November 5, 2009

TED India - day 1, session 1: fast forward

i spent a good portion of the morning doing a/v checks and hair & make-up touch ups for my talk in the afternoon, so i was already inside the epcot-style multiplex when they opened the doors at a quarter till 11:



hans rosling kicked off the official conference with an amazingly energetic and fascinating speech about the economic rise of world superpowers (VIDEO).  his dynamic graphics depicting changes over time (along with his insightful commentary and bamboo "pointer") really pumped up the audience.  he predicted the exact date on which india will surpass the U.S. as the world's economic power:  july 27, 2048.  favorite quote:  "it's always difficult to predict...especially about the future."



devdutt pattanaik is the chief belief officer for his company, and he spoke about mythology and what it can teach us about our world view and approach to business (VIDEO).  i thought the key insight was about whether your life had a denominator of 1 (defined by achievement and a sole purpose) or a denominator of infinity (defined by everything, but also nothing, because it converges to zero).

mark kristensen did a 3-minute talk encouraging the audience to "go fail with a kid."

mallika sarabhai combined spoken word, live performance, and lecture to talk about the importance of art as a method for communicating social change (VIDEO).  her story involving a one-eyed monkey touched on societal issues regarding sexual assault on women.  favorite quote:  "are we one-eyed monkeys? are we not seeing justice?"

usha uthup, the famous indian pop singer who has sung in almost 30 different languages, kicked off and closed the session.  she started with a medley featuring music from across the world (indian, american, russian, kenyan, arabic, israeli, etc.).  her mastery of other languages was second only to her tremendous voice.  it wasn't long before a crew of jovial tedsters joined her on stage to dance, including mystic yogi sadhguru vasudev (photo below).  it got a little too precious when she sang "we are the world" by the late michael jackson, but overall it was a powerful and exciting way to close the first session.  favorite quote:  "i feel so proud to belong to the saree. oh, i love you all so much."

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