The TED Commandments…How to keep your hair on and survive #TEDactive #TED

7 Mar


I have just spent an inspiring 7 days at TEDActive In that time I have:- Watched over 50 speakers give their 18 minute TED talks. Watched another 35 speakers present their 5 minute TEDyou presentations and provocations. Seen five live bands play and have been actively involved in creating a presentation for our Social Networks group. So how to survive when you feel like the top of your head has been lifted off…

1. Don’t skip breakfast before the first early session. You never know what surprises await you. Be there before 8am.This means you have to get up early and check what’s on offer…


2. Carry enough Moleskine notebooks. Make notes. Lots of them. This was a three book week. Then photograph the notes with your iphone. You are then able to use the hashtag #OldschoolNewschool. Take lots of pictures.


3. Wear your badge at all time. Even sleep with it round your neck so you can stagger quickly in the morning to grab a quesadilla with interesting filling. No Badge? No Quesadilla. Simple.


4. Wear Sunscreen. It is hot here, your brain is steaming and cooking enough already. Don’t fry it in the sun. Wear sunscreen. Spray it on other people’s heads too. It always starts a conversation.


5. Follow people – in real life this time. Talk to them. Don’t stalk them. Don’t be a TED stalker. This is not TEDStalks. Go to people and say hello. Even if you are scared they are mega famous. They still have a badge on. You can talk to them, and start a conversation. There are clues on their badge as to what to talk to them about. It says so on the label. Some of them turn out to be Morgan Spurlock. He is really cool – even though he is Super-Small-Sized here…


6. Watch all the talks. They will change the way you think. If you have come all this way, don’t miss any. The unexpected ones will always surprise you. The talks are a whole year’s worth of ideas. And more. JR is 27 years old. He won the TED prize. He deserved to do so.


7. Change your perspective. Sit next to people who wear interesting shoes


8. Go to the desert party. Go in a jeep on the San Andreas Fault line. Look at the stars. They are closer than you realise. You will see Tom Morello play guitar on this stage.


9. When you go to Lucille Ball’s old house for a meeting with your TEDActive group. Never miss the opportunity for doing some research. Make Shift Happen – but don’t forget to see things from both sides


10. Talk and listen. Have conversations. Make notes. Send messages, share ideas, spread the good ones. Make a stand and make change happen – and always – ALWAYS IGNORE the advice on every bottle of A1 Steak Sauce


Most importantly, leave with a full notebook, with new friends and colleagues that you know you will know for a long time. 


Pack up your bags – and head off to the next adventure…


12 Responses to “The TED Commandments…How to keep your hair on and survive #TEDactive #TED”

  1. Anonymous March 7, 2011 at 10:12 am #

    Fascinating adventures Marcus. A whole new world. Of wonder.The future happened after all. Someone – everyone – should be told.Last week, Ani was chatting about getting her cancer jabs in school. I signed the forms months ago – but it only hit me when when she spoke about it like it was the most normal thing in the world.There is much to be excited about as well as the rest.Fitting to have dinner at Lucy’s place – she was at the vanguard of an earlier comparable revolution. Breakfast at Truman Capote’s would have been neat and meaningful too.Carry on.Richx

  2. Christian Long March 7, 2011 at 1:00 pm #

    Spot-on advice, Marcus. Kicking myself for a) not taking hand-drawn notes in multiple notebooks, b) not taking more random photos of artifacts and nuanced details, and c) not wearing extraordinary shoes (although Oonie has that market cornered, I suspect). This is a legit guide on many fronts. And a well-written piece to boot. Thanks!

  3. Herb Kim March 7, 2011 at 2:28 pm #

    Hey so I ask again. TED v TEDActive? If given the choice would you return to Palm Springs or do Long Beach?Thanks for the excellent post 🙂

  4. thinkjose March 7, 2011 at 3:11 pm #

    #11 Come prepared to share & present! This is an interactive conference. People come from all over the world to hear what the speakers have to say but they also want to know what YOU have to say. My contributions for the week include:-Laying the percussion tracks down for the TEDActive Music Video.-Sponsoring Morgan Spurlock’s conversations on Friday evening.-Leading an impromptu jump rope competition -Sharing all 50+ speakers caricatures on Spicy!Thanks Marcus, see you again soon.

  5. Kat Haber March 7, 2011 at 4:52 pm #

    Thanks, Marcus for your take on TEDActive 2011.My multi-dimensional 2011 included:TEDx Workshop in Desert Hot Springs and Long Beach, multitudes of fascinating TED talks and TED You talks generated from our own attendees, catching the TED Fellows, Jumping through hoops for TED Active Social Networking project group, hosting a dear friend for her first TED experience, videoing TED Active attendees extrapolate the TED Long Beach photo in the Riviera pool with a final declaration of "We f%$*in did it!" , building Lego mini sculptures, picking up TED friends at the airport, eating outrageously healthy and delicious food from exotic locales, and parties at Lucy’s house, the desert (jeep tours, spotting Saturn, wild dancing and rocking tunes), and gold lame pasted synchronized swimmers.

  6. liz March 7, 2011 at 9:06 pm #

    love #5. TEDStalks. … someone should give a TEDYou talk about TEDStalks next year. 😉

  7. Anonymous March 7, 2011 at 10:33 pm #

    Thanks for all the comments – this post has been seen by hundreds of people today -Liz – a TED talk on TEDstalks? you bet!

  8. Anonymous March 15, 2011 at 1:21 am #

    omg! i made it on the list. I MADE IT ON THE LIST!!!ok, well – they are only my shoes. but still.<dancing around in celebration>

  9. Meg Bear March 20, 2011 at 9:47 pm #

    LOVE this blog post. You captured the experience perfectly.

  10. Anonymous March 20, 2011 at 10:31 pm #

    Really great post, Marcus. I feel even better prepared for (fingers crossed) next year.

  11. sensiblecity March 23, 2011 at 3:18 am #

    Well said!


  1. Moving on…onwards and upwards | Marcus Romer's Blog - October 27, 2015

    […] able to visit the TED conference 3 times in California – and then setting up and running TEDxYork and Shift […]

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