[At TED], we have found over the last few years that all the best things that have been done have been done by the community at large. When you open up and let the crowd contribute, amazing things happen.
Our first experience was with giving the talks away (on YouTube). People shared the talks and it flew all over the Internet, and suddenly lots of people knew about TED that didn’t before. So far from the big risk of giving away our crown jewels, we ended up with an event that a lot of people are talking about.
With TEDx, it was another attempt to tap into and empower our global community. Even though it sounds risky to give away your brand, by offering these free licenses with a clear set of rules of what they can and can’t do, we thought it was worth the risk. We have been totally amazed by how many people have taken up the chance to hold their own TEDx event and in general how amazing in quality those events are.
We average about seven TEDx events a day now. You could not build an organization that could run 2,000 conferences a year by itself, certainly not in three years.