SHARING AMERICA'S TECH NEWS FROM THE VALLEY TO THE ALLEY
“I am not a technologist. I set a salon or a dinner party where people felt comfortable.”
The two largest annual TED events take place in California each spring and the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh, Scotland in the summer. There are also offshoots such as TED Med and TEDx, which meet in smaller cities to discuss emerging trends and new ideas. Speakers are challenged with presenting meaningful and thoughtful presentations in typically less than 18 minutes.
“When I first started TED, it was all about tech, entertainment and design and no one knew what I was talking about,” Wurman said. “Now, it’s an old concept. You can’t think of something that doesn’t include all of those things.”
The event had traction and gradually attracted more attendees: “Back then, I would do a meeting and anyone who sent me a check got in,” he said. In time, the conferences sold out quickly, but his standards for what he wanted intensified.
“If you want to do something well, it is hard,” Wurman added. “Nothing is easy. I have never done anything in my life that was easy and you have to keep pushing boundaries to do it well.”
Last year, Wurman launched WWW, which focused on improvised conversation, and he always has his hands on new projects. In 2014, the 555 conference will circumnavigate the globe over five weeks in five different cities. Five speakers will discuss and predict what the future of innovation might look like.
“Each year, I do a brand new way of doing a conference,” he said. “There is no best way to do a meeting. Just different ways. No best car, no best anything.”
With a background in architecture and design, Wurman has always been fascinated with patterns.
“What interests me is new paradigms in communication and how you see patterns,” he said. “I am very interested in cartography — the study of maps — which is all about patterns. If you want to learn about design, sew a shirt and you will see how hard it is. That interests me and difficulty excites me, and so does the dance with failure.”
This drive keeps him constantly pushing to pursue and create the next big thing.
“I don’t intend to stop anytime soon,” he said. “I am 78 years old, and I am going to keep going as dribble comes down my chin.”
Thank you. TiA.