Last week I had the honor of participating in TEDxRVA. For anyone who’s never heard of TED or TEDx, TED Talks are 3 – 18 minutes talks based around the philosophy that there are a lot of valuable ideas out there that are worth sharing with the world. TED is a non-profit organization that hosts conferences where people from all over the world come to speak and listen – these people are leaders in their fields, innovators, entrepreneurs, scientists, students, etc. TED films each talk and allows them to be viewed and listened to for free on their website and mobile app, so they’re accessible to everyone and for always. TEDx events are independent, local events done per TED protocol.
I listened to TED Talks when I ran across the country and so it was a HUGE honor and a daunting one as well, to be allowed to give a talk last Friday. Leading up to the event, I connected with other speakers, the organizers, and all kinds of people who are driving the creative revolution in Richmond. I’ll try not to get too mushy-gushy, but the experience was an intensely fulfilling one. I walked home afterwards feeling like I had discovered this whole community I never knew existed in RVA, and had met some people who will be in my life for a very long time and will make it so much richer. A big thank you to everyone who wanted to make TEDx happen and found the right ways to do it, and for the community for showing so much support and interest.
Afterwards, the question of course is, how do we carry that TEDx buzz and momentum into the future of Richmond. How do we make the next 6, 7, 12 months more creative, inspiring, and connected than the last? We can’t let TEDxRVA just be an event showcasing our potential as a community, it’s got to become just a natural reflection of what we’re doing here in RVA. In the week after the conference, the best part is that the buzz hasn’t slowed. The connections keep happening. Alex and I are working with one of the TEDx organizers on an awesome Launch Party for our Kickstarter Campaign. (the campaign is for Alex’s film gear for the Tour de France run, it starts next week, and stay posted for details on the Launch Party!) We’re having it at a gallery/recording studio that is literally right across the street from our house, because we just met the owner during the TEDx events. We’re brainstorming how to get the musicians on stage at TEDx involved in the score for the finished film. Another speaker I just met last week has been mentoring me on how to go through the process with potential sponsors for the Tour de France run. Next week I’m going running with Leah – she’s the amazing speaker coach who helped put my nerves at ease throughout rehearsals etc.
I don’t want to go through this like it’s just a list, but the point is that many of us formed friendships in one short week or even one day and that collaborations are being built on those friendships. It makes me step back and wonder what this community might look like in 6 months. It also makes me eager to bring everyone who didn’t have the chance to be at or watch TEDxRVA into the wavepool. That conference had a time limit of 9 hours and a speaker list of 32 people, but the sparks and bites and changes and everything that everyone is hoping to start with TEDxRVA has no limits.
Alex and I are having the Kickstarter Launch Party next week (likely April 10) and are really hoping to connect with the community and make this a fun chance to all get together, post TEDx, share our stories, and see what happens. More details are coming soon, but please mark down April 10th on your calendars!
*For anyone who’s not familiar with Kickstarter, it’s a crowd-funding online platform that helps connect people with creative projects – you can scan the website and choose individual projects to donate to, or you can create a campaign for your own project, and reach out to individuals who might be interested in supporting you, which is what Alex is doing, to raise $ for the making of the film about the Tour de France run. You can check out the Kickstarter website here: http://www.kickstarter.com/