TED Ed launches with Two Questions

Yesterday TED Conferences announced the launch of “TED Ed”. This is new series of talks focussed on education. As regular readers no this blog knows, our focus at the Ramon Thomas Training Corporation is directly related to education. Over the last 5 years we have spoken at over 200 schools and conferences across South Africa. We are passionate about teaching teacher, training teenagers, promoting possibilities and expanding entrepreneurial thinking.

The premise of the video below is based on unanswerable questions. We don’t agree with this entirely. Dan Sullivan says, a person is mature once they realise knowing what questions to ask is more important than having all the answers. So maybe TED is asking the wrong questions to start with. Just on the first two questions, there are thousands of scientists who can answer #1. We are also aware of a dozen or more experts who’ve written books about alien contact. This group in particular may fall outside what is considered mainstream science or academics.

As South Africa seeks to improve it’s education system from the tangled web weave, we full endorse the TED Ed program and look for to sharing ideas from this platform with our loyal readers. Watching TED videos makes it clear that the world is flat. You can enhance your own understanding of the world and the universe we live in with this wonderfully presenter lectures from the world’s leading technology, entertainment and designers.

Anyway they posted this announcement on their blog:

This morning, we’re thrilled to introduce TED-Ed — a resource of short lessons designed to spark curiosity and promote further learning in and out of classrooms. Watch our introductory video above … read Chris Anderson’s personal note … and watch for more news and video throughout the day.

  1. Question: How many universes are there?
  2. Question: Why can’t we see evidence of alien life?

Read the story behind the TED-Ed launch on Chris Anderson’s personal blog


INK Conference 2011, this December in India

Ramon Thomas with TED curator, Chris Anderson in 2007In 2007 I came a TED Fellow after attending TEDGlobal also known as TEDAfrica in Arusha, Tanzania. This has been a wonderful journey and many relationships have blossomed with TEDsters all over the African content. It’s with great pleasure that I share this announcement from Chris Anderson below.

Dear Global TED Community,

By now you may have heard of the annual conference in India that has lots of links to TED.

The INK Conference (which stands for INnovation and Knowledge) is being run by longtime TEDster Lakshmi Pratury, who co-hosted TEDIndia with me in 2009. We’ve signed a content partnership agreement with INK that allowed us to bring the best of their talks to TED.com. Last year’s INK Talks posted on TED.com (including Anil Ananthaswamy, Arvind Gupta, Simon Lewis and Susan Lim) have proved popular online, and we’re excited to continue this collaboration.

TEDIndia in 2009 was a thrilling experience, attracting a sold-out audience of 1,000 attendees from 46 different countries. It was always planned as a one-off to bring TED to South Asia. So we’re delighted that the momentum generated by TEDIndia is continuing with numerous one-day TEDx events around the country — and the longer INK conference hosted in association with TED.? The first INK conference was held in December 2010, and Lakshmi pulled together a fine speaker lineup spanning business, science, technology, nonprofit organizations and the arts.? And she’s done so again with the lineup for the second INK Conference, being held in the colourful Rajasthan city of Jaipur, December 8-11, 2011.

The theme is “Power of the Journey,” and confirmed speakers include the first woman private space traveler, Anousheh Ansari; oceanographer David Gallo; music conductor Itay Talgam; director Julie Taymor; and the chair of UIDAI and co-founder of Infosys, Nandan Nilekani. INK is modeled on TED, and the talks will fit the familiar TED 18-minute format.

As an organization, the INK Conference remains 100% independent of TED. They are fully responsible for the event. But we’re happy to be offering strategic advice and content distribution. ?If you want to attend a live TED-like event in India, do consider registering for INK and joining up with movers and shakers from a wide variety of industries, organizations and countries. There’s more information at www.inktalks.com.

Chris Anderson
TED Curator


The Economy Survey ChangeThis.com

Ever since ChangeThis.com launched I have enjoyed the short ebooks the produce and make available at no cost. Often it was a summary or first chapter from books by best selling author’s like Seth Godin, Timothy Ferris, Chris Anderson or Guy Kawasaki.

Anyway here’s a recent email from them with something that really hits home in these turbulent economic times globally and in South Africa…

In November of last year, we sent out a survey to gauge the mood of ChangeThis readers and see if they could help provide some solutions and encouragement for ourselves and eachother. After many months of immense change, both in the country as a whole and within our small company, we have finally finished sifting through those responses.

We made the following three inquiries: “In one word, sum up how you feel right now;” “How is this affecting you?” and; “What are you choosing to do about it?” The 1400 replies we received to this survey are further proof, beyond the intuitive, that work is life and that the personal is the professional. Some people used creative metaphors to express their situations. Others used humour. Some enumerated their action plan. Some ranted. Some marvelled. Some refused to accept a doom and gloom outlook and endeavoured to see the possibilities that come with change. There are some trends, of course, and there were ample frustrations–with capitalism and ageism, with excess and politics.

The cover of the manifesto is a word cloud of the most common responses to that first inquiry, “How do you feel right now?” and each paragraph thereafter is a different individual’s response to the third question, “What are you choosing to do about it?”

Click here to download the survey results to commiserate, to raise your spirits, to hope, to cry, to worry some more and unburden yourself with other ChangeThis readers.


TEDAfrica 2008 suspended, a temporary setback for South Africa

According to an email from Chris Anderson, the curator of the TED Conference, TEDAfrica due to be held in Cape Town at the end of September 2008 has been suspended. This news has also been posted on the TED Blog where I have already posted a comment and I encourage you to do so as well. This is a sad moment for Africa and more so for South Africa, which would have been the 2nd country to host the amazing TED Conference.

Last year I was blessed and honoured to attend TEDGlobal in Tanzania as a Blogger and Fellow. There were many, many connections and friendships established at this conference. George Ayittey described it as the most important conference about Africa at the beginning of the 21st century. And I agree wholeheartedly with him on this statement because never before has so many experts NOT politicians come together in support of Africa. There was a real sense of urgency among the speakers as the the aid vs investment debated heated up over the four days in Arusha.

Anyway why is this a setback for South Africa? We need to shift the focus from all the crap from Eskom, crime, Jakob Zuma, Zimbabwe and more. TEDAfrica in Cape Town would have been a dream come true for me because it represent an affirmation in our country and continent’s direction. The momentum built with the launch of the Next Einstein event in Cape Town, is a testament to the African’s ability to cope under the most severe circumstances. The students from the AIMS 2008 graduation represent the hope for future generations. So I held my breath when I first heard of the TEDAfrica announcement. But now we need to stand together more than ever before. The people on the TEDGlobal group on Facebook and members of the TED discussion group on Google need to find ways of following up and following through with promises made in Tanzania.

Remember we are the Cheetah’s and not the Hippo’s! Cheetah’s do not ask for permission from government to create value and opportunities for others. We are entrepreneurs and we stand on our own feet and make our own decisions. My dream would be that we can finally launch the annual African Bloggers Conference and an bi-annual TEDAfrica, maybe hosting the first one again, as originally planned in Cape Town in September 2009. In the mean time spread the word about TED Talks.