komunikacja online przyjazna, ludzka i z dbałością o szczegóły

(jeden minus – tylko jedna toaleta 🙁 ale jak rozumiem to ograniczenie tego miejsca – nie warto by z tego powodu rezygnować z kapitalnych“ “

“In my opinion TEDxKazimierz was realy great experience, considering all of details: organization, atmosphere and people which were a part of it. Why 9, not 10? Well, it always may be better 🙂 “

“I chose 10 because all talks was very interesting and inspiring, organization was perfect and catering was delicious!”

“Galicia Jewish Museum was just a great place to be during the event. Not only the speakers were inspiring but also available for direct conversation after their speeches. It’s just a great event to attend if you’re open minded and want to not only get inspired but share you ideas in a great atmosphere of openness too. “

it was very impressive “

“It was great”

“It was very inspiring, the topics were interesting, the organizaton was really good. “

TEDx i have attended on Saturday, May 23rd was very interesting and inspirational event. I believe events like this should be widely shared and recommended to allow others. Everyone can learn something about themselves, about life and take it home with them. This event is like a spark, that can bring light where before there was not much of it, bring idea to place that needed one. And give support to those who want to change something around them. “

“TEDx Kazimierz was a great expirience for me. 4 of all the speakers were people I’ve known before, I met many of my friends I haven’t expected to see there, I had an opportunity to commit new friendships and get closer to the various issues seemed (primarily) to be very fresh to me. I’m getting totally involved in idea of TEDxes 🙂 I’m appreciate to the people who invented , orgnised and realised that great event. And,of course, I want more…”

 

“I really liked it. Everything was great: inspired and inspiring speakers, themes, networking and organization (especially time management, one of the hardest parts of such event). I appreciate how much efforts were spent in order to achieve this *high* level. As for me personally, I met new people, and this is really valuable.

“It is new and fresh. Some great speakers. An amazing ending. After being at TEDx Kazimierz I already started recommending this event. I am looking forward for the next edition and I would love to be a more active member of TEDx Kaziemierz community.

“It was simply awesome, great ppl, a lot of inspirational talks, opportunity to spend my time among interesting people and learn a little about their work.”

“I liked the whole experience. The speeches were motivating and inspiring.:”

“It was a nice friendly, local event.

“Because this was amazing, inspire, unforgettable event and I met there many awesome people “

“I found talks very interesting esp. of prof. Narębski will be memorable.

 

 

“Interesting speeches, good ambience, nice and open people”

“I loved the very intimate feel of the event. The speakers were well chosen and the musical parts before breaks were very thoughtful”

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