TEDx Sydney, 2013 – Views from the Front Row
TEDx Sydney took place on Saturday and featured a jam packed day of inspiring keynotes by Australians with ‘ideas worth spreading’. And while thousands of entrepreneurs and idea-smiths tuned into the YouTube live-stream or gathered at TEDx Sydney satellite events across Australia, I was privileged enough to get a ticket to attend the event within the main auditorium of Sydney Opera House. Here’s my Top 5 moments/speakers/ideas from Australia’s favourite awe inspiring day for sharing great ideas and encouraging big thinking. TEDx Sydney Top 5 Moments
- Jennifer Robinson (aka Julian Assange’s lawyer) talks about her journey supporting the rights of the CIA’s most wanted hacker, She then recounts her 3-decade long friendship with Benny Wenda (a West Papuan tribal leader and an international lobbyist for the independence of West Papua from Indonesia) before walking him onto stage in traditional PNG war gowns to greet us all.
- Simon Jackman, a political scientist and big data evangelist, demonstrates how ‘statistics with a big enough data sample can prove anything’ and demonstrates how data sourced months before the US Election had shown that Obama would be President again. “Data Revolution is reshaping political science research — and in particular — making that research incredibly relevant to real-world politics and policy making” Simon said, and he had the fancy graphs and data to prove it. Favourite quote is from his opening slide; “In God we trust… everyone else must bring data”.
- Danny Kennedy (well worth following if you’re into green energy) takes the stage with the first speaker prop of the session; a burning kerosene lantern. A clean-technology entrepreneur, Danny is also an environmental activist, and the author of the book Rooftop Revolution: “How Solar Power Can Save Our Economy—and Our Planet—from Dirty Energy.” Clean energy. Solar panels. Harvesting the sunshine. Every person in the room with a sustainable bone in their body had pepped up – as too did everyone else when Danny pulled out a RO(capitalist)I graph showing that projected investment returns on Solar Energy are now making more then Oil bonds.
- Joost Bakker was definitely the most charismatic green earth hero who took the stage on Saturday. The Dutch-born creative and visionary is a fifth-generation tulip farmer who now creates celebrated installations that fuse nature with a raw, industrial sensibility, Known for his large-scale public works and vertical gardens; his work is created using “the stuff other people throw out”, and although a few of us may grimace at the idea of growing plants hydroponically in our own harvested urine and poo, Joost says it’s one of the best fertilisers vegies can get.
- Marc Newson. Is there anything that this Australian owned, World famous, and amazingly influential designer can not make look amazing? From watches, to the Powerhouse Museum stored $2 million Lockheed Lounge, to the architecture of the Qantas lounges themselves, Marc Newsons considered lines and angles can make anything a classic. From his humble beginnings as a jewellery student at Sydney College on Fine Arts, Marc has become one of the most accomplished and influential designers of his generation.
Other big +’s I also need to mention the music acts that kept the hall lively during the speaker change-outs; great tunes from John Butler, Tom Thum (what an incredible beat-boxer! check out some YouTube of this body-noise genius here), Kate Miller-Heidke and Indian dance diva Rajeswari Sainath. And the food, amazing! Locally sourced from Sydney folk and surrounding farms by Grow it Local, the food was then hand prepared that very morning by a team of chefs from Matt Moran’s ARIA Restaurant. Even the flour for the fresh bread was stone ground, and the butter was hand churned; the world’s best food enjoyed under the world famous white sails.*