Friday, December 09, 2011

So, why TEDx(Ath)?

After having attended the latest installment of the TEDxAthens series the question keeps coming up in my mind: Why TEDx? Is it worth it, overall?

The obvious answers are there:
  • Get some inspiration (in gloomy times)
  • Meet and mingle with interesting people
  • Listen to some great life/success stories

Concerns not to go are present, too:
  • A closed club of elitists/geeks?
  • Miscellaneous politicians and public figures strolling around?
  • Largest gathering of Apple product aficionados?

The event themes are always grandiose:
  • 2009 - "Mind the Idea"
  • 2010 - "Starting from Scratch"
  • 2011 - "The Art of Disruption"
Which is kind of funny because no matter what the theme, the speakers will just do their talks.

So after having attended such an inspiring event and the initial excitement is gone, the moment you step out a mild depression settles down on you. How things are different now? Is something going to change? At what scale?

Having done quite some advocation myself about technology and opensource, I face the very same questions every time I'm done with a gig:
  • Was it worth it for my audience?
  • Is something going to change for any of them?
  • or, did I just increase the entropy of the universe?

In my job I have been fortunate enough to have met and worked with some really interesting and exciting people. People that left their mark and caused sweeping changes to themselves and the world around them.

And that was made possible because they could take a step back, understand their environment, understand themselves, make a plan and execute on it. Whether they failed or not, it didn't really matter, because the same process is repeated again and again, and with some luck, the magic eventually happens.

Now, at any given presentation the chances of actually triggering some shiny eyes from your audience to connect the dots and make a difference, I gather they are pretty slim, actually less than 2%. But even then, especially with large audiences, this is definitively worthwhile. Whether this is about a person finding a new meaning in life, transforming his career, joining a cause, or starting a new venture.

Multiply that by N (exciting or not) TEDx talks and the odds turn to your favor.

Big Kudos to the TEDxAthens volunteers for pulling off such a professionally organized event.

Until the next time!


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