TEDxKrakówLive 2013. Exchange of Inspirations Is Contagious!

Almost 300 people crowded into the basement of Klub Pauza in Kraków on Thursday 28 February to watch the webcast of four sessions of the second day of TED 2013 from California. The session themes were Disrupt!, Dream!, Create! and Sustain!

Photo: Michael Brands

The broadcast attracted large crowds of Kraków’s TED enthusiasts who believe in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. This, in a nutshell, is the TED motto of “Ideas Worth Spreading”.

From yo-yo play to biotech
TEDxKrakówLive lasts just one evening, but so much has happened that we do not know where to start! In the first couple of hours we saw over 20 talks given by some fascinating people from all over the world. The speakers were designers, artists, scientists, inventors, engineers, entrepreneurs, architects, environmentalists. We found out, among other things, the spectacular tricks you can do with a simple yo-yo, the difference between couch surfing and crowd surfing, what crowd funding is, how biotechnologists are working to bring back extinct species and how, in 10-15 years from now, we will be able to transfer ideas from our heads straight to digital media. It is impossible to list everything – if you weren’t there, you’ll just have to look out for the talks as they are published on TED.com!

Nuclear fusion in a garage
We were captivated by Taylor Wilson who, as a 14 year old, became the youngest person to achieve nuclear fusion – with a reactor he built in his parents’ garage. A self-taught nuclear scientist, Taylor graduated from high school in May 2012 and rather than going to college he was funded by Silicon Valley’s Peter Theil to start up his own business. Now he is working on, among other things, low-cost radiation detectors for plutonium and uranium, which will help to fight nuclear terror at seaports. When TED Curator Chris Anderson asked Taylor’s mother where he came from, she answered: “I don’t know”.

How to make an unfeasible film
Referring to his film debut “Mars et Avril”, a remarkable science-fiction romance, Martin Villeneuve struck us with his words: “I made a film that was impossible to make, only I didn’t know it was impossible. That is actually why I was able to do it, because I did not know it was impossible”. The graphic artist noticed that people tend to seek the constraints rather than looking for solutions but, he reasoned, “if you treat the problems as your allies rather than your opponents, life will start to dance with you in the most amazing ways.”

Martin VilleneuveMartin Villeneuve presenting the stunning shots of his first-ever film “Mars et Avril”, a romantic sci-fi movie set in a futuristic Montreal. | Photo: James Duncan Davidson

Don’t make people pay for music. Figure out how to let them.
Speaking to the TEDxKrakówLive participants during breaks between sessions, I found out that many were most touched by Amanda Palmer’s talk on “The art of asking”. The American musician and blogger presented an astonishing vision of the new relationship between artist and fans which is built on trust. As Amanda says, if she asks the audience for their help, whether it’s financial support, a bed for the night or a meal, it leads to authentic human bonding with her fans. I am not keen on her music, but her speech was important, revelatory and precious to me.

Backstage notes
I went to TEDxKrakówLive because of curiosity which was stronger than pain from a sinus infection. Irritable, with a runny nose, I left home at 4pm with a box of tissues and a book. I took along the book so I could participate in the “Exchange of Inspirations” interaction. I got back home at 1am (!), happy about the thrilling evening I was unexpectedly given and smiling widely even though nobody could see me anymore in a quiet sleeping house. The only thing that did not change was my sinusitis which remained untouched by the exchange idea. Well, I guess maybe it’s better this way.

Exchange of inspirations
We asked everyone to bring a movie, a book or anything that had inspired them or changed their life and exchange it with something from someone else. As I wanted to experience the “Exchange of Inspirations”, I chose Paul Arden’s book, “Whatever You Think, Think the Opposite”, to give it away. It turned out there were two different people who wanted to get it, but I had only one copy; moreover, both of them had equally enticing titles to offer and I could not decide who I wanted to exchange with. Eventually, we exchanged our emails and we will exchange the books again someday soon. This is double interaction, why not?! Also, the publication I received from a likable stranger in the first “round” is really… inspirational to me, as I do not have children yet: “God Knows Parenting Is a Wild Ride: 9 Things to Hold on to” by Kathy Coffey.

Postscript
In addition to a million of surprising thoughts, I brought about even something more from TEDxKrakówLive: an unexpected invitation to an interesting event for women, an unexpected cooperation proposal and three emails to the amazing girls with whom I spent a great evening. One of them is an architect, the other – a pharmacist, and the third one – a mother, a house manager and a milliner in one person. We could not stop talking!

TEDxKrakówLive thanks our partners for their support in making this event possible: AON HewittiMad and Pauza.

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