TED: Ideas worth spreading
Here I am in Long Beach, California participating in TED 2011 with representatives of at least 80 countries in the world.
I haven’t yet run into anyone from Puerto Rico, so if there was someone from Puerto Rico here, please write me and let me know.
Those of you not familiar with TED go to www.ted.com and see what this conference is all about.
This conference is not cheap. It will cost you $7,500 to participate for four days with some of the most advanced minds in the planet. Right now, they, through their web site, are taking reservations for TED 2012 and in just a few days, the 1,500 seats will be sold out.
Believe it or not, you can’t just go and sign up and pay the money. You have to apply to be allowed in. You have to fill out a questionnaire and sometime later they will let you know whether you have been approved to attend or not.
Do you know of any conference in the whole world that sells out a year in advance with a cost of $7,500 and that you have to qualify in order to attend?
It is well worth it, because not only being here will give you new ideas and insights that can be applied to your business, but it will also give you solutions that could be implemented in Puerto Rico. Besides, how much is it worth to be able to rub shoulders with Bill Gates, Al Gore, Bill Clinton, Jeff Betzos, CEO of Amazon. com, Larry Page and Sergei Brin from Google and many, many others. In fact, your eyes will also benefit when you see Cameron Diaz, Melanie Griffin and other beautiful actresses sitting next to you or ladies, when you see Will Smith, Forrest Whitaker and other celebrities also participating.
Besides the extra- curricular benefits, people from the government, educators, scientists and educators must attend this conference to see what is happening in the most advanced countries in the world.
For example, Bill Gates, who attends every TED conference, gave a magnificent talk on Educational Economics.
With education consuming an increasing share of public resources and calls for even more spending, the public must know how education resources are used. And, the present economic downturn will require even a tighter scrutiny as decisions must be made when spending priorities are considered. Our education department must deal with those issues too.
I was blown away by a speech by a fellow named Rob Khan who is changing the face of education. If you don’t believe me, go to his web site, www.khanacademy.org and look at it very closely. Every educator in Puerto Rico must take advantage of this site in order to help their students. It doesn’t matter if you are a student, teacher, home schooled, principal, adult returning to the classroom after 20 years, or a space alien just trying to understand earth biology, the Khan Academy’s educational materials and resources are available completely free of charge. And there are over 2,200 videos available.
Their mission is to provide a world class free education for everyone in the planet.
To give you an idea, I ran into Ricardo Salinas, Mexico’s second richest individual, television mogul, owner of two professional soccer teams and a score of other businesses, and the first thing he says to me was “ did you see the Khan site? I couldn’t believe it; I registered myself and took one course already”.
From the governor on down to the poorest student in Puerto Rico, this site will be invaluable. This is the type of knowledge you acquire here in TED.
Indira Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, presented PepsiCo’s multi- year growth strategy, with a goal of sustainable growth and a healthier future for both people and planet. Coca Cola better look at what they are doing or they will get a competitive advantage.
Deb Roy, a cognitive scientist from MIT who installed video cameras in his home and recorded every single movement of his family these last three years and recorded 140,000 hours of video in order to understand how children communicate with adults and learn to speak. For example, he learned how his two year old son has already learned 503 words and how was he able to learn them. He clearly saw how a sound of gogogogogogo, little by little became “water”. He was even able to determine which words the child learned in the kitchen, in the living room, right by the front door and even in his room. Absolutely fascinating!
We heard from the world expert in the Titanic who has done tremendous work with the wreckage and who now has been commissioned to find the Air France airplane that crashed at Sea on June 1st 2009 so that they can retrieve the black box and see what happened.
We saw Dennis Hong, the founder and director of RoMeLa, a Virginia Tech robotics lab that has pioneered several breakthroughs in robot design and for the first time demonstrated an invention that will allow people in wheelchairs to walk. All of a sudden, a young lady, who had been in a wheel chair for 19 years, walked into the stage with tears in her eyes. First time ever she has been able to walk, and it was made possible by Dr. Hong’s invention.
We saw a car that has just been invented that will allow blind people to drive. We saw the video demonstration of a blind man driving the car and avoiding boxes that were thrown in front of the car to see if he would hit them. He sure didn’t!
We spent a day in NASA’s world renowned Jet Propulsion laboratory. This 5,000 person campus is known worldwide for its robotic rovers on Mars, the many telescopes that see the far reaches of the universe, and spacecraft that have explored our solar system. We saw exciting new developments, including the incredible experience of watching the assembling of the next robotic rover that will be launched towards Mars on November of this year.
Little did I know that the Rover will have my name, and the name of the other attendees inscribed on its side when it lands in Mars. Rather vain, but nonetheless, good topic of conversation to have with your children and grandchildren.
What else can I say? If next year I don’t see a good representation of Puerto Rican businesspeople and government officials in TED 2012, we are worse off than I thought.