I wasn’t involved in the final few days of lights, camera, action, and so on the actual day I had the pleasure of being in the audience and watching the magic come alive.
And it blew me away.
Of course I was also simultaneously extremely relieved. This is the first TEDxAuckland event with this team, and let’s put aside the event being a 2000+ capacity sell out, the most important thing is that the event delivered. Twitter went into a frenzy, trending with thousands of fans on the day connecting with the tedxakl hash tag – because people were inspired, and that’s what it’s all about…
Ideas worth spreading.
Ka Pow! When nano specialist Michelle Dickinson was the first to step up on stage there was no doubt about it; a superhero was in our presence. We watched in amazement as she levitated a cube, presented a microchip growing human braincells and poured chocolate sauce all over her white shoe – which slid away like water off a duck’s back.
Sunday night at the speakers dinner we all came together. I asked Michelle what was it like being up on stage and she replied, “Terrifying! I remember walking onto the stage, and then I remember leaving.” And the scariest part of all, Michelle wasn’t even sure if her experiments were going to work. The cube had to be brought down to a certain temperature and she had to hand that job over to someone backstage. Even the chocolate sauce on the shoe, she found herself double guessing which shoe she had sprayed with nano. Even superheroes get nervous.
And almost ever speaker used the word terrifying. To put yourself out there, to stand by your craft and by what you believe in, it is terrifying – but it makes you stronger. And courage is contagious.
I was telling Emma Rogan at the speaker dinner that I can’t wait to get involved in the next 100 Day Project she kicks off. A few weeks ago Emma gave me a box of postcards with all these negative-positive thoughts she came up with, the result of her 100 day mission complete. Her challenge was for every day for 100 consecutive days she would take a negative thought and express it in an opposite positive thought, until she had 100 good thoughts.
Some are cheeky, I GREW UP / BUT NOT QUITE and others are poignant such as YOU’RE GONE / I REMEMBER YOU VIVIDLY. And my personal favourite,
I FEAR YOUR JUDGEMENT / I DON’T LET IT STOP ME.
Emma, like so many of the other speakers, has left a trail of inspiration, and opportunities for everyone to get involved. It’s now up to us to pick up the baton.
At the dinner table I was sitting opposite Matthew Simmons, who has become a very special friend in my life ever since we met a couple months ago. He’d been bouncing around the room chatting with people all evening and then I caught his animated eyes and he grinned and said,
“Jamie, I’m in heaven! Tonight is like a giant candy store of imagination.”
And it really was the sweetest thing; all these humble, great minds sharing space, and it certainly wasn’t all geek speak. To my left was physicist and pursuer of the Higgs Boson ‘God particle’ David Krofcheck and sitting next to him was his lovely wife Liz. They met in the States, David’s country of origin, spent four platonic days together and then wrote letters to each other for two years! You know? Those things you stick a stamp on and drop in the mailbox. I can’t even remember the last time I posted a letter. David says meeting Liz was like a lightning bolt. They’ve been together for 24 years now, proving yet again that persistence really does pay off.
Towards the end of the night Elliott Blade, our young captain at the helm of this production – got up and said some words and answered the question, WHY? Why do it? A couple years ago Elliott started to witness an exodus of his friends going offshore. A lot of the time we don’t see what is right here in front of us, pockets of awesomeness bursting across the land of Aotearoa New Zealand.
Having these TEDx events gives us the opportunity to bring it all to the surface. And it’s much bigger than the speakers, because in the end, it’s really about what the people take away from the experience, and it’s about building on the momentum. TEDxAuckland 2013 is already being mapped out in the engine room. The wheels are turning, onwards and upwards and away we go.
So what is your passion? What keeps you awake at night?
Like Pip Hall said, standing courageously up on stage in her swimsuit,
“Lean into the joy.”
Jamie Joseph is blogging at riseandflow.net