Breaking away from TED

I still have a lot of session summaries to write up (or perhaps I won’t as it’s pretty easy to find great alternatives to me, such as my new friend, Chel O’Reilly).

But what I will do is try to summarize what this ride has been like.

I first became aware of TED around 5 years ago, a little before they began publishing the TED Talks videos. I’m a big believer in the power of big thinking – whether it’s a desire to change the world, or advance medicine, or solve issues of urban renewal, or rebuild natural environments, or to give great art a place outside the established museums and galleries and concert halls.

Indeed, seeking a place where big, brave thinking – a place of possibility, a place where “no” isn’t an option – has been a significant part of what took me to start acidlabs two years ago this month. For too long I worked at places bound in bureaucracy, in “dumbplexity”, in a mindset where policy and procedure are the only possibility.

I’m just not wired like that. And so it seems, this new family of mine, the TEDsters (or, as was proposed this week, TEDizens) aren’t wired that way either.

This week has been a wild ride. From the lowest lows of the horrors of the war in Afghanistan, the disaster that is the global economy (obviously they didn’t listen to Nassim Nicholas Taleb last year) to the highest, ecstatic heights of hearing Jose Antonio Abreu‘s amazing orchestra conducted by Gustavo Dudamel and singing along to Jamie Cullum playing John Lennon’s Imagine with 1900 others as TED closed.

Back in March, my friend, Stephen Dann wrote of attending his first BarCamp that it was:

“…like coming home to old friends I’ve never met.”

And thus was TED for me.

Matthias, Morgan, Me and Jose
Image by trib via Flickr

I met doctors, lawyers, philanthropists, marketers, designers, musicians, artists, baristas (I taught them to make a decent long black), serious hacker geeks (hey, Chris!) and more, all with a common purpose. To think beyond the now, to dream of possibility and reject anger and resignation and to act as individuals and communities in order to make a better world.

There’s a point at the end of TED, where everyone knows it’s over but nobody wants to leave. Many of us simply hung around in the hotel gardens yesterday, continuing our discussions, affirming each others plans and ideas, and sometimes sharing astoundingly intimate details of our personal lives and the things that brought us to TED. Around us, the hotel staff continued to pack down the convention center. You reach a point where you know you have to go back and just breathe out as you enter your room, as we all did (and then we cheated and had dinner together to reignite the buzz).

The infamous post-TED slump is something I will strive to avoid. I will be very deliberate in maintaining contact with some of the new friends I’ve made. I have a swirling mix of vague and crystal clear thoughts about what I need to do when I return home – both in terms of acidlabs and in my life (and there will be changes in both).

I want so much to share this experience with my friends back home, and so I will – over coffee, or dinner or a call. And just maybe, we can have more than 15 Aussies at TED Palm Springs next time.

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trib’s big TED Adventure

I’m attending TED@PalmSprings for the next few days. I believe it will be quite the adventure – inspiring, exciting, mind-blowing. I’ve already had the privilege of running into a few interesting people, purely by chance and the power of Twitter.

Having Dinner with Chel, Bristol, Matt and Andy was a great deal of serendipitous fun.

I’ll be doing some blogging here about TED and the experience. I’ve already begun accumulating something of a record of my activity. You can read my TED tweets here (everyone’s here) and see my photos from the event (not just the conference) here.

BarCamp Sydney #4 – Saturday, 15 November 2008

The (un)organisers of BarCamp Sydney have let me know that they are preparing for yet another festival of creativity to engage and excite the Australian tech and innovation community. Details below.

Date: 15 November 2008

Venue: UNSW Roundhouse

Time: 9:00AM-5:00PMpm (registration starts at 8:30AM)

Register: Do it yourself on the wiki

If you’ve never been to a BarCamp before, I highly recommend it. Make some time in your schedule. For those that have been before, I needn’t remind you how great BarCamp is. Take a look at my tag list below to see just how much of your life this might touch.

Hopefully, I’ll see you there. I’m not sure how my timetable is yet.

Your best employees are on loan

If only companies in Australia hired this way! I would certainly have been inclined to work for a business that thought like this rather than striking out on my own.

SHIFT are taking a position that recognises explicitly the power and value of an employee with a strong personal brand – their value to the company is, at least in part, defined by their online (and real life) personality and the cachet having the sort of person with a strong personal brand on staff can bring.

They also realise that in today’s world, any employee is just on loan to you, the employer. While you keep them engaged and excited about their work, you probably have the chance to keep them on staff.

The opportunity to work with big, free, innovative thinkers like Doug (in an older bracket) and Amanda (who’s only about 10 years older than my daughter) would totally attract me. When I visited Boston earlier this year, I met Doug briefly but missed Amanda.

Sadly, most Aussie companies still think they own you when they hire you. The idea of establishing and owning your own brand beyond your work is anathema to many of them. People here still get dooced for having any online persona. I know several who hide their Twitter streams and blog anonymously to protect themselves.

