If a solicitor knocks on my door (in spite of the awesome pirate-themed ‘no soliciting’ sign made by my sons) I don’t answer. Occasionally, I’ll do the same when opportunity knocks. Because, you know, I’m much too busy doing the many very important things in my very important life. But when one of the organizers (whom I'd never met) of the first TEDxFoCo called to personally invite me to the event, I cleared time between my very important laundry and my very important dog walking to give it some consideration.
It wasn’t a hard decision. First of all, the TED concept is great—interesting people sharing interesting ideas in eighteen minutes or less. Secondly, being included in the “first wave” of invitees made me feel cool in a DEVO sort of way (which I decidedly am not). And last but not least, the lineup of local speakers was not to be missed. So I got my ticket.
The near-sellout crowd included a mix of ages and backgrounds—but I couldn’t determine who else was among the first wave, as we were not given red flowerpot hats or secret handshakes. My student days are well behind me, and I did have concerns about my ability to sit still and listen for four hours. But the speakers—chosen to “represent entrepreneurship, community, education, media, policy and the arts”—were so smart and engaging that I had no trouble paying attention. (Except when my husband texted me to let me know that his car keys were at the bottom of Boyd Lake. Doh.)
I wasn’t surprised that much of the focus of TEDxFoCo was on sustainability, innovation, and social responsibility. Those issues have been at the forefront in Northern Colorado for some time now, and rightfully so. We need to address how our community will grow, how we will work and play and raise our children so we may continue to have a solid, comfortable place in the world at large. But the talks went beyond that to include the vital importance of the arts, of play, of new models of teaching and learning, of “radical collaboration” and the risks and rewards of entrepreneurship, of transparency and trust. And, as Kim Jordan put it, the importance of the ways in which we make our love and talent manifest.
Thanks to Nick for organizing this shindig, and to Bob for inviting me to the first of what I hope will be many local TEDs. I was so glad I was able to attend, and I left with renewed respect and admiration for the people of Fort Collins…and lots to think about at 4 a.m.
(TED is not a name but an acronym for Technology, Entertainment, Design. But when I searched TED images, I got pictures of: Ted Kennedy, Ted Bundy, Ted Danson, Ted Turner, Ted Nugent, Ted Haggard, Ted Williams, 1970s Swedish pop star Ted Gardestad, and Superted the cartoon bear. Who knew Teds were such a diverse group?)