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TEDx Vancouver well worth the drive #TEDxVan2011

Even though TEDx events are generally attended by locals, for some reason I received an invite. It may have been because of all the media coverage a few years ago surrounding the RFID implants. For a time I was visiting Vancouver a whole heck of a lot and the Canadian media (TV and radio mostly) did several interviews with me. But media is funny, they tend to write the story first, then come to the source to confirm and fill in gaps and facts. One of the facts that was overlooked by many media outlets was that I was an American, not from Vancouver. So, there are several stories out there that describe me as a Canadian from Vancouver.

Things I took away from the event were; the inspiration to push my comfort zones, and a sampling of simple yet powerful ideas. There were live speakers and a selection of short videos of talks from other TED events, and one of them was a guy talking about an approach to expanding your experience that I’ve heard before, but never really took to heart. The concept is simply to challenge yourself for 30 days. Start the challenges off easy and grow from there. I immediately made 2 challenges for myself;

Talk to strangers – Talk to at least one stranger every day. Just sayings “hi” to each other does not count, I must try to engage in an actual conversation and ask questions to illicit more dialog. I immediately put this into practice after the event when I was standing in line at The Naam for a table. Their lines are notorious, and getting a table for one is next to impossible, so knowing I was in for a long wait I struck up a conversation with the guy who came in after me. Then two more people came in and we both started talking to those two. It turns out we were all from TEDx and we got a table together and talked for close to two hours about all kinds of things from Uruguay to genetics to track athletes to human longevity to web development.

20 minutes for your health – Exercise for 20 minutes every day. For many people, exercise is a given but my brain always derails any attempt at doing anything other than eating and working. So far so good… it’s the morning after TEDx and I woke up and immediately did a non-stop 20 minute session of jumping jacks, push-ups, and running in place when I couldn’t do jumping jacks or push-ups anymore. I’d say that’s a good start. Now, where to find today’s stranger…

Process designKara Pecknold talked about designing processes over objects, and detailed a simple “4D” approach; Discovery, Design, Develop, Deliver – which I plan on applying to my own process development tactics. She talked about Dr. John Snow and how he essencially saved London from a cholera outbreak by designing and implementing a process.

Sagan Series – We watched Reid Gower talk about his Sagan Series videos which borrow the powerful spoken word of Carl Sagan himself, and match it to modern, sweeping, beautiful video. I love when nerds create beautiful art using Carl Sagan’s unique and moving lyrical stylings. Here’s part 1 of Reid’s video series for you to enjoy:

The TEDx stage

~1000 people packed into a tiny foyer

Sitting next to Alexander Bell - and yes, he is a descendant!

The after-party was out of this world! (corny, but still apt)

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