My highlights of TedXManchester3

I wish I brought my Nikon D40, because the pictures I have are pretty bad with the dark light of the room.

A while ago I talked about TedxSalford and said some slightly negative things about the overall event. No disrespect to the organisers, I just felt it lacked a soul.

I just think I prefer TedxManchester personally. There is something about genuine and authenticity which seems to be missing. I felt like we went from here’s a massive speaker to here’s another big speaker to yes you guessed it another massive speaker…

Later, I talk about the programming of the speaker line up. For many people this might not matter too much, but to me it makes all the difference.

TedXManchester/TedXUniversityofManchester had a line up of not many big name. To be honest you would be hard pushed to spot anyone as such famous. But that didn’t matter at all, actually it added to its overall charm.

Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t all smiles. Still there were issues which made a very good event not an excellent event.

Manchester Academy is a venue for concerts, raves and performances. Because of that the venue was extremely cold. I actually went home at lunch and got my jumper and another coat. There was also no public wifi. However there was Eduroam, and I guess because 40% of the people in the room were students, they were catered for. But the rest of us were struggling without. Luckily getting a solid 3G signal wasn’t too bad.

On the plus side having banquet tables made the whole thing feel much more relaxed. Which is quite amazing for a dark rave hall. But enough about the event logistics, lets talk the line up.

The line up was diverse and vast… but I would say everyone was good even Alessio Rastani who drive me nuts with his call outs and general love of the ugly side of capitalism. However here is the ones which really got me writing notes.

Anthony Lishak
Your voice on paper can be impressive was the rallying call from Anthony. He hammer home the point that when your young people encourage you to do creative writing but as you get older the creativity is lost in favor of structure. This really hit home for me because when I started my blog, lots of people said it was a total mess (maybe still is) 10 years later, I’m still writing and I largely ignored the spelling and grammar pokes from people.

I loved the example he used around Adjectives + Verbs + Connectives = ? I assume the higher the number the better? What is a Connective? (please don’t answer because I don’t really care)

I grabbed some time with him in the break and talked about the fact writing shouldn’t be my natural outlet. Great talk and really makes me wonder how pushing a structure on writing is another way to restrict people from free thinking?

Hannah Mosley
Started her talk about tattoos and body modifications. I personally never really cared too much about tattoos and not really a fan of them, so kinda switched off at the start. But Hannah’s point wasn’t about the tattoos, instead it was about the manipulation of mainstream media. Something I certainly can get behind with my experiences in TV and TV people. Hannah had ended up with her online profile damaged by the mirror in this entry.

I feel for Hannah but never got a chance to talk to her. Over dinner later with friends I talked about some of my experiences and seeing snog marry avoid being filmed in the northern quarter. Shocking stuff, I asserted. Something we shouldn’t stand for…

It was a stroke of great programming to have Jon Sopel from BBC News follow her… He turned it around by focusing on very worth while subject of journalism at the edges.

Carrie Green
You all know how much of a suck I am for peoples shifts or change in perspectives. It all stems back to my brush with death and I’ve been wondering ever since, what it may take to wake up other people? So when I heard Carrie talk, it really hit home with me.

Carrie started her talk with a simple request. She asked for someone to join her on stage. As I was sitting at the front, I put my hand up but in the dark depths of the Manchester Academy, my hand then arm waving was lost. Another request and still no one, so I stood up and shouted yes I’ll do it. Finally she heard me and called me up on stage. As you can imagine, the stage at the Manchester Academy who only a week ago played host to Prince/Symbol/whatever. Isn’t really made for the audience to get up on. So I had to climb on a chair, pull myself up and then walk across the stage. Luckily I had dumped my motorcycle coat by that point. In my head I was convinced she was going to perform some hypnosis on me. But I was driven by what I’ve read and experienced in the past including the richness of life and how to be interesting?

Health and Safety would have had kittens but I walked across the stage at Carrie. In my mind I thought she might pull a Derren Brown grabbing my hand arm in the shoulder and saying calmly “Sleep…” I was nervous but also excited, what did she have in store for me? I reached her and she moved like she was going to shake my hand? She did and asked my name. To be honest by that point I was quickly analysing her and she seemed as nervous as I did. She reached in her left pocket and instantly thought, uh oh… She pulled out a twenty pound note and handed it to me.

I so wasn’t expected this and it took a while to sink in. I’m sure my posture must have looked a little goofy. Carrie, announced to the audience that if they had come forward, they would be walking away with £20 too. I think I said wow thanks, and shook her hand again before exiting the stage. On the way off the stage the scope of the whole thing came to me and I did a little throw of the hands in the air with the money (slightly crass but I’m sure Alessio Rastani would be proud).

She talked a lot about visualising where she wanted to be and that helping her through. Once again something I can relate to, as the hypontheraphy I had for my fear of needles (Trypanophobia) is all about visualising. Its what I use a lot of when stuck in a ruck.

I was able to grab Carrie afterwards and on twitter. So much I wanted to say to her and find out from her. It was a excellent talk and reinforced the idea that you don’t need to experience near death to refocus your life. The world can be what you want it to be, you just need to think it.

Caleb Meakins
This guy totally stole the show. On a similar theme to Carrie Green and Doug Ward, Caleb asked the audience, “What would do if you couldn’t fail?” (seems the best talks start with a question?)

Caleb’s talk was all about the fear of rejection and getting out of your comfort zone. He setup

Suggest a challenge on Facebook or Twitter. By taking on these challenges that are deemed entirely unachievable and socially awkward, I will learn to come out of my comfort zone, think outside the box, and take risks as I attempt to successfully achieve each day’s challenge.

As you follow me on this journey, I hope to inspire you to chase your dreams and not let the fear of failure stop you from reaching and exceeding your potential.

We then had fun watching some of the videos from the youtube channel. Then talked about the serious side of what he’s doing. He talked about social stereotypes,  stepping out side your comfort zone and life beginning at the edge of the comfort zone. Sounds very clique but it came across well along with fear is the sign your alive and without failure there is no success. I’ve been known to say something similar taken from Vanilla Sky.

Just remember, the sweet is never as sweet without the sour, and I know the sour

I expect Caleb will be seen again soon…

Other notice ables were Pam Warhurst (almost given a standing ovation, but don’t worry there will be more about her soon) was amazing as usual. Doug Ward was great of course but I’ve heard his story quite a few times, Waleed Lakhani left some interesting thoughts, Laune Penny was great and ever so passionate but her work for the SKA project was slightly lost in her accent.

I have to say the event was very good and I’m glad TedXManchester was able to balance going big with cleverly theming and fascinating speakers. Good job done and I’m very glad to have gone and spent my Sunday at TedXMancheter… Looking forward to the next one…

Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.

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