Thursday, March 17, 2011

TED 2011 by Jack Myers

TED 2011: The Rediscovery of Wonder has just finished in Long Beach California. Several people in my orbit have described TED as “world-changing” and “life-inspiring.” TED Curator Chris Anderson came to Saatchi & Saatchi New York last year to speak about the power of these TED talks (they have clocked several hundred million views) and TED founder Richard Saul Wurman helped judge our Innovation in Communication Award a few years back.

Media economist Jack Myers is someone I trust. Jack has been to most TEDs there have been, and he has just posted his top talks from 2011. Some of these are online now at, others will come shortly. If you don’t know, TED is for Technology, Entertainment and Design but its purview is as broad as the imagination. “Ideas worth spreading” is its neatly understated mantra. Here is my edited list of Jack’s favorites, along with his brief commentary.

  • TED Prize winner JR, whose vision is to help us reveal our true selves to those who live around us.
  • Sarah Kay, a 22-year old performing poet, whose Project VOICE is teaching poetry and self-expression at schools across the United States. Winner: Jack Myers Best Overall Ted Talk 2011.
  • Salman Khan, a hedge fund analyst who began posting math tutorials on YouTube in 2004 and now has posted more than 2,000 tutorials that represent a framework for the future of education.
  • Deb Roy, whose studies on how children learn language are informing a major new intelligence resource for advertisers and TV content creators. Most relevant Ted talk for media community.
  • Anthony Atala, whose lab at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine is engineering over 30 tissues and whole organ. Atala “printed” a kidney during his TED Talk.
  • Pepsico CEO Indra Noohi, who was praised for her company’s commitment to the Pepsi Refresh campaign, but who missed the point of TED by ignoring her company’s response to the environmental impact of plastics and the contribution of sugar drinks to obesity.
  • New York Times columnist David Brooks, who points to emotion as offering the deepest sense of what it takes to thrive. “Emotion is contagious. Reason is not the highest of faculties. Sentiments are strong and trustworthy.”
  • Director, designer Julie Taymor; what might have been a triumphant curtain call, turned into brave defense and hopeful optimism. Whatever the fate of Spiderman, Julie will triumph again.
  • Composer, conductor Eric Whitacre’s classical music video composed by cobbling together more than 2000 musical submissions from 58 countries. People will go to any length to connect with each other. Most emotional talk.
  • Polar Photographer Paul Nicklen; anyone who can share such compelling arguments for climate change needs to be seen and heard.
  • Bobby McFerrin, who when asked to name his greatest wonder, he said it all for everyone: “Waking up every morning.”
  • Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio; the wonder and mystery of conscious minds.
  • Bill Gates. A TEDster who knows how to win over a crowd. Bill was everywhere at TED.
  • MIT’s Carlo Ratti, who demonstrates how every atom is becoming a sensor and actuator. Our environment is talking back to us in real time.
  • Dennis Hong, beyond inspirational. Paralyzed downhill skier walks for first time in 19 years.
  • Wrongologist Katheryn Schultz. I have a great idea but I’m probably wrong about it.
  • Educator John Hunter, whose World Piece game forces us to rethink Educational Theory.