I remember the first time I ever heard about the TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Conference, the annual four-day gathering in Long Beach, California, of the world’s foremost thinkers in the aforementioned areas. It was two years ago, and a friend told me not only that she had gone, but that it was the most amazing thing, like, ever! It sounded kinda cool to my ignorant ears, but I had yet to realize just how cool: Think talks and presentations by everyone from Jane Goodall (my hero!) to Al Gore (another hero!) to Dave Eggers to Isabel Allende to Bono. In short, it’s a meeting for the best and the brightest.
TED started out in 1984 as the California Conference, but has now expanded into a virtual franchise (the TED Conference, TEDGlobal, TEDAfrica, the TED Prize) and the best of the talks given at the various TED events are now online at the TED website. See, because TED is so hip, it’s an invite-only situation, and only really cool kids get invited. To compensate for what might be perceived as elitism, the website attempts to democratize the talks so that everyone interested can have some access, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. In the case of TED, some access inevitably means you want more access. But I’m going to look at that dilemma as a glass-half-full situation, an inspiration to somehow, some day, find the keys to this castle of cool.