November 5, 2009

TED India - day 1, session 2: not business as usual

i missed lunch because i was prepping for my afternoon session talk.  i was really nervous, but all the TED folks and other speakers were very nice.  i got to chat for a bit with tony hsieh, CEO of, who spoke right after me (i joked on twitter that i "opened" for him).

srivatsa krishna kicked off the session with a talk on infrastructure.  his section on dubai (replete with pictures of the palm and world islands) was fascinating.  i learned that, at $61B, the arabian canal in dubai is the single biggest infrastructure project ever in human history; dubai is creating a new country for the maldives; and the tallest standing structure in the world is the bridge over the grand canyon.  favorite quote:  "india has democracy. china has everything else."

raghunath mashekar talked about what he called "gandhian innovation," basically getting more from less for more (people).  he focused on the tata nano as his case study, but also included a neat video about the jaipur foot, an affordable and effective prosthetic limb.

i spoke after raghunath, and i think it went pretty well.  my basic premise was that charitable organizations and social enterprises are realizing that they need to win over generation Y, and they're going about it by beefing up their online and social networking presence (transcript).  i argue that a comprehensive online presence is table stakes, and if these organizations really want to win us over they need to embody two things:  trasparency (tell us exactly where our investment is going) and problem solving (get to the core of the problem; teach a man to fish).  i kept it short and simple in hopes that it would be easier to digest, and i received a lot of really nice and encouraging feedback from other attendees afterwards.  the first day of the conference was streamed live on the internet, and i hear that hundreds of thousands tuned in to watch.  i'm told the videos will be posted online sometime in the coming months.  i doubt i'll make the cut, but if i do i'll be sure to republish it here.

zappos CEO tony hsieh spoke after me, and i really enjoyed his talk.  his theme was "happiness as a business model," and he used zappos as a case study.  his advice included agreeing to "commitable" core values (i.e., principles that your company believes in so strongly that you're willing to hire and fire because of them); refusing to hire egotistical people, even if they're smart; and challenging the audience to spend 10% of their time learning the science of happiness.  favorite quote (via 2pac):  "don't chase the paper; chase the dream."

the humble scott cook, founder of intuit, talked about using mobile phones to help farmers at market and joked that he was a "TED fogie" in response to tom rielly's presentation on the TED fellows (a group of young people who are sponsored to attend TED to ensure that young, less-affluent voices are also heard at the conference).  mohnish pabrai, known as the person who bid the most money to have lunch with warren buffet, talked about donating 2% of his income to charitable organizations.  harsha bhogle, famous cricket commentator, closed the session (VIDEO).

because i was a speaker, i sat in the front row for this session, right between usha uthup (famous indian pop singer who performed in session 1) and his holiness the 17th gyalwang karmapa (eep!).  i tried to play it cool for the most part, but at one point i pulled a pack of gum out of my bag to get a stick.  i offered some to my new neighbors, and they both indulged.  his holiness chews tropical trident.  nice.

probably largely driven by the live feed of day one's talks, "tedindia" became a trending topic on twitter today.  awesome.

1 comment:

London. said...

Wow Anneke, I'm really impressed by this. Can't wait to have you up in Norcal.