Spaghetti Sauce & other chunky content

If anyone mentions/raves about a 20 minute video featuring spaghetti sauce by Malcolm Gladwell (remember Tipping Point & Blink) don’t be surprised. The video is found on Ted Talks which is a bit like a youtube channel for adults.

TED (Technology Entertainment Design) has been around since 1984 and was started by Richard Saul Wurman but seems to have really taken off under the direction of Chris Anderson. But back to the sauce…”What we can learn from spaghetti sauce”.

“In this witty monologue, Malcolm Gladwell follows the career of a food industry consultant who uncovered a key secret to what eaters like. Running huge focus groups to find customers’ truest tastes, Gladwell’s hero draws a radical conclusion, an epiphany that has defined food marketing ever since. Note: The theme of the 2004 conference was “The Pursuit of Happiness” — hence the talk’s quirky presence. ….

Malcolm Gladwell specializes in surprises — counterintuitive truths discovered by clever researchers, obscure historians, and ordinary people observing the world.”

Malcolm is a great speaker and this is a good opportunity to see him and many other presentations that are often only found at expensive conferences and take forever to deliver. This one is meandering and discursive and totally fascinating to a contrarian like me.

GladwellIn the TED format each presenter has 18 minutes and a few go over time but one of the best presentations is only 3 minutes long. You do have to register to get full access but it is free and a brilliant resource. The new improved website for the talks was relaunched on 16th of April.

Other video presentations I really like are:

Richard St. John: Secrets of success in 8 words, 3 minutes
Inspired by a chance encounter with a high school student who asked him how to become a success, St. John interviewed more than 500 successful people, then distilled what they told him into eight simple principles.

 Joshua Prince-Ramus is best known as architect of the Seattle Central Library and his presentation is mind blowing. There is also a presentation by Frank Gehry on TED talks as well – but I haven’t seen that one yet.

Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity? is one of the most popular presentations. Sir Ken led the British government’s 1998 advisory committee on creative and cultural education, a massive inquiry into the significance of creativity in the educational system and the economy, and was knighted in 2003 for his achievements.

(Update: I found a transcript of a similar speech by Sir Ken over at The second Principal Voices round-table which took place in Beijing, China, on Monday 16th May 2005.)

There are even a couple of NZ connections with Sam Morgan (TradeMe) and an intriguing project called “GoVirtualMedical” (GVM) which is a group of surgeons, educators, businessmen and computer experts who have created a multimedia clinical skills trainer that meets the practical training needs of health professionals.

GVM which features a brace of significant NZ names including Professor John Windsor,  Dr Rick Boven (whose PHD thesis I once read – very rare event!), Greg Sitters and Craig Meek who are well known in tech circles here.  This sounds like a project well worth checking out so watch this blog space for news about them.

Actually there was/is a NZ mini version of 7 minute presentations inspired by TED and some of those NZ presentations are also available at this site.

“TED is owned by a non-profit foundation whose mission is to leverage the power of ideas. The new website was inspired by the viral success of TEDTalks, the audio and video podcast series, which premiered in June 2006 and has been viewed more than 8.5 million times worldwide. The TEDTalks series was exclusively sponsored by BMW, who returns as the inaugural sponsor for”….which features:

  • More than 100 full-length TED talks, including 30 never-before-seen outside the exclusive TED Conference
  • Ideas, insight and inspiration from a diverse group of thinkers and doers, including Kevin Kelly, Bono, Bill Clinton, Jeff Bezos, Jane Goodall, Stefan Sagmeister, Seth Godin, Alex Steffen, Nicholas Negroponte, Peter Gabriel, Al Gore, Richard Dawkins, Ted Warren, Hans Rosling, Jeff Han, and many others including Sam Morgan  (whose presentation was this year and is not posted yet.)
  • Social-networking tools — including Profile Pages, Comments and Favorites — that allow for interaction among members of the extended TED community including TEDblog see news
  • Free site membership for everyone worldwide

Finally here is a great reason to blow that datacap. This is what broadband was built for. Note: a 20 min clip is around 70mb and there are also audio clips as well. Could be perfect for the Ipod too as you can save (possibly not all clips) in iTunes mp3 or mp4 formats for the desktop or devices.

Note: A slightly different version of this is also over at Idealog Magazine blog area where you can also read other blogs as well.

See also a post by Brian Sweeney over at NZ Edge TED Conference: Edge Experience