I am sitting here staring at my computer screen, notes galore. I am supposed to be working on a TEDx speech (which, by the way, feels like putting together a jigsaw puzzle at this point) I feel intrigued to write about this whole process.
So, who’s TED? TED isn’t a person. TED is a nonprofit devoted to “Ideas Worth Spreading”. It started 1984 as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. TED’s mission: Spreading ideas. They believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world.
The two annual TED conferences, in Long Beach/Palm Springs and Edinburgh, Scotland, bring together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes or less). These talks are recorded, and published on TED.com. And, they’re fascinating.
What’s TEDx? It’s TED, but local! TEDx is designed to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level. TEDx events are fully planned and coordinated independently, on a community-by-community basis. TEDx is returning to the University of Nevada in 2014, in hopes of outdoing it’s wonderfully successful 2013 program (I was there, it was great).
I am part of a duo that has been selected to speak at TEDxUniversityofNevada in 2014. This guy over to the left, yeah that’s Paul. Paul Klein is the Creative Director for the City of Reno, and I am thrilled to be sharing the stage with him. Paul has spent many hours on helping the brand of Reno, and he is extremely talented; check out his blog Defining Reno. Both Paul and I are MBA students at the University of Nevada and have worked closely together on the Biggest Little City movement that was launched on June 5th of this year.
What do you do when you live in a city that is a wonderful place to live for numerous reasons, but is constantly combating outdated notions and stereotypes? What do you do when your town gets nationally recognized for all of the wrong reasons? Together, Paul and I will be speaking on the issue of cities with poor reputations. We will be using the Biggest Little City movement as an example of what a small city did in an attempt to change the conversation. We will be discussing the importance of a grassroots effort, and offer a formula that could apply to any town in the world.
The goal of our talk is to offer assistance to other towns that are facing the same types of issues. The talk is not about Reno, in fact, we are challenging ourselves to not say “Reno” once in our 15 minute speech. It’s about showing others how they can make an impact in their own town- regardless of where it is.
The ultimate goal of a TED or TEDx talk is to have your talk go viral on YouTube. Yes, on the day of the speech you want to fare well with the crowd; laughs are good, nods are good, applauding is good, even tears are good…but that’s not the point. Your idea will live on and has the potential to touch millions via YouTube if you do it right. You want to present an idea that will resonate with all, not just your audience, and not just your town.
I will keep you posted on the process. The process itself has become a strategy; mastering the strategy is most of the battle. Practice. Practice. Practice.