Behind the Scenes of TED
Why TED is really in the package design business.
By Maria Popova
We’re off to TEDGlobal for what’s bound to be the intellectual equivalent of a Roman feast. Starting tomorrow, you’ll be able to follow along with exclusive daily updates, highlights and photos here on Brain Pickings.
But, in the meantime, what better way to celebrate the tremendously fascinating week ahead than with a special behind-the-scenes look at all the incredible energy — physical, intellectual, emotional — that goes into the making of a TED talk?
In a way, this only confirms our belief that TED is very much in the package design business.
TED takes what’s already out there — most speakers have published extensive books, written dry research papers, even given long talks at other conferences — and packages it brilliantly and beautifully. Stuffed in a bite-sized 18-minute box, glossed with shiny production value, and placed in the exuberant context of the (as some would argue, “cultish”) conference itself, each talk is a premium package that makes the ideas inside all the more appealing. It makes them feel richer and more valuable and more meaningful, and thus, it makes them matter more.
And when ideas matter to us, we internalize them, we propagate and advocate them, we tell our friends about them, we make them — truly — ideas worth spreading.
So here’s to intellectual package design — the true currency of ideas.
Published July 20, 2009