A sampling of the many speakers hosted by the TED conference over the years.
James Cameron Producer/ director, 2010 Imogen Heap Singer/songwriter, 2009 Al Gore Vice President/ Environmentalist, 2006, 2008, 2009 Anna Deavere Smith Actress/playwright, 2005 Dave Eggers Writer, 2008
Philippe Starck Product Designer, 2007 Jill Bolte Taylor Neuroanatomist, 2008
ill Gates approaches the Long Beach Performing Arts Center on foot, an oversized nametag dangling fom his neck. He gets the nod fom a uniformed guard and squeezes through the narrow entrance to a sprawling plaza. The low-key complex, which no one would mistake for Cannes during festival or Hollywood on Oscar night, is encircled with a tarp-covered cyclone fence to keep out lookie-loos and the uninvited. Inside the main theater, the environmentally wired former U.S. vice president, academics, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, A-listers, a young Los Angeles Philharmonic prodigy and a plethora of meganerds wait for someone to switch on the big light bulb that is TED. TED, a initially dedicated to Technology, Entertainment and Design, now covers a wide range of intellectual disciplines, fom green energy to global social issues and culture. At its core are 18-minute talks (don't call them lectures) at annual conferences in Long Beach, California, and Oxford, England. But today, TED is also a catalyst for locally organized events all around the world, fom Tokyo to Arusha, Tanzania. In Long Beach, the conference club is exclusive. About 1,500 smart, socially conscious and bedecked in blue jeans and elbow patches, Gap Ts and Adidas (this is so not Dior and to participate and paid $6,000 each to hear dozens of Big
Thinkers expound on the wonders and woes over four days in February in Long Beach. An additional 407 people fom scores of countries paid $3,750 each to experience the event via a live simulcast, called TEDActive, in Palm Springs. The rest of us can feed our brains online at ted.com for fee, and you miss follow-up questions or panel discussions, because there are none at the conferences. You want analysis? Then amongst is philosophy. Conference-goers expect pizzazz, and they get it. like drinking fom a says Guy Spier, chief executive of Aquamarine Capital Management and a big-time TED fan who attended the Long Beach conference in February. keeps coming at you, and it sticks deep in your The variety of on menu is tantalizing: Temple Grandin, diagnosed as a child with autism and the subject of a recent HBO biopic, reveals her pictorial thinking makes the case for utilizing the brainpower of kids on the autism spectrum. Chef and scholar Dan Barber deliciously recounts how he fell in love with a by an unusual sustainable-farming method in is helping to solve the pressing issue of keeping on restaurant menus without depleting the supplies. Bill Gates famously released mosquitoes during his TED talk about malaria last year. This year he delivered what 53-year-old TED curator Chris Anderson, a former publishing titan whose Sapling Foundation acquired TED in 2001, describes as a game about energy, avoiding planetary disaster and a new type of nuclear reactor. Observers question the madness of some TED methods of making a point. Environmental activist Lewis Pugh last year tried to one-up Al famed PowerPoint lecture on global warming by showing footage of record-breaking swim in a Speedo in the icy waters of the North Pole. For some, hard to worry about melting ice caps afer hearing his vivid description of that took months to thaw, postswim. And, um, there is the Speedo. This may be brain food, but not what most people expect on the menu. It's like drinking In addition to computer magnates and Clinton won a from a TED Prize in 2007 and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown gave a preGood sentation in Oxford last Graham, Jane Goodall, Stephen keeps coming at ing, Isaac Mizrahi, Amy Tan and James Cameron are among the glitterati that you, and it sticks deep in have taken main stage. Fostering change is a big TED your psyche." Spier theme. tough not to be moved to
June 2010 deltaskymag.com