TEDxPeachtree 2012: The Live Multiplier Effect

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Like many of you, I had seen TED talks on the Internet. I often watch them when I’ve got a spare moment, taking a leisurely 20 minutes here and there to stuff my head with new ideas before getting back to work or moving on to something else.

Attending TEDxPeachtree on November 2, I expected the same feeling as I sat and watched the day’s talks - perhaps scratching my chin occasionally and picking up a great insight or two. But what I did not expect was a knowledge multiplier effect from watching these talks live.

Because of the way the talks were arranged, I found that each presentation built upon the previous conversation. Not only through additional insights on specific themes and topics, but also by associations between seemingly dissimilar presentations.

These kinds of associations are largely subjective, but as an example I found that J. Walker Smith’s presentation about the “kinship economy” reverberated throughout many of the talks. In valuing relationships as currency and our main way of doing business, this first talk gave deeper subtext to Amber Naslund’s spectacular plea to end our societal stigma of mental health, Dana Lupton’s insight that you don’t know someone if you don’t know their eye color, and Geoff Livingston’s castigation of our hero culture - and how we must all help each other instead of waiting for a hero to save us.

Organizing the talks into four themes was good, but the overall quality of the talks ultimately relied on ideas that burst forth beyond what we expect from a typical business or academic presentation. It’s hard enough to get a speaker to talk about a relevant topic. With TEDxPeachtree, I cannot imagine the challenge of selecting more than a dozen talks that must amaze - and not just simply educate.

But here’s the payoff. When you select the right talks and see them live, all in a row, you understand why such gatherings as TEDxPeachtree are essential for us as a civilized society. Too many of us silo ourselves online, only reading what reinforces what we believe and talking to those who validate us. TEDxPeachtree, with its varied, amazing talks hitting you one after the other, does something to our brains that rarely happens anymore. We delight in the unexpected, absorb new ideas, and most importantly we associate and make connections between disparate topics - letting our brain loose and allowing it to fire up to its full potential.

 

Kevin Howarth is a writer, content strategist and marketing consultant. He also serves on the Baord of Directors of TAG's Marketing Society. When not helping clients, Kevin is also an aspiring stand-up comedian.