TED began in 1984 as a conference to bring together people from the fields of technology, education, and design. It has since become one of the most prestigious conferences of its kind. It’s probably most notable for its “TED Talks:” 18-minute talks on some subject by an expert with an idea worth sharing. It doesn’t matter who you are, from Mike Rowe to Sir Ken Robinson to Bill Gates to Sergey Brin and Larry Page – you stand up, make as much sense as you can for 18 minutes, then sit down. 18 minutes is just about the perfect length for such a talk. It’s long enough to lay out the basics of almost any idea, but short enough to force the speaker to state it concisely and with elegance.
Having watched TED Talks for years, I’ve come to think of them as the ultimate demonstration of the communicator’s art. If you can set heads on fire in 18 minutes, you’ve really done something. It’s a challenge that I’ve wanted for years to meet. The problem is that you don’t really go to TED with your spiel. TED comes to you and asks. [Read more...]