TEDx Seattle Organizers Meetup

Earlier today, Kartik and I skipped our first day of Fall Quarter classes to attend a TEDx Organizer meetup at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. If I had to use one word to describe the event, it would be Ignite.

Conversations were diverse- we discussed sponsors, speakers, developing dialogue, and more. Our group was equally diverse- the spectrum ranged from new, young TEDx Organizers like us and TEDxYouth@Seattle to experienced, older veterans of TEDxRainier and TEDxDU.The atmosphere was welcoming and engaging, the sandwich lunch delicious, and the campus breathtaking.

There’s incredible power in bringing together a small group of strangers with a common passion. Before today, most of us had never spoken to each other. But almost instantaneously the shared love of TEDx brought us together as a cohesive unit. You could feel the TEDx drive in the air - ideas were being tossed around like a hacky sack and discussions seamlessly flowed like a stream over smooth rocks. It was interesting to observe our TEDx meetup embodying the values of TED itself. TED prides itself with the tagline of “Ideas Worth Spreading”, and our meetup flawlessly demonstrated the TED spirit: those who put on events eagerly shared their thoughts and best practices while those who were new to TEDx supplied a steady line of questions. On the one hand, I was impressed the Gates Foundation was so supportive of TEDx and so eager to support us. On the other, I was inspired that it only took the small spark of a half-day event to stimulate the conversation and collaboration of the local TEDx community.

One of best topics that was brought up today was how, as organizers, we could take “Ideas Worth Spreading” and transform them into “Ideas Worth Doing”. We brainstormed how TEDx could be used as a vehicle for empowering action, and how our speakers could light a spark in the audience to motivate tangible change. But as our conversation developed, an even bigger topic emerged: Should the focus of TEDx be to inspire action?

Personally, I view the focus of TEDx not to inspire action but rather to share ideas. Action comes as a result of ideas. TEDx is beyond the organizers, speakers, and even the individual ideas. TEDx is about bringing together a diverse mix of ideas worth spreading, piling them up as kindling in the fire pit of our venue, and igniting them. Ordinary ideas are potent and may require caution. Ideas mixed in the fireplace of TEDx are dangerously flammable.

One of my favorite quotes is:
“Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire.”
-Fred Shero
It could not apply more to TEDx. Today’s meetup ignited our collaboration of local TEDx organizers, as well as my own drive to make TEDxUofW an unforgettable and life-changing event. It’s my hope that, in April 2012, The Next Generation will ignite the hearts of others.

Written by Tim Tan, TEDxUofW Co-Organizer. 

Originally posted at http://www.tedxuofw.com/2011/09/the-next-generation-ignite/