TED at the Web 2.0 Expo: “A platform for spreading ideas”

Interesting keynote from TED's June Cohen on viral spread of TED talks via video #w2eJune Cohen’s Web 2.0 Expo talk — Ideas Worth Spreading: TED’s Transition from Conference to Platform — just ended and it was so incredible I have to immediately commit these thoughts to a post.

TED has realized its incredible value not only as a conference but as a platform.  Largely through capturing videos of their incredible sessions and then making them available worldwide for free viewing afterwards, they’ve been able to harness the power of an amazing viral spread of enthusiasm.

Cohen used the example of Hans Rosling’s incredible talk jettisoning him into unlikely-internet-stardom, so from a content standpoint TED has a goldmine — and they want to share it.  This is where the technological and philosophical elements come in.

Technologically, they facilitate this worldwide viral spread in part by making sure the videos are subtitled into multiple languages.  Not only are the videos subtitled, but the full transcripts are available. One excellent feature Cohen pointed out was that you can click a word in the transcript and the video automatically scrolls to that point.

And if technology and awesome content weren’t enough, TED is pursuing a fully open philosophy.  “In pursuing the strategies of openness, all of the unintended consequences have been explosively positive,” says Cohen, while announcing TED Open TV Project — a network of partners that can use TED talks for free and build broadcasts around them.  The bottom line for TED?  “TED has evolved from a conference to a media company to a platform for spreading ideas.”

Definitely staying tuned to — and rewatching — this one.

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Starving Our Future — Jamie Oliver at TED


I wish for everyone to help create a strong, sustainable movement to educate every child about food, inspire families to cook again and empower people everywhere to fight obesity.
– Jamie Oliver, TED2010

Wie ihr es immer dreht und wie ihr’s immer schiebt
Erst kommt das Fressen, dann kommt die Moral.
Erst muß es möglich sein auch armen Leuten
Vom großen Brotlaib sich ihr Teil zu schneiden.
– Bertolt Brecht, The Threepenny Opera, 1928

TED prize-winner Jamie Oliver is mad about American obesity, and shared it freely with the audience at TED yesterday:

At one point in this impassioned talk largely about (re-)teaching kids about food, he shows a clip of school children who are totally baffled by these objects — common vegetables — that Oliver has brought into their class.

The problem is there are no food-knowledgeable people in the school system, he says, and he cites that if we really investigated what we fed kids at school, we’d find every government in the world guilty of child abuse.

Amongst his chronicles of the many terrible health affects of our country’s mainstream food, Oliver also offers hope — because this is a curable issue. “If I could come up here today with a cure for AIDS or cancer, you’d be fighting and scrambling to get to me. All this bad news is preventable — very very preventable.”

Real tangible change can be had, he says, from junk to fresh food: “six and a half grand per school — that’s all it takes.”

What is $6500 to the $6K ticket-holders in the TED audience? (With all respect to TED that we can watch the proceedings for free online).

Now — what is $6500 to schools faced immediately with $113 million dollars in cuts? It’s more than a luxury — it’s an impossibility.

And what is a school without well-nourished bodies and the minds they could support? We do nothing less than starve our future by malnourishing our children.

It’s a dizzying rollercoaster ride — from Oliver’s deadly iteration of the current situation to the hope that this is curable — to the tragedy of a rich nation preventing to fulfill this hope, and somehow, back to the hope that this is solvable. “It’s the future; it’s the only way,” says Oliver.