It's so peculiar. I was invited to speak at TEDxSanJoseCA. What is that? Well, TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design. The TED Conference is held in Long Beach, CA each year. (It used to be held in Monterey, closer to Silicon Valley, but it just got too big.) Even though the conference costs $7500, you have to apply to go and hang out with the band of digital glitterati from politics, show business, and high tech the conference attracts. That's a little pricey, but TED streams all its presentations live and then posts them on YouTube for free. Speakers have included Bill Clinton, Jane Goodall, Malcolm Gladwell, Elizabeth Gilbert, Bill Gates, and Al Gore, as well as less famous people who just have something to say like a volunteer firefighter and a campaigner against sex slavery.
In keeping with its mantra of "ideas worth spreading," TED licenses local groups to do their own conferences. This Saturday is the first TEDxSanJoseCA whose theme is "People, Passion, and Possibilities." Other speakers (besides me) include a Grammy-nominated rock violinist, neuroscientist, founder of a girls' school in Kenya, principal research scientist at Apple, and more. (We'll all be up on the stage at the auditorium you can see up above.)
Why was I invited? Why did I say yes? What the heck am I supposed to talk about? It's been strongly recommended that whatever I prattle on about be done without notes. But I have photos that go with what I'm saying. That means I can't really prattle, because I have to go in the order of the slides. Gives me a great chance to foul up in front of the 400 people in the audience and, I'm told, tens of thousands more watching the live stream.
How bad can it be? My talk, like everyone else's, will be less than 18 minutes. I guess I'll say something about living in two worlds, this one where a crazy dictator tries to slaughter his compatirots with supersonic aircraft and the fictional one inside my head where good has at least a shot at triumphing over evil.
Ah well, no matter how my talk goes, I'm looking forward to hearing what the other speakers have to say. Information on how to watch the streaming live should show up at TEDxSanJoseCA.com before the event.