The road to TED – part 2 : Time for Reflection

December 6, 2011

by LIOR ZOREF @lior


(link to the first part)



Today is the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, a holly Jewish day.

It’s time for reflection and inspiration.

To get inspired, I watched a TED talk from one of the best and busiest speakers in the world, Benjamin Zander.

He creates an opening to the world of classical music, and with that he demonstrates how important it is to be receptive to new experiences in life.



I have had the honor to see him live a few years ago and since then I’m a big fan of his.

I thought to myself – what is the experience I want to create among the audience in TED and the online viewers?

Should they be informed? Can I get them to be inspired? Is it also important to make it entertaining? I guess all the components should be there, but what are the ratios between them?

What do you think?….



This morning I received an email from the director of operations at TED and it opens with these words: “Dear TED2012 Speaker”.

Every time I see this opener, I have to make sure it is addressed to me J

I read the mail again, just to make sure it doesn’t say: “listen, we were kidding, it was all a joke. You are not going to present at TED”.

Instead, I find in the email an explanation on logistics, flights, hotel, transfers, technical demands and more.

The mail ends like this:

“Stay focused on making the presentation of your life and let us worry about the details”.

I’ll try, I hope I succeed.



Today I got an email that looks likes fiction to me.

TED has an electronic book publishing called TED Books. They produce digital books for some of the speakers. It’s in an electronic version and it’s being sold at $2.99. These are shorter books than most books (as they do with TED talks – short and focused).

The email was from the head of TED books; he introduced himself and suggested we talk.

I dressed up nicely; we opened our cameras and had a Skype video chat.

He opened the conversation with these words: “We want you to write a book and we would publish it”.

Don’t ask me what he said later on, because at that point I stopped listening. If I recall correctly, he said I don’t have to write it by myself. Instead, I can hold discussions with a professional ghost writer, who will assist the writing process.

I keep nodding, and all I can think of is that I want to jump and kiss him through Skype. It’s a shame that this technology hasn’t been invented yet. On second thought, maybe its better this way, or I would have embarrassed myself greatly.

I kept making a polite face. He ended the conversation with the following sentence: “take a few days to think about it our offer”.

But me, all I wanted to do was scream at him “YES!YES!YES! I want to do it!”.

Instead, I took a long breath and said with restraint “certainly, I would think about it for a few days and we would be in touch next week”.

(The book is postponed to a later date after my talk. I’ll explain in the next few posts)

  1. Kcha says:

    TED is a very interesting and inovnative organization that seeks to educate the masses. I’d actually watched a few of the videos prior to taking this class via StumbleUpon. One of the videos was of a published poet reciting some of her own poetry. Another one showed different styles of modern dances performed by individuals, culminating in all of them dancing to the same number. I now see the educational value of these entertaining videos. Most students enjoy watching videos very much, and most teachers readily welcome educational or instructional videos that could be used in the classroom. TED is much more reliable than YouTube: instead of a teacher trying different phrases in the search box, he or she can browse through the TED talk videos by category, making finding a useful video much more likely. Due to the instructional nature of these videos, they are much more likely to provoke discussion among students than something the teacher may have found on YouTube. This tool would be valuable for introducing students to a new topic or wrapping up a unit on something they had been learning, using the video as a springboard into discussion or a written assignment.

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