TED, the nonprofit committed to “Ideas Worth Spreading,” is one of the most exciting developments of the last twenty years. Founded in 1984 to bring people together from the fields of technology, entertainment and design, TED has become so much more. It is the preeminent public square of our socially-connected, socially-conscious times, and it’s making a real difference in our world. TED’s mission is simple: to spread ideas. But the scope of their work and span of their reach are grand. In their own words:
“We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. So we’re building here a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world’s most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other.”
TED has never been more necessary than it is today. It provides a place for robust conversation about the way we live, now and into the future, at the very moment when we must, out of necessity and desire, begin to dream up and make a better world.
The conversation at TED is about many things. It’s about technology and entertainment and design, about business and science, about global issues and so much more. But at heart, TED is about the endeavor of human understanding. It’s about the long march of humanity, out of the darkness and into the light. It’s about the notion that ideas matter, that ideas and the stories we wrap them in have the power to change the world.
One of my favorite TED Talks of all times is the one given by the late and legendary John Wooden, the UCLA men’s basketball coach who mentored such giants of the game as Bill Walton and Kareem Abdul-Jabar. Wooden was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame (he was the first person to be inducted as both a player and a coach), and named the greatest coach of all time across all sports by ESPN. Wooden’s great achievement, however, was not in shaping athletes (or not only in shaping athletes), but in shaping the minds of men. It is his great legacy, his singular achievement, the measure of who he was as a man. To watch Wooden’s TED Talk on the difference between winning and succeeding is to gain a new understanding of the true value of a human life. It should be required viewing — for our children, and for ourselves.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
PAULA PURYEAR is a Lawyer, Film & Television writer, HuffPoster and Founder of Revel In It Mag.