Technology, Entertainment, Design. TED is an annual conference that has been going on since 1984 where visionaries from all over the world come together to present "Ideas worth spreading" Originally a conference focused just on those three disciplines, it has since expanded to cover many disciplines.
The annual conference is invitation-only, so for years the only way you would get a piece of what was presented was if you were part of the elite group, or if you knew someone who went and gave you a recap later. This keeps the conference very controlled, and keeps a feeling of intimacy and adds a bit of weight to what is discussed. This isn't some massive industry event with press and bloggers crawling all over it. This is about important people sharing important ideas.
Over the years, TED has hosted talks by industry leaders such as Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com, Richard Branson of Virgin, former US President Bill Clinton, Jane Goodall, Larry Lessig, Sergey Brin & Larry Page and many others. The center piece to every talk is an idea worth sharing.
Recently, TED has started to open up its archive of presentations to the public via TED.com, a website dedicated to the conference. Every week, new videos are posted on the site, free for anyone to watch and enjoy.
What's amazing about these talks is how personal and inspiring they can be, how they can give you a glimpse into the future that's so clear it's almost unnerving. These aren't talks about how the world sucks, or how we're destroying the planet and killing babies, it's about positives. How we can look at ordinary things in entirely new ways.
Last week, Brad posted a link to a TED talk about strokes and the human brain, as told by a neuroscientist who herself experienced a stroke. It was one of the most amazing presentations I've ever seen.
Another very interesting talk is from Jeff Han, who showed off a breakthrough multitouch computer interface in 2006, a year before any of us had heard about Surface or seen the iPhone.
Now, it's not uncommon for someone to come up with a "really cool" idea that they think will change the world. The trick is to take that idea and bring it into reality. Many of the TED speakers aren't just there to toss out some really cool notion they hope someone else will act on. They bring ideas that they are actively working on themselves. This aren't purely ideas in the theoretical sense, these are ideas put in action, demonstrated, explained. The people who speak at TED aren't just big picture thinkers, they're doers.
With hundreds of talks, you could spend months digging through. Personally, I want to try and watch one per day for a little bit of inspiration.