TEDx Talks & Topics

Tomorrow is TEDxAuckland 2013 and I will be there with bells on. I love ideas and thinking “across the universe” as I see it.

Modern education ( it has been said) forces us to concentrate more and more on less and less and I think we should aim a bit wider like Leonardo da Vinci. OK he was a polymath but having access to a wide range of disciplines and hearing from them all in one day is what I imagine a renaissance education workshop might look like. It would be like a series of extended TEDx Talks in fact.

painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer

So the best minds in a given field turn up and give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes or less. It will be a mind blast with music in between as it always is. Drinking from a firehose of ideas is always fun.

I keep wanting to make up a series of jokes that go something like this… So the brain scientist, the rapper, the chef and the politician went to the pub – what would they talk about?  I’m not sure but multiply the group by 4 and put them on a stage with a stopwatch and by the end of the day we will have a very good idea.

The video clip above gives an idea of what the topics are that are covered at a TEDx event on any given day. Other slides below show what those topics break out into and what the global big data links are as displayed by Sean Gourley (a TEDxAuckland 2012 speaker)


TEDx talks are a global conversation with dozens of talks on any given day in more than 130 countries. So far there are 30,000 + talks on the TEDx video library and only a very few make it onto the main TED talks website.


So how does TEDxAuckland stack up on the topics compared to the rest of the world? 

The photo below gives you a visual list of who is speaking and in some cases a few clues of what they are about.

In some cases it is hard to categorise the speaker and what their subject area is going to be but having met a few of them I can tell you that they are very accomplished all rounders who have a passion for their work and life.

And we cover all the main topic areas. What is unique to Auckland and New Zealand especially will be the more cultural language and musical topics. I think we are in for a very special treat with music anthropologist Richard Nunns talking about his work and curating musical performances as part of that.

It is also great to see that a relatively high number of woman speaking. Most notably the former PM of New Zealand – Helen Clark. Helen was Prime Minister for 9 years and in her role at the United Nations we can expect some finely honed perspectives.

Brian Sweeney who is also based in NY will have a wide ranging talk covering a number of topics. Brian is a culture hero who I first worked with in about 1984 when he was president of the NZ Students Arts Council. He went on to manage the Topp Twins for many years and eventually setup a PR company as well as develop the idea of NZ diapora through the NZEdge website.




P.S: I am listed in the programme as “the Godfather” thanks everyone 🙂 (I do know some interesting people… )The reality is that any event like this requires many hands to make the light work. There are some brilliant people working long hours to make everything run smoothly and all for love, as they are volunteers.

Enjoy your day at TEDxAuckland 2013 and if you see me say hi.