#TEDActive2014 was filled with moments of personal reflection, moments that left me in awe of the human species and a general feeling of uncertainty about our future which was mixed with a healthy dose of hope.

collage_20140322104002305

I felt a strong connection to the artists who presented at TED 2014.  Jason Webely’s performance started with one big technical glitch as the audio from his accordion was not mixed well with his voice and yet the power of his authenticity and the truth in his music shone through any audio/video mistakes.  The mistakes did however humanized the participants and made me feel very proud of our TEDxFIU event in Miami, FL.  Since we began our journey three years ago, we have held ourselves to the highest standards and in many ways our eight to ten speaker event was more polished than TED’s own national event.  I won’t say another word about that because at the end of the day the content is king and no matter how many hiccups, the thought provoking talks triumphed.

Rather than list my top talks I will give you three talks that popped into my head as I wrote the opening sentence of this post. Personal reflection came in the form of Elizabeth Gilbert.  Its a simple message of doing what you love but when someone who has experienced success and failure at her level describes it as home, it is very powerful.  We need reminders like this.

My awe came in the form of a demo of a next gen bionic limb.  Hugh Herr talked about the technology and then Adrianne Haslet-Davis, a dancer and survivor of the Boston bombing performed for the first time using one of these limbs. We are truly entering the age of sophisticated robotic limbs and I was reminded of the work of our own Ranu Jung in the realm of the wireless communication between these limbs and the brain.  I later shared a gondola with fellow TEDxer Laura Colcord from Boston’s TEDxBeaconStreet who knew Adrianne from the local dance studio in Boston and shared a a bit of her family background with me.

Gondola to Whistler

The uncertainty I experienced was led by philosopher and writer Jim Holt.  He wrapped my head in reality logic and then made it explode as he had the audience chuckling by refuting both a utopian reality and complete chaos and randomness.

There were so many other moments, like Edward Snowden on stage as a free moving lcd screen on wheels and later a Q&A with Richard Ledgett of the NSA on the subject of privacy versus national security.  There will no doubt be many amazing videos to share in the next few weeks however please don’t forget that on April 15 your taxes are due but one day before that is the deadline to apply to speak at TEDxFIU: Fearless Journey.   Godspeed.

P.S. – I purchased a lift ticket one morning and went up to get a view of Whistler from the mountain.  Here are a few pics.