The idea of sharing ideas!!

Sticking to the theme of my last two posts, I now come to what I think is the most powerful idea I will probably write about. This is not a business though. It is a non profit venture. And it does not deal in any form of product or service we normally think about. It deals with what I have been writing about – Ideas! The setup I want to talk about does not create ideas, and neither does it sell ideas. It does not even fund ideas, though of late it has started assisting people bring their ideas to life.
So what does it do?
Simple. It shares ideas.
And that I think, in itself is a very powerful idea. With this venture I have come to know about people I wasn’t aware existed, differences I wasn’t aware were made, dimensions and facets I hadn’t thought of looking at.
By now many of you must have guessed what I am talking about. I am talking about . TED stands for Technology, Entertainment & Design.
From the TED website:
"We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. So we're building here a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world's most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other."
When TED was founded in 1984 by Richard Saul Wurman and Harry Marks, the idea was to bring people from these three areas (Technology, Entertainment & Design) together in a conference, and to allow them share their ideas. As popularity of the talks has spread, so has the range of subject matter, to cover almost all aspects of science and culture. Those who have given TED talks include Bill ClintonAl GoreBill Gates, the founders of Google, the evangelist Billy Graham and various Nobel Prize winners.
Some interesting facts about TED are:
  1. Even though TED was founded in 1984, it wasn’t until 1990 that its first conference actually took place.
  2. Its co-founder Richard Saul Wurman is credited with having coined in 1976 the term ‘information architect’.
  3. Wurman left after the 2002 conference and the event is now hosted by Chris Anderson and owned by his non-profit organization The Sapling Foundation,devoted to "leveraging the power of ideas to change the world"
  4. The conference has been held in Monterey, California, since its founding, but as of 2009 is being held in Long Beach, California due to an increased number of attendees
  5. The TED conference also has a companion conference, TEDGlobal, held in varying locations.
  6. The last event was TEDIndia which took place in MysoreIndia on 4–7 November, 2009.
  7. One of the speakers invited in TEDIndia was Abhay Deol, who talked about power of stories and how you can be entertaining and socially conscious at the same time.
  8. Another speaker in TEDIndia was Shashi Tharoor who said that India is fast becoming a superpower -- not just through trade and politics, but through "soft" power, its ability to share its culture with the world through food, music, technology, Bollywood. He argues that in the long run it's not the size of the army that matters as much as a country's ability to influence the world's hearts and minds.
  9. The next event will be "What the World Needs Now, TED2010," which will be held in Long Beach, California on February 9–13, 2010.
  10. In 2006, attendance cost $4,400 and was by invitation only. 
  11. The membership model was shifted in January of 2007 to an annual membership fee of $6,000, which includes attendance of the conference, club mailings, networking tools and conference DVDs
  12. Attendees of TED are called “TEDsters,” a list of whom was uncovered and published for the first time on February 28, 2008 by tech blog Valleywag. Valleywag’s sister site, Kotaku, further promoted the list and videogame-related executives in attendance on their site
  13. Its lectures or TED Talks, widely disseminated on the internet, are subject to a strict time limit of 18 minutes, regardless of a speaker's eminence – referred to on occasion in jest as the TED commandment.
  14. Since June 2006, TED Talks have been made available online on the TED website, YouTubeiTunes, and since late 2009, a free iPhoneapp
  15. More than 500 TED talks are provided for free viewing online. As of April 2009, talks had been viewed over 100 million times by more than 15 million people
  16. The TED website recently won the Webby Award for Best Use of Video or Moving Image at the 13th Annual Webby Awards. 
  17. TED Talks are transcribed and translated in a number of languages as part of the TED Open-Translation Project, which aims to "reach out to the 4.5 billion people on the planet who don't speak English," according to TED Curator Chris Anderson.
  18. At the time of the launch, over 300 translations were done by volunteer transcribers in over 40 languages.
  19. TED Prize: The TED Prize was introduced in 2005. In previous years, three individuals were each given $100,000 and granted a "wish to change the world", which they unveil at TED. However, starting in 2010, only one prize is awarded since according to TED "at least half of the wishes still require our engagement," and, "adding too many more risks dilution of effort."
  List of TED Award winners is as follows:
Larry Brilliant
Bill Clinton
Neil Turok
Sylvia Earle
Jamie Oliver
Edward Burtynsky
Jehane Noujaim
Edward O. Wilson
Dave Eggers
Jill Tarter
Robert Fischell
Cameron Sinclair
James Nachtwey
Karen Armstrong
José Antonio Abreu
  1. TED Fellows: The TED Fellows fellowship program brings together young world-changers and trailblazers who have shown unusual accomplishment and exceptional courage. The program targets individuals from the Asia/Pacific region, Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Middle East, though anyone from anywhere in the world, age 18 and over, can apply.
  2. TEDx: TEDx is a program that enables schools, businesses, libraries or just groups of friends to enjoy a TED-like experience with TEDx Events they themselves organize, design and host.
Besides these, TED has also started sharing interesting and gripping videos from the web on its website. They have added this new feature “Best of the Web” to highlight inspired talks on sites other than To me, this just goes to show that TED is sticking to its original purpose of sharing ideas and motivating people, and does not believe in constraining itself.
I think it is a space to watch out for, and expect great things from TED in coming future. And now my personal ambition is to be invited to give a speech on TED. J


GVK said…
Didn't realize there was so much to TED. Thanks for the post. Have plugged it in facebook page of 'Mysore Santhey'

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