Went to a TED Talk talk on how to talk given by Chris Anderson, owner of TED. He has an educated-person’s British accent, which enhances almost any talk right from the start. The event was put on by Berkeley Arts & Letters, the spawn of Melissa Mytinger, who used to be Cody’s Bookstore’s events manager before that shrine to writers went under more than a decade ago.
Ironically, the talk – which lasted precisely 30 minutes – could have been improved by compression to the 18-minute limit of TED talks, because most of it relied on video excerpts from actual TED talks to demonstrate Anderson’s rather obvious points of how to give a good speech (tell a story, vary intonation and speed, etc.).
Best part were the questions – after all, this was a Berkeley audience. Of course, a couple of folks wanted to become TED speakers and were told where to apply. Someone asked about the revenue model for what’s become a nonprofit, especially since the talks are given away for free online. Obviously, they make money by charging what it would cost me to purchase yet another fine titanium-carbon fibre bicycle to attend the actual annual event, where one gets to mingle with the likes of monopolistic capitalists turned mega-philanthropists like Bill Gates, famous or soon-to-be famous “inspired thinkers,” and vulture capitalists sucking up their annual dose of world cross-cultures and benevolent technologies.
TED probably doesn’t need to make that much money, since it has a relatively small central staff; packages the TEDx template that has cloned 3,000 offspring; and since Anderson sold his previous business venture, Business 2.0 magazine, to Time, Inc. for $37 million, so why does he really need the money?
Instead, he wants everyone, including children, to learn to become great speakers because in the future, he says, people won’t read resumes, they’ll watch your video. Hey, people might not read at all in the future. And you’ll probably be able to use AI to do your video resume with an avatar of your choice.
Strange that Anderson had to write a book – which he was selling at this event – to make his point about speech being superior to writing. Who knows? Maybe, he needs the money, or TED needs the promotion, or both.