For me it was a first TED experience (beyond the obvious online videos), and I walked out of the European Parlement entirely different than you it seems. :)
I had the pleasure of meeting very interesting people during the breaks who were all "down to earth", excited about their business and showing the willingness to explain it (even some highly advanced mathematical doctor who lost me somewhere along his explanation). The talks were all innovative in their own way (although the OLPC and Wolfram Alpha project are mainly a recap of all the other information & videos that are out there), and I dare say I'll do my best to attend next conference.
(and crossposted on his blog)
I’m glad you liked it!
And a shame we didn’t meet, reading through your blog we have lot’s of common interests like your TV-show torrent RSS feed thing and such
If you like TED, I can really recommend to check out the barcamps in Belgium (as I did in my blogpost): It’s roughly the same concept as TED but it’s an “unconference” meaning that everything is organised on the spot and everybody is free to give a 20 minute talk about any topic they desire (and anyone is free to listen to it, or not)
There’s only one rule: if you attend, you HAVE to participate in one form or another.
As you are a developer and a geek, I’m quite sure you’ll like it :-)
Hope to meet one day!
Maybe at the next TEDx Brussels
@Stef: I was at the previous barcamp in Antwerp, and did indeed like the concept. Been a bit too busy to prepare anything for the one in Ghent, but I'm looking forward to joining the next one (hopefully in Antwerp :P )
Yesterday I attended TEDx Brussels.
TED stands for Technology, Entertainment en Design - The x stands for "independently organized"
It's a series of conferences for "free spirits" to spread ideas worth spreading and to inspire you with insights that are not necessarily inside your normal area of expertise.
The theme in Brussels was "Burn the Box" meaning it's not enough the think outside the box, you have to be willing to burn it if necessary.
Mixed feelings about the conference.
Yes, there were some really good talks like "open everything" by Michel Bauwens about the need for open information, open standards and product hacking , the great talk about information visualisation by David McCandless and the super wacko talk of R.U. Sirius.
And yes, most of the speakers are undoubtedly experts in their field (although some of them clearly wondered why on earth they were invited to speak)
But there's something eery about a group of smart and established people shouting "Burn the box" or "we're so cool because we dare to think different" and most of them were soooooooo full of themselves.
example: During a coffee break I asked a theoretical physicist what he was working on and he replied "you wouldn't understand" ....
If you have a good idea, just talk about it and leave out the attitude.
Attitudes like Nicholas Negroponte who talked (of course) about his OLPC project : no doubt he's a man with a vision and he achieved some amazing things but his talk was full of bloat and cheap shots at Microsoft. Don't devalue your competitor (or even your enemy), the only thing you achieve is devaluating your own message.
Attitudes like Conrad Wolfram who talked about how ridiculous it is that students still have to do math calculations on paper when there's something like a PC (with Wolfram Alpha) these days.
I completely disagreed with him. It's like saying to an artist he's stupid for still trying to achieve a impressionist style with oil-paint and a brush when we have photoshop filters for that now ...
Of course you should use a PC for mundane calculations but I am very glad I had to do so many math on paper without a computer in high school: it really showed me the beauty of math, how one can approach a problem from so many different angles and how one can translate a chaos like concept into comprehensible structured steps.
Wolfram Alpha is pretty cool, but it's little more then a multi-trick pony that you have to give the correct and narrow input to get the results you want.
Or attitudes like the way TEDx Brussels had set up their communication (you can't just register, you have to be invited) or the pumped up writing in their tweets like this one (yes, Djamal Laroussi can play the guitar, and yes there was some cheering - but going wild? It was more like Antony Bosschem said: it's like a dad who wants to act cool for his son)
To repeat myself: if you have something worthwhile to say: just say it to whoever wants to listen and leave out the bloat.
I find I get more insight and brain tickles spending some time following the various links and comments that float by on twitter then a full day at TEDx.
That's why i like the barcamp concept so much: it's like TED, without the attitude. Presentations there a more "burning the box" then the ones i heard yesterday.
So if you really want to get your mind be blown away, get your ass to Gent on december 19 for the next barcamp - you won't be disappointed.