TEDxChennai 2012 excerpts part 1 - eNidhi India Travel Blog

TEDxChennai 2012 excerpts part 1

How many events/conferences you’re aware of, wherein speakers need to rehearse as many as 7 times before the organizers, irrespective of how great speakers they are? Lot of conferences do ask for a synopsis, but not many go beyond that. In TED events, chosen speakers need to undergo this ritual rehearsal before going on stage.

TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design. It is an event wherein handpicked speakers, who’re usually achievers, share their life experiences in about 18 minutes. While the main TED event is incredibly expensive at 7500 dollars a ticket, TEDx are locally organized versions of the event. There’ve been many TEDx events in and around Chennai of late, but I’d missed almost all of them.

I attended my first TEDx event last Sunday at TEDxChennai. Organizing team and volunteers had put in several months of effort and the same was reflective in the quality of the event. This post is a quick summary of various talks given at TEDxChennai

First to speak was Karol Talbot. She is a certified NLP trainer, bestselling author based in Dubai. Her core message was: think positive and say it positively, because our mind can’t process negatives. Never say “Don’t slam the door”- if you say that, the other person is very likely to slam the door. Instead say “Please close the door silently” Don’t say “Don’t eat all my chocolates”, instead, say “Please have some fruits”
You can’t think about what you don’t want to think about without thinking about it. If you say “Don’t think about Blue Ocean”, first think that comes to mind is Blue Ocean.

Another exercise she made audience was to look up, smile and then feel depressed. If we’re looking up and smiling- it’s impossible to feel depressed. To be depressed, we need to look down and think negative.

Sergio Sedas is a robotic expert who made working robot to get into live volcanoes. His core message was that today students are not instantly employable once they graduate out. Companies spend couple of years and several thousand dollars before getting productive work from them- this is because students study theory and are unable to use it to solve practical problems. He talked about the initiative taken at his university, wherein students teach students about robotics (not theory, but practical activities). Because of this hands-on experience, first year students are able to make working robots in few months (that climbs the stairs)
Sergio also demonstrated simple principles and formulas through practical exercises. Dexterity is the skill of performing with hands, instead of going by theory. (Author’s note: It’s because of hands on experience a kid in a roadside garage can fix a bike much easily, compared to a mechanical/automobile engineer who now works for software companies.

Puja Gupta was the next speaker- she talked about 5 uninvited guests- fear, doubt, overwhelm, dream-stealer and challenge and how to overcome them-be prepared (for the worst), be aware (what to do or how to handle when a disaster strikes), scare it away, care and dare. Puja Gupta runs a consultancy lifebydesign (note: the website is lifebydesign.in and not lifebydesign.com as given in promo materials) and she advocates keeping one self happy before one can spread happiness to others. She was under pressure by peers and relatives to be a perfect house wife and no one encouraged her to pursue her dreams. When I go to US for 20 days a year, I can do my role as mother much better during rest of the 340 days, than if I’d never been out all through the year.

Kristi Stab talked about being a Rockstar. Rockstar needn’t necessarily be in the lines of rock music, can be in any field of our choice. Couple of key takeaways from her talk- rockstars are self directed- they don’t need someone to motivate them, rockstars move persistently towards their goal, they take responsibility of how good or bad the things go, Rockstars rock their roles.

Jana Stanfield made everyone sing “I cannot do all the good the world needs, but the world needs all the good I can do”. She works on world peace and shared her experiences around it. She appreciated India for its wisdom of 1000s of years and gave a nice performance on board.

Prabhakaran Murugiah spoke about how he ran a marathon to decide if he should start a company or not. He was told running a company is like running a marathon. To experience how running a marathon feels like, Prabhakaran decided to give it a try. He went to a coach and he was told “Marathon running takes 26 miles and 27 days” “26 miles in 27 days is easy, I can easily to 1 mile a day” was his reply. Then the coach corrected him “It’s not 26 miles in 27 days- it’s running 27 miles in one go and preparation usually takes 27 days”. They started with 3 kms on day 1, then 5 kms on Day 2 and so on. Once 3 km run is mastered, next day during 5km run, first 3 kms appeared easy, but last 2 kms were tough. Gradually the distance was increased to cover the distance of full marathon.

On the day of the event, Prabhakaran developed a knee injury and despite this, he completed the run and got a medal. This win inspired him to start Corp-Corp.com, which is a job portal with a difference (claims to connect recruiters to candidates in 30 seconds flat). It took 18 months to get our fist paying customer, but we had thousands of customers during next 19 months- he revealed. Corp-Corp is based in US but entire back office runs in Thirunelveli a small town south of TN, from where Prabhakaran hails.

Passion, Persistence and patience are the key to success, Prabhakaran felt. During his school days, Prabhakaran wanted to join maths batch with is 99% score, but was denied admission, as there were several students with 100% score. His passion for maths made his class teacher tell the school management “You either put him in my class or put ME in HIS class”. Because of this the entire science batch was converted into Maths batch (My school still doesn’t have a science batch- he recalled). 

Couple of more parts will be published soon, summarizing rest of the talks. All these talks were very inspirational, but the biggest mistake all of us do is that we forget about it from next day and get busy with life. Unless we implement some of these thoughts/ideas, we won't go anywhere

Updates: unknown to the audience, Ted team was monitoring the event and has flagged it for non compliance of TED guidelines. TEDxChennai license has been cancelled, Kiruba stepped down as brand ambassador for TEDx in India

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