Time for Aussie companies to wake up!

My favorite TED talks

A couple of weeks ago my friend, Tara Hunt, posted a list of her 10 favorite TED Talks. She’s inspired me to do the same, except I’m limiting myself to just five. Why five? Well, if I go over five, I’m just as likely to go over 10. And so on. I pretty much like everything I view from TED, and it’s definitely an event that I want to attend one day.

ted_logo.gifTED strikes me as an odd event – full to the brim of inspiring and inspired people, many of them very powerful and totally capable through the money or social capital they have access to of making a real difference. For a regular person like me, I imagine TED is incredibly exciting to attend, yet almost disheartening as you return to real life afterwards and realise that your individual capacity to drive the sort of innovation and change TED aspires to is rather limited.

That’s perhaps a little bit of a dark view, so I’ll let it just slip on past. Without further ado, my five TED favorites are:

  1. Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity
  2. Ben Dunlap talks about a passionate life
  3. Larry Lessig says the law is strangling creativity
  4. Al Gore’s new thinking on the climate crisis
  5. Johnny Lee demos Wii Remote hacks

What about you? What about TED inspires you and gets you to think differently?

Age of Conversation 2 kicks off

After a couple of posts where I’ve expressed frustration about the seeming inability of business and government to take advantage of social media, I thought I’d close off the week (it’s Friday afternoon here) with something a little more positive. As many of you know, I’m one of the many co-authors for the new edition of Age of Conversation. The theme of the 2008 edition is Why don’t people get it? – kind of apt given my posts this week…
Picture of cool guy sitting upside down in funky chair
Anyway, under the terms of our AoC agreement, we’re only allowed to post a snippet of what our chapter contains, so here’s mine:

There’s no better time than now to take up the challenge of being the evangelist for change in your organisation… Talk is cheap. Being the driver for conversation, collaboration and community is a risk.

I absolutely recommend you get out there and be the intrapreneur for your organisation. Be the person who is willing to talk about and drive change. Be the squeaky wheel. But have fun while you’re doing it.

Have a good weekend! Oh, and while you’re at it, check out the blogs (and likely chapter snippets) from my fellow AoC co-authors:

