Friday, March 21, 2014

On the road again: TEDActive, Whistler, day 5

The show is over for the year.  I'm writing this from a room in a hotel that is literally in the Vancouver airport.  The hotel is lovely, its restaurant is attractive and serves decent food, and the place is literally inside the airport.  From one vantage point, you can look down and see gates.  Very odd--but very handy, given that I have to leave the room at 6:30 a.m., an ungodly hour anywhere. 

Between TED filling me with ideas, work eating all my spare hours (and more I couldn't spare), and my health still sucking more than a little, I am wrung out, so I am hoping I will actually make this entry brief. 

Simon Sinek's discussion of leadership and corporate behavior aligned amazingly well with a lot of our core beliefs at PT, so predictably I enjoyed it a great deal and found it persuasive.  I plan to check out his books.

Monologist Sarah Jones delivered an absolutely wonderful and stirring performance, answering questions she had never seen before while inhabiting a different character for each query.  Her mimicry is superb, but she goes beyond mere copying and truly seems to become many different people.

Jennifer Senior talked about many different aspects of child-rearing and presented a lot of interesting data.  If you're a young parent, I suspect you could do worse than to check out her book, All Joy and No Fun:  The Paradox of Modern Parenthood.

The last talk of the first session was also in many ways its most moving, as retired Golden Gate Bridge patrol officer Kevin Briggs discussed the many years he spent talking people back from the edge of the bridge and from committing suicide. 

Singer Somi treated us to a beautiful, haunting song.  I had not heard of her before, but now I want to listen to more of her performances. 

Joi Ito talked about the lessons of the modern Internet era in a discussion I will be pondering for some time.  His biggest piece of advice is one I give often and completely support:  Above all else, be completely present.

Shai Reshef presented his University of the People, an interesting approach to trying to bring higher education to more and more people.

In a surprisingly moving session, Gabby Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, discussed her recovery, both what she's done and the work ahead.  Her determination and bravery, as well as his dedication, are impressive and inspirational.

Writer Andrew Solomon delivered a heartbreaking discussion of finding his way to some peace in his identity in a world that had long taught him that being gay was a bad thing. 

Julia Sweeney ended the last session--and the conference--with a very funny mock summation of the entire conference.

We then walked to the site of next year's TEDActive--yes, I've already applied, been approved, paid, and booked my hotel room--ate a quick lunch, and TEDActive was over.

Each year, I have found this show to be informative, provocative, miraculous, heartwarming, heartbreaking, and important.  This year was no exception.  I wish I could bring everyone I know. 


Rosanne said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful experience. I doubt I would ever get to go but I can check out the persons who presented online. I hope your health improves and that you feel better soon!

Mark said...

I did indeed greatly enjoy the conference. I am mending, though slowly, probably in large part due to lack of sleep. I predict a return to full health after a few nights of rest.


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