What I Learned from TED

For those who are not tech geeks like me, who are always browsing the Internet or browsing their smart phone looking for something new and interesting to check out, you may not have heard of TED. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design and is a series of international, regional and virtual conferences in which various speakers talk about  a wide variety of topics.

When I first found out about TED, I was curious, but didn’t think much of it. After I downloaded the TED app on my iPhone, and also started following it on Twitter (@ted_com), I learned there were some very interesting presentations that have been given. The TED conferences bring out both top of the line, nationally known speakers, business leaders, and well known people, as well as obscure, lesser-known speakers who are fascinating none the less!

So what kinds of speakers and topics can you find at TED? Some of the topics I find the most fascinating include the areas of innovation, motivation, open source technology, research in healthcare, leadership, and personal development. Of the 1,000+ speakers who have participated at TED, some of the ones I’ve found most interesting have included Tony Robbins, Dan Pink, Derek Sivers, Bill Gates, Seth Godin, Dr. Robert Ballard and Sir Richard Branson.

A few examples of some of the more interesting presentations related to advancements in medicine, technology, and personal development include the following:

“A Prosthetic Arm That ‘Feels'”

Physiatrist and engineer Todd Kuiken is building a prosthetic arm that connects with the human nervous system — improving motion, control and even feeling. Onstage, patient Amanda Kitts helps demonstrate this next-gen robotic arm.

“Open-Source Cancer Research”

How does cancer know it’s cancer? At Jay Bradner’s lab, they found a molecule that might hold the answer, JQ1 — and instead of patenting JQ1, they published their findings and mailed samples to 40 other labs to work on. An inspiring look at the open-source future of medical research.

“Try Something New for 30 Days”

Is there something you’ve always meant to do, wanted to do, but just … haven’t? Matt Cutts suggests: Try it for 30 days. This short, lighthearted talk offers a neat way to think about setting and achieving goals.

“A Life Lesson From a Volunteer Firefighter”

[NOTE: This one is particularly meaningful because I was a volunteer firefighter for 5 years!]

Volunteer firefighter Mark Bezos tells a story of an act of heroism that didn’t go quite as expected — but that taught him a big lesson: Don’t wait to be a hero.

“The Big Idea my Brother Inspired”

When Jamie Heywood’s brother was diagnosed with ALS, he devoted his life to fighting the disease as well. The Heywood brothers built an ingenious website where people share and track data on their illnesses — and they discovered that the collective data had enormous power to comfort, explain and predict.


These are just a few samples of some of the wonderfully fascinating, informative and educational presentations over the years that have been held at the TED and TEDx independently organized conferences. These presentations and speakers are well worth listening to and viewing and getting inspired by!!!

What are some of your favorite TED presentations?

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This entry was posted in Education / Learning, Leadership / Business / Management, Science / Medicine and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to What I Learned from TED

  1. Pingback: 4 Conferences On My “To Do” List | Rants from a Self Help Junkie

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