Reflections on TedxPortland

Today was the TedxPortland event where I was joined by 3,000 of my dearest Portland friends and neighbors for an awesome day of learning and inspiration.  For more information on the speaker line-up (and details for next year's event) see

I had several thoughts in summary:

TED events are world views on parade:  When you watch a single TED talk, you forget that these speeches are given in succession to people at single or multiple day events, where a wide variety of topics and presenters are put in juxtaposition.  This contrast in world view was obvious to me in so many ways.  Some saying that most important and earliest memories of our childhood are positive and loving.  Others saying that earliest memories were painful or fear-filled.  The differing views are there in all of us and it is not common that we hear one after another in such transparency.

Everyone loves Margaret Mead:  This American cultural anthropologist had to be quoted a half a dozen times in different speeches in the amazing take-home coffee table book we received.

Words Matter:  Not only did the speakers choose their words carefully, but they spent some time talking about words.  The importance of not using negative labels and the societal impact of words (like "prostitute," "beauty," "Spirit," "Down Syndrome," or "safe investment").  If words are important, than stories are paramount.

Technology is a Tool(for good and evil):  We had speakers that were pro-technology and some that trended towards Luddite, but it was interesting to hear the different perspectives on this theme of technology being useful.  But like anything of value, it has a price tag and a payback.  There is bad that comes along with the good.

Everyone Does a Part:  The fact that the event was entirely volunteer led is impressive.  They did an amazing job and put on a professional and far reaching event.  Everyone doing their part.  There was someone working on space suits in the case of future space colonization (Dr. Cameron Smith from PSU)  There is someone working on encouraging children with cancer with music - not curing cancer, just encouraging them in their journey (Jenna Nichols from Children's Cancer Association).  There is a role for everyone to play. 

Start today!

Plus, it was great to spend the day with friends and to meet some new ones along the way!