Curious about our speakers?

Xola Malik, hip-hop artist, producer and philanthropist
Hip-hop artist and producer Xola Malik performs at TEDxSnoIsleLibraries 2015

By Ken Harvey
TEDxSnoIsleLibraries Organizer

The library customer wasn’t just curious, she was frustrated. She wrote: “The TEDx promotion gives me no usable information to help me decide why I should dedicate a day to attending whatever TEDx actually is. I understand what a TED presentation is. However, I want to know who the scheduled presenters are. How long will each person speak or perform and how can I tell how they are innovative? Who decides that the speakers are the region’s ‘most fascinating’?”

Her curiosity about our speakers’ names and backgrounds will be satisfied on Oct. 31, when that information will be posted at sno-isle.org/tedx. (Note: We’ve just updated this!)

Why do we wait for weeks after registration opens to share this information?

Because the air of mystery is part of what makes TED Talks and locally organized TEDx events different from typical conference or speaker events.

The first time I attended a TED event, I was struck by how little information there was available on the speakers and the program line-up. Frankly, I was a bit frustrated, as well. I saw this approach replicated when I attended the next two TEDx events here in the state. When I inquired why, TED officials shared with me that the focus of these events are not about speaker names, credentials, or personalities, but on the promise of delivering a day of ideas.

For the second year, we are following the TED model and not actively promoting the speakers up front.

I can tell you that on Friday, Nov. 18, we will present speakers who range in age from 16 to 64. They are hard at work honing their presentations. Quick descriptions include:

–Author, college student, inventor, music therapist

–Physicist, market researcher, life coach, high school scientist

–Chief executive officer, robotics advisor, aerospace manager, master trumpeter

–Hypersonic scientist, multi-cultural expert, classical guitarist, vice president/manager

–College student, systems biologist, engineer, high school senior, horse trainer

The speakers were chosen by a team of Sno-Isle Libraries staff members, starting with a list of nominations that we solicited from the public. Each talk will last up to 18 minutes. I fully expect the ideas these speakers share to be thoughtful and innovative. We would be delighted to have you decide to invest your day with us and join us at one of our viewing locations. Based on audience feedback last year and my work with this year’s speakers, I think you’ll be glad you did.