Sunday, February 10, 2013

TEDxAustin 2013

The TEDxAustin 2013 event was an experience.  It was a long day filled with speakers, great food, intriguing conversation, and thought provoking ideas. The event touched all the senses.  I feel fortunate to have been present with so many old friends, and some new ones.

Over 500 attendees participated in the event at the Circuit of the Americas facility (Austin's new Formula One track).  The organizing committee did an amazing job of curating this annual conference that brings together a unique mixture of the Austin community.

Discussions with others about the favorite speakers of the day reminded me of the subjective nature of the art and science of oratory.  Those who are listening to presentations seem to have different nuggets of information that resonate within their hearts.  My friends had different favorites, and it was interesting to see what ideas stood out.

My personal opinions of the best part of the day are simply my observations.  Others would have conflicting thoughts on what contributed to their experience.  There is not right or wrong as all the speakers were very good and I applaud them for participating in the TEDx forum.

There were three talks from TEDxAustin 2013 that linger in my memory:

Faith Dickey.  Hers was one of the shorter talks, yet her hobby of slaklining was both interesting and frightening all at the same time.  Walking on a cord hundreds of feet in the air is certainly not for everyone, but her passion for how the activity makes her feel "alive" resonated as I believe we all long for the deep sensation of knowing we are here.  Her message of  not letting fear be an inhibitor was thought provoking.  And the expression of "relief, humor, joy and triumph" when reaching the other side made lots of sense to me!

Michael McDaniel and Jared Ficklin.  These two Frog Design employees presented a revolutionary idea on how to change the face of mass transit in Austin and beyond.  I question if their moving gondolas will become the future, but it is out of the box thinking that changes the world.  I cheer the presentation and their enthusiasm and joy in sharing this idea.

Darden Smith.  Mr Smith stole the show.  His presentation was augmented with this guitar playing.  He intermixed song with background music as he shared the details of his journey.  The message of "attention, intention and doing what you love" resonated deeply with the audience.  I give him the nod as "best of the day".  His song Angel Flight is a must listen, and his work with soldiers clearly has impact..

I have attended three of the four Austin TEDx events, and they are always inspiring. It was a great way to spend the day.  As with all events, the "hallway conversations" with others who shared in hearing the presentations was where I found the most value.  I would have enjoyed a little more interaction within the ranks of the audience.... as the people I talked with provided so much insight.

Have A Great Day

thom singer

PS - If you live in Austin, Texas and know a high school or middle school student, you need to tell them about TEDxAustin Youth.  This event will take place on March 30, 2013 and will be an amazing experience for them to be exposed to the wonders that can happen at a TEDx event.

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