Attending TEDx ’14

Attending TEDx ’14

There is something to be said for industry events – an opportunity for networking, insight and inspiration centred around specific topics or practices. Seldom are the diversity of subjects, the location or even the food served, part of any post event rhetoric presented back to your collegues.

In the case of TEDx ’14 you could write an entire blog on merely the latter. Perhaps this partly (just a bit) explains why the popularity is now at a level where an application to attend is the biggest hurdle. TEDx Sydney is the largest and most successful of the independent ‘x’ events globally. 2,300 invigorated and disparate Teddies made it in and for the third year of trying, I was one of them.

An all digital ticketing affair with no jockeying for passes via long queues, no large corporate groups and as such no overzealous seat guarding to be seen. Remarkably groups of one were the order of the day. This is testament to the desire to be there, (rather than part of some agency team building exercise) on your Saturday despite the not too measly $250 outlay. If one gets to a point of curating ones audience one must be doing something right. Right?

After taking possession of the customary show bag patrons were greeted with (very) green banana thick shakes in jars, bread and butter made by hand, gee and biscuits a plenty made on the spot. All very in vogue and all very Sydney. This was no ordinary convention. It was an event to tantalise the taste buds, the mind and your moral compass.

A day of inspiring people, ideas, stories and initiatives followed and in isolation they all had their merits. However, if I had to have one gripe, regrettably, was that a distinct lack of technological based ideas and solutions took some shine from the day. Culturally it delivered in spades but as a Digital Creative Director consumed daily with the blending of creative and technology solutions I’d hoped to have more to take home with me alongside all the warm and fuzzy stuff.

Ironically, one particular success came in the form of the event app itself developed in partnership with Vivant that enabled moment tagging, real time sharing, note collection and attendee finder which served with distinction when tasked with backing up duties when brain overfloweth.

So with the lingering after party taste of fresh ham, chutney and G&Ts now gone I fired up my trusty personal assistant. I can now point to some of TEDx Sydney’s most memorable moments.

Markus Zusak, Author of the International best-seller The Book Thief talks about life as an author and how its really the amount of problems you have that ultimately makes you a success. Watch here


Barat Ali Batoor, Photographer and Refugee tells of his extraordinary dogged plight to come to Australia as a refugee. As a photographer he documented his journey and we get to hear this unimaginable migration. Death, imprisonment and his ultimately successful appeal making his appearance on the TEDx stage all the more amazing. Watch here.


Tim and Judy Sharp, Mother Judy was advised to forget about her autistic son when diagnosed at 2 years old. They both tell of their infectious bond, how they overcame the challenges they faced and how they now deal with the fame that comes with Tim’s remarkable talent. Watch here.


David Kilcullen, Dave Kilcullen is a bestselling author and scholar, and former professional soldier and diplomat. He is Chairman of Caerus Global Solutions, a strategic research and design consultancy based in Washington DC and of First Mile GEO, a geospatial analysis start-up that works with communities in disaster and conflict-affected areas to create participative maps that guide humanitarian assistance. Watch here.


Oliver Percovich. Enabling a culture to learn something new is the mother of all challenges, but when it’s a sport and it’s aimed at Afghanistan women the task seems insurmountable. Oliver succeeded with Skateistan, a grassroots ‘Sport for Development’ project on the streets of Kabul. Today, Skateistan has more than 50 employees worldwide and is an award-winning international organisation with projects in Afghanistan, Cambodia and South Africa. Watch here.


 Jake Coppinger. Finally some tech, and from a year 11 student no less! With a passion for creating new technologies, Jake was awarded third place at the national BHP Billiton Science and Engineering Awards for developing ‘Swirlesque’, a new way of interacting with computers. Watch here.