Posted by Remo Giuffré on
TED, co-founded by architect, designer and author Richard Saul Wurman, Harry Marks and Frank Stanton, was initially the name of a one-off conference held in Monterey, California in 1984. It featured talks from a variety of fields. The goal of the conference was to bring together people from diverse fields to share their ideas and spark conversations that could lead to positive change.
TED was arguably the world’s first convergence conference, a cross-disciplinary place where thinkers and doers got to join the dots in surprising and often serendipitous ways.
The origin story is personal and interesting.
In the years leading up to TED, Wurman was doing a lot of flying for business, and many of those flights were long haul. The most interesting conversations he was having on those flights were with fellow passengers working in one of three fields of endeavour: technology, entertainment and design. Hence the name TED, an acronym of these words. He also decided that that he wanted to bring all of his smart new friends together one day, but realised that his home in New York was not big enough for that purpose.
And so TED became the way for Wurman to host the dinner party of his dreams.
The first TED conference although notable for previewing the compact disc, the e-book AND the first ever Macintosh computer, was somewhat of a money-loser; and six years had to pass before Wurman and Marks would try it again, starting with TED2 in 1990. In 1992 the TED Conference became an annual event with Wurman as the sole owner/driver, attracting a growing and influential audience from many different disciplines united by their curiosity and open-mindedness ... and also by their shared discovery of an exciting secret. TED had become known as the place where cool things would happen and many extraordinary people would gather to move and shake.
Over the years, TED has expanded beyond its original focus and now covers a wide range of topics, including science, business, education, and global issues. In 2001, TED was acquired by Chris Anderson's not-for-profit Sapling Foundation, which helped expand the reach and influence of TED through the online distribution of TED Talks “free to the world", the creation of TEDx events (a global licensing franchise) and the ongoing development of the TED.com website.
Today, TED is a global community of curious and engaged individuals who are passionate about sharing ideas and insights that can make a positive impact on the world. TED and TEDx events and talks have become a platform for thought leaders and innovators to inspire, inform, and challenge audiences to think differently and act on their ideas.
The conversation that began over a drink on a plane has become one that involves hundred of millions of people all over the world, and on a daily basis. TED itself has turned out to be the ultimate "idea worth spreading”.
We spoke to RSW for this piece, and he expressed "immeasurable pleasure with the continuation of TED, the talks, the creation of TEDx, its enormous expansion and the enduring strength of an idea to embrace change".
1. TED logo
2. Richard Saul Wurman. Image Credit: Rebecca Rex
3. TED Definition design for TED5 by REMO, 1994
4. Join the Dots diagram by Remo Giuffré
5. Richard Saul Wurman with Chris Anderson at TED in 2014
6. Remo with David Byrne at TED in 2010
7. REMO T Shirts at TED, 2008
8. Wurman Interview with Remo for REMOVISION, 2009. Watch HERE.
9. The TED Stage today
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