Last weekend, innovators, entrepreneurs and technologists gathered at the University of Washington for TEDx Rainier and for a dose of inspiration and enlightenment. This is the stuff that stuck with me from that day.
Last weekend, I took a bus on a cold, rainy Saturday to the University of Washington in order to expose myself to new ideas, unknown science and a wealth of inspiration at the TEDx Rainier conference.
TEDx is one of many worldwide, independently-organized TED events. They are organized and staffed by 100% volunteers, and the content rivals that of the big TED. The goal? To gather of thinkers, entrepreneurs, academics, artists, environmentalists and engaged citizens working to design better futures. This year's theme was Gained in Translation: Ideas Crossing Frontiers.
This was my first TEDx event, and I was delighted to have the chance to attend after hearing so much about it from my hardworking social media friend, Jeris Miller.
It's hard to summarize a conference that involves so many new ideas, new facts and new topics. A few of my favorite quotes from the event:
Work, family, self. Pick two. You can't have all three. — Amy Jo Martin
Transforming our communities is less about our pocketbooks and more about the depth of our passion. Social capital is essential to our philanthropic DNA. — Paul Shoemaker
Like the Tyrannosaurus Rex, plastic bags leave a wake of destruction everywhere they go. — Chris Jordan
Too much reliance on philanthropy signifies a failure in capitalism. It's not the answer, but a sign of the problem. — Peter Blomquist
Relationships heal when we are willing to tell the truth and be vulnerable — Sarah Stuteville
A fundamentalist is essentially someone who knows how to get angry. — Andy Himes
Is your present perspective getting you the quality of life you want? — Jim Sorenson
Life’s biggest gift is our ability to better the lives of those less fortunate than us. — Adnan Mahmud
My memorable speakers
Every speaker had a strength, and some were more appealing that others. In particular, the afternoon session, chock-full of entrepreneurs, was deeply resonant for me. For me, the most powerful presentations were:
Surprise guest Rick Steves stole the show with his mind-blowing talk on the sacredness of diversity that world travel engenders. His entire talk was quotable; some of his most powerful nuggets of wisdom:
- Our dream is beautiful, but so is theirs.
- Travel wallops ethnocentricity.
- Fear is for people who don't get out very much.
- A government has to make a decision: tolerate alternative lifestyles or build more prisons.
Dmitri Christakes, a pediatrician and expert on environmental influences on early childhood, showed the graph of a travel pattern of a normal mouse followed by the travel pattern of a mouse after being exposed to "mouse-o-vision," the mouse equivalent of television, for several hours a day. The images were shocking: the first path was conservative and consistent, sticking to room corners as mice do. The second was a frenetic pattern that crossed the room in a style associated with ADD. This was most powerful visual I've seen for fast-paced cartoons causing ADD in children.
The Interfaith Amigos (Pastor Don Mackenzie, Rabbi Ted Falcon and Imam Jamal Rahman) gave a funny yet wise talk on interfaith issues, proving it is possible to be both devout and open-minded. Plus, they were the only speakers brave enough to break into song: "It's all one and I am as I am."
What about you? Which speakers and topics resonated with you?