Adam Crowe, Adrian Ho, Aki Spicer, Alex Henault, Amy Jussel, Andrew Odom, Andy Nulman, Andy Sernovitz, Andy Whitlock, Angela Maiers, Ann Handley, Anna Farmery, Armando Alves, Arun Rajagopal, Asi Sharabi, Becky Carroll, Becky McCray, Bernie Scheffler, Bill Gammell, Bob Carlton, Bob LeDrew, Brad Shorr, Bradley Spitzer, Brandon Murphy, Branislav Peric, Brent Dixon, Brett Macfarlane, Brian Reich, C.C. Chapman, Cam Beck, Casper Willer, Cathleen Rittereiser, Cathryn Hrudicka, Cedric Giorgi, Charles Sipe, Chris Kieff, Chris Cree, Chris Wilson, Christina Kerley (CK), C.B. Whittemore, Clay Parker Jones, Chris Brown, Colin McKay, Connie Bensen, Connie Reece, Cord Silverstein, Corentin Monot, Craig Wilson, Daniel Honigman, Dan Goldstein, Dan Schawbel, Dana VanDen Heuvel, Dan Sitter, Daria Radota Rasmussen, Darren Herman, Darryl Patterson, Dave Davison, Dave Origano, David Armano, David Bausola, David Berkowitz, David Brazeal, David Koopmans, David Meerman Scott, David Petherick, David Reich, David Weinfeld, David Zinger, Deanna Gernert, Deborah Brown, Dennis Price, Derrick Kwa, Dino Demopoulos, Doug Haslam, Doug Meacham, Doug Mitchell, Douglas Hanna, Douglas Karr, Drew McLellan, Duane Brown, Dustin Jacobsen, Dylan Viner, Ed Brenegar, Ed Cotton, Efrain Mendicuti, Ellen Weber, Emily Reed, Eric Peterson, Eric Nehrlich, Ernie Mosteller, Faris Yakob, Fernanda Romano, Francis Anderson, G. Kofi Annan, Gareth Kay, Gary Cohen, Gaurav Mishra, Gavin Heaton, Geert Desager, George Jenkins, G.L. Hoffman, Gianandrea Facchini, Gordon Whitehead, Graham Hill, Greg Verdino, Gretel Going & Kathryn Fleming, Hillel Cooperman, Hugh Weber, J. Erik Potter, J.C. Hutchins, James Gordon-Macintosh, Jamey Shiels, Jasmin Tragas, Jason Oke, Jay Ehret, Jeanne Dininni, Jeff De Cagna, Jeff Gwynne, Jeff Noble, Jeff Wallace, Jennifer Warwick, Jenny Meade, Jeremy Fuksa, Jeremy Heilpern, Jeremy Middleton, Jeroen Verkroost, Jessica Hagy, Joanna Young, Joe Pulizzi, Joe Talbott, John Herrington, John Jantsch, John Moore, John Rosen, John Todor, Jon Burg, Jon Swanson, Jonathan Trenn, Jordan Behan, Julie Fleischer, Justin Flowers, Justin Foster, Karl Turley, Kate Trgovac, Katie Chatfield, Katie Konrath, Kenny Lauer, Keri Willenborg, Kevin Jessop, Kris Hoet, Krishna De, Kristin Gorski, Laura Fitton, Laurence Helene Borei, Lewis Green, Lois Kelly, Lori Magno, Louise Barnes-Johnston, Louise Mangan, Louise Manning, Luc Debaisieux, Marcus Brown, Mario Vellandi, Mark Blair, Mark Earls, Mark Goren, Mark Hancock, Mark Lewis, Mark McGuinness, Mark McSpadden, Matt Dickman, Matt J. McDonald, Matt Moore, Michael Hawkins, Michael Karnjanaprakorn, Michelle Lamar, Mike Arauz, Mike McAllen, Mike Sansone, Mitch Joel, Monica Wright, Nathan Gilliatt, Nathan Snell, Neil Perkin, Nettie Hartsock, Nick Rice, Oleksandr Skorokhod, Ozgur Alaz, Paul Chaney, Paul Hebert, Paul Isakson, Paul Marobella, Paul McEnany, Paul Tedesco, Paul Williams, Pet Campbell, Pete Deutschman, Peter Corbett, Phil Gerbyshak, Phil Lewis, Phil Soden, Piet Wulleman, Rachel Steiner, Sreeraj Menon, Reginald Adkins, Richard Huntington, Rishi Desai, Beeker Northam, Rob Mortimer, Robert Hruzek, Roberta Rosenberg, Robyn McMaster, Roger von Oech, Rohit Bhargava, Ron Shevlin, Ryan Barrett, Ryan Karpeles, Ryan Rasmussen, Sam Huleatt, Sandy Renshaw, Scott Goodson, Scott Monty, Scott Townsend, Scott White, Sean Howard, Sean Scott, Seni Thomas, Seth Gaffney, Shama Hyder, Sheila Scarborough, Sheryl Steadman, Simon Payn, Sonia Simone, Spike Jones, Stanley Johnson, Stephen Collins, Stephen Cribbett, Stephen Landau, Stephen Smith, Steve Bannister, Steve Hardy, Steve Portigal, Steve Roesler, Steven Verbruggen, Steve Woodruff, Sue Edworthy, Susan Bird, Susan Gunelius, Susan Heywood, Tammy Lenski, Terrell Meek, Thomas Clifford, Thomas Knoll, Tiffany Kenyon, Tim Brunelle, Tim Buesing, Tim Connor, Tim Jackson, Tim Longhurst, Tim Mannveille, Tim Tyler, Timothy Johnson, Tinu Abayomi-Paul, Toby Bloomberg, Todd Andrlik, Troy Rutter, Troy Worman, Uwe Hook, Valeria Maltoni, Vandana Ahuja, Vanessa DiMauro, Veronique Rabuteau, Wayne Buckhanan, William Azaroff, Yves Van Landeghem

BarCamp Canberra #1 wrap

Welcome to BarCamp Canberra!!!

I think I speak for all of the Unorganisers when I say that BarCamp Canberra #1 was an unqualified success! We couldn’t be happier with the turnout, the quality of the talks, the feedback we’ve received and the enthusiasm to hold another BarCamp here in 2009.

Here are a few stats from the day:

  • in excess of 60 attendees (that’s an amazing turnout for somewhere as small as Canberra)
  • over 30 presentations on topics including web typography, GTD, open source, design and language
  • 156 photos and counting
  • several enthusiastic blog posts already – Stephen Dann, Gavin Jackson, Ruth Ellison and Steven Hanley
  • 30+ t-shirts handed out (if you were in the first 40 registrations, you were entitled to a t-shirt on the day, and if you were in the 41-55 bracket, there’s a t-shirt coming for you – make sure you let me know if you missed out)
  • a bunch of people introduced to the power of Twitter
  • 16 pizzas eaten
  • many Chupa-Chups and Arnotts Shapes consumed
  • 72 600ml bottles of water drunk
  • 32 people for the dinner afterwards
  • just two pieces of lost property – an Asus Eee PC power brick and a Nokia N95 belt pouch (if you own either of these, email me)

Personally, it was an incredibly fulfilling experience and I’m looking forward to being involved next time. As Canberra’s a small town, we’re probably a one BarCamp a year place. In the meantime, I’ll definitely be at any Australian BarCamp I can get to and might even try for the odd nearby international one…