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Reflections on TEDx Memphis (#tedxmem)

19 April 2010

I spent the afternoon Saturday with approximately 35 other people at the Memphis Pink Palace Museum attending the inaugural TEDx Memphis. To be honest, I almost missed the event. Fortunately, I saw a tweet by Dave Barger late Thursday night and was able to still register for a ticket on Friday. Apparently, the event started out as invitation only or so it seems. (At this point, I need to publicly apologize to Jason Bedell. I should have contacted him and invited him to join me in Memphis for the event, but I just didn’t think about it so he missed it. Sorry, Jason.)

For anyone unfamiliar with TED, the conferences were started in 1984 as a way to bring together “ideas worth spreading” from the fields of technology, entertainment, and design. Members give brief (under 18 minute) talks on their particular “idea worth spreading.” TED conference membership is exclusive (they don’t like the word “elite”) and the membership fee is currently $6000.00, but they have begun admitting a few TED fellows in order to diversify their membership. TEDx events are independently organized but follow the TED format. I learned about TED through my Professional Learning Network and have been inspired by several talks including ones by Sir Ken Robinson, Jonathan Zittrain, Gever Tulley, and Dan Pink.

The Memphis event focused on the concept of simplicity, a topic about which this father of four knows very little, and I was excited about the potential learning TEDx Memphis would afford. It was a good day and I gleaned several nuggets. If you’d like to read the tweets from the event (most of which are mine) you can do so here. In this post, I’m only going to hit my personal highlights.

Kris Pond-Burtis started the day with a presentation “Beyond Leisure: The Pause that Truly Refreshes.” I appreciated her thoughts as she spoke about the value of Sabbath rest. I know I need to be more intentional about setting aside time for rest, and I plan to act on her suggestion that we schedule Sabbaths in our calendars and protect the time as we would any other important appointment. I’m looking at my calendar and planning my intentional escape.

“Why the Human Mind Should be Recalled: Exploring the Great Disconnect Between Intention and Action” by Steve Levinson helped me understand and think through why my best intentions never actually realize the wanted results. He also provided me with some helpful suggestions for how to actualize my intentions. I intend to implement his strategies, but we’ll see what happens. :0)

Finally, I was encouraged and inspired by Austin Baker and Bob Taylor‘s “MILE : A Simple Program for Transferring Leadership Knowledge to the next Generation of Leaders.” While the program is focused on connecting college-level business students with current business leaders in mentoring relationships, I can see the potential benefits of implementing a similar program designed for our career and technical students or any of our students at the high school level. A good mentor is so important in developing as a leader and I am encouraged that so many business leaders in Memphis are interested in working with students.

Several of the other presentations were also excellent, and I hope the videos will be available soon online. I also enjoyed getting to meet some new folks and share a little with Dave Barger about how many educators are using Twitter, blogs, and other web 2.0 tools to develop Personal Learning Networks. It was a good day and I look forward to the next TEDx Memphis. Hopefully, next time some members of my PLN and more fellow Memphians will be able to join me.

In the meantime, if you want to get an idea of what TED is like I recommend you view the following talks which we also viewed at TEDx Memphis on Saturday.

Have you been to a TEDx? What was your experience? I’d love to hear more about the independent TED events happening around the world.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. 20 April 2010 11:17 am

    No need to apologize Philip. It sounds like there were some interesting sessions. I’ll have to go with you next year if I still live in TN.

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