Friday, January 14, 2011

TED@MotorCity

There was a TED event in Detroit, TED@MotorCity on January 9th.  What is TED?  The best and most clear explanation comes from the TED.com site:
"TED is a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. Along with two annual conferences -- the TED Conference in Long Beach and Palm Springs each spring, and the TEDGlobal conference in Oxford UK each summer -- TED includes the award-winning TEDTalks video site, the Open Translation Project and Open TV Project, the inspiring TED Fellows and TEDx programs, and the annual TED Prize."
The event, supported by Lincoln was held in The Music Box at the Max M. Fisher Music Center in Detroit.  The venue is beautiful.  Lincoln vehicles were out front and inside and people were encouraged to examine the vehicles and take a survey about the brand.
Gary Bolles, curator of the event, is CEO of Xigi Inc. From the website
"xigi (zig'-ee) builds custom software solutions for social-information network mapping and online publishing. The xigi Insight Engine™ provides a flexible and highly scalable platform for the delivery of hosted social-information solutions to the business, government, and non-profit sectors."
Gary introduced C.J. O'Donnell, Group Marketing Manager for Lincoln Mercury, who gave brief remarks.
The theme for the TED@MotorCity event was "New Tomorrows".
Thomas Goetz, Executive Editor of Wired and author of The Decision Tree spoke about personal health care.  Better information (personal and relevant) can lead to people making better health choices.  He used a standard blood test result document to illustrate his point.  The document - dense text did not really convey the information in a way that was meaningful for the patient.  Wired changed the report to a color chart showing where the patient was relative to the ideal results.  People need personal relevant feedback to make better choices.  Technological examples he gave are FitBit, a device that measures activity; Withings Wi-Fi Body Scale which will tweet your weight; and Lose It! a calorie-counting app.  His book, The Decision Tree, is now on my reading list.
Dale Dougherty, founder of MAKE Magazine spoke about the societal change from makers to … A few generations ago, people made things.  People were handy.  Now, not so much.  We need to get involved and return to our maker heritage.  His talk reminded me of the folks who tinker and mashup and create.  I’m sure this is  due to the fact that I am reading Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything by Don Topscott , Anthony D. Williams. 
John Gallagher is the architecture critic for the Detroit Free Press and the author of Rethinking Detroit.   He spoke about the origins of urban sprawl and a return to community.  Cheap energy allowed people to move further and further out.  Now, there is a desire to live, work and play close to home.  People want walkable communities.  John encouraged us to imagine Detroit as a blank canvas and to adopt a “let’s try it” attitude.  His book, Rethinking Detroit is now on my reading list.
Jessica Care Moore is an internationally renowned poet/ publisher/ activist/ rock star/ playwright and actor.  She performed poetry accompanied on cello by Cecelia Sharpe.  I became a fan after seeing her at the TEDxDetroit event in September.  The photo in the background, cello and poetry combined into an exhilarating experience.  Jessica ended her performance with a challenge “I see ideas everywhere. Do you?”  I do Jessica, I do.
Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist.org was interviewed by curator Gary Bolles.  Craig spoke about the power of connectedness and collaboration.  Again, this fits nicely with the book I am reading: Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything.  Craig encouraged us to get connected and get involved.
Lisa Gansky, author of “The Mesh: Why the Future of Business Is Sharing” was the final speaker and she talked about seeing the planet as one big sharing platform.  Lisa encouraged us to share and learn – from our successes and failures.  And again, her talk resonated with the book I am reading: Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything.  Lisa’s book, The Mesh: Why the Future of Business Is Sharing, is now on my reading list.
The reception was full of new connections, insightful conversations and fabulous food.  A very well done event by the fine folks at TED and Lincoln.
Other folks also wrote up the event:
TED
NYTimes
Beck Davis
Jeannette Gutierrez
Benjamin Slayter
The speakers on Twitter:
Thomas Goetz
Dale Dougherty
Craig Newmark
Lisa Gansky

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