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History of TED

The first TED talk was in 1984 in Monterey, California and was a collective celebrating the convergence of Technology, Entertainment and Design—hence the name became TED. Now held around the world in the form of both official TED organized conventions and also independently run TEDx events, the talks serve to spread awareness and inspiration on the various advancements occurring throughout the globe.

Richard Wurman started the first TED event and technological developments such as the compact disc and e-book were showcased. Mandelbrot also exhibited his fractal geometry theory and its application in mapping coastlines. Despite the impressive lineup, the next event did not take place until six years later because it was not financially profitable. However, from the 1990’s on the annual gatherings in Monterey continued until 2009 when the events were relocated to Long Beach to accommodate a larger audience.

While the original focus of the event was technology and entertainment and design, now the event covers a wide range of topics such as religion, culture, mathematics, music, and more. The conference also became a nonprofit upon being acquired by the Sapling Foundation and further expanded to incorporate various additions such as TEDGlobal and TEDx. The latter are held by acquiring a license from TED and are organized by local communities. Each event is unique and a plethora of talks can be accessed online on the TED website, acting as a global symposium for ideas worth spreading.

Some TEDx events in the San Francisco Bay Area over the last few years have included:

TEDx San Francisco – Big Blue (A Very Special Evening on the Oceans) held at the Herbst Pavilion at Fort Mason Center and featured the World Premiere: Dance Performance by Capacitor OKEANOS, and speakers such as Neill Duffy on America’s Cup: More than a sport, Casson Trenor Sushi-preneur, sustainable seafood, and Patri Friedman on SeaSteading: Building on the Platform of the Oceans.

TEDx Stanford (Silicon Valley)– Above and Beyond 2014 held at Cemex Auditorium on the Stanford campus and showcased the Stanford Solar Car, in addition to hearing from speakers such as various celebrated Stanford faculty and students, with performances by Cliff Goldmacher, Henry Nam, Pomplamoose and more.

TEDx Berkeley – Compassion, Connection and Wisdom 2015 held at Zellerbach Hall on the Cal campus, featuring speakers such as alumni Steve Wozniak, faculty member Dan Garcia, Prasad Kaipa the CEO of Kaipa Group, author Mike Robbins, and performances from campus groups such as Cal Raijin Taiko and Cal Bhangra and UC Men’s Octet.

TEDx Marin – ADAPT: Bold Ideas, New Horizons 2014 held at the Kanbar Center for the Performing Arts in San Rafael, featuring speakers talking about topics such as “The New Journalism,” “Our Germs, Our Future,” “Patriarchy & Power,” and “The Prison Startup.”

All these talks, and much more, are available for public access on the website. A plethora of talks from conferences can be viewed for free as TED Talks videos. With a new TED Talk video posted every weekday, the possibilities are endless and there is a video for nearly every topic. The world, at the disposal of a few clicks, can collide with new ideas and new developments, from the comfort of a laptop or a phone.

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