February 12, 2012

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TedxAustin 2012: Beyond Measure

tedxaustin - david trubridge lighting

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of spending an entire day soaking up ideas and inspiration from a variety of speakers and attendees at TedxAustin: Beyond Measure. I’ve been a fan of TED(who isn’t?) ever since their videos started spreading online a few years ago. It opened up a whole new world for me, and sparked an interest in lifelong learning that had been dormant for a while. Finally, I got to have just a taste of that experience in person.

TedxAustin’s theme this year was Beyond Measure. An ambitious theme to say the least. But they pulled it off. Whether it was the measure of our capacity for love, our reach as global storytellers, our ability to create monuments, our understanding of grief or our will to push beyond our physical and mental barriers, we learned that those limitations surrounding us exist only because we allow them to.

It’s easy to be cynical these days. That is what’s so nice about interacting with people who have made a commitment to changing the world for the better. They don’t have time for cynicism. They are too busy chasing their dreams:

Chris Riley talked about the shift in global storytelling. The days of a small amount of media producing content to be consumed by the global masses is ending. The days of individual storytellers with a global reach is beginning. It will be amazing and confusing all at the same time.

Todd Humphries spoke about both the potential and risk of GPS technology in our everyday lives. Imagine a world where every important item you own can be found through GPS. Imagine the use of GPS to create augmented visual communication. Imagine the risks involved with the ability to track and record individual behavior.

Chris Bliss showed us his journey to make a monument to the Bill of Rights here in Austin, Texas. A daunting task, that still needs support. But a worthy one, that has the potential to inspire and educate.

Jason Roberts talked about how he led the transformation of entire neighborhoods in Dallas with a lethal combination of enthusiasm, creativity, dedication and lots of helping hands. He is living proof that sometimes there is truth to the phrase: “If you build it, they will come.”

Tanya Streeter inspired us with her tales of how she broke a free diving world record, became a mom and started her new career as a fledgling activist. Her story resonated with me quite a bit—especially her initial struggles with motherhood. Driven, type-A people really do change the world, but they are often the most vulnerable people when it comes to aspects of life that can’t be controlled.

These are just a few of the speakers who I found particularly inspiring. Really, it was a wonderful experience. Hopefully, their presentations will be up online relatively soon. When they do, I’ll be sure to post the videos so you can see for yourself.

Until then, take a look at the amazing work of David Trubridge. His are the beautiful lamps that were hanging over the stage in the photo above.

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