Selected Thoughts on TEDxRTP [Part 1]

I’ve had some time now to digest all of the great ideas presented to me by the TEDx speakers on Saturday. While some really jumped out at me immediately (some might say they “spoke to me”), others have taken far more reflection and conversation with others who had a more immediate reaction to the speakers. I would say as a whole the entire day-long program of speakers was fantastic. The thought of 8-hours worth of sitting and listening to strangers talk was a little ominous. When 6pm arrived though, I felt like the past 8 hours flew by faster than I wanted them to. I wanted to stay to talk to everyone (the speakers, the guests, the organizers) a little longer. Even though some of my compadres were mentally exhausted after the event, I was actually energized. Really great ideas energize me, so I thought I would share a few of my favorites.

Andy Hunt. Mindmapping The Next Great Idea. The big kicker here is to realize that unless you capture your ideas, questions, and insights, they’re going to be lost forever, and if you think you can capture them all on your laptop or desktop you’re crazy. What about when you’re at a conference, in the grocery store, in the shower, in the car, on the bus, etc.? Take notes on your cell phone or in a notebook or whatever else you keep on your body at all times. I have a newfound love for small notebooks and sweet pens.

Phaedra Boinodiris. INNOV8 Game. Could this software solve some of the training problems I’ve seen in my own office? Could we train our call center staff more quickly and accurately by incorporating some “play time” into our training schedule? Could the game also be used as an internal communication training tool? I’m not a fan of taking web-based courses such as “Communicating and Listening”, “Interaction Skills for Success” or “Working Through Conflict” that consist of reading a few modules and then taking multiple-choice quizzes to test your knowledge. We can do better than that. Never thought I would say this, but GO IBM!

Hugh Hollowell. Eliminating Homelessness. People are only hungry or homeless because they lack stable relationships. All problems are actually just relationship problems. I should be thankful because I will never be homeless. And how do I know that? Because I have my family and a large support network. This really struck a chord with me because I’ve never been a large supporter of donating money to the homeless or to various causes, but instead have tried to make meaningful connections with those who need help. So make a friend today with someone who needs help. Just being their friend will help.

Seth Godin. Tribes. I hadn’t seen his TED talk on Tribes yet, but I’m glad they showed it at the event. The group I was sitting with immediately started calling ourselves a tribe. We even lovingly started calling the eldest in the group our “Tribe Mama”. Tribe Mama just so happens to be the PechaKucha Night organizer and her tribe consists of co-organizers, assistants, volunteers, helpers, whatever you call it. So far we’ve even attended Ignite Raleigh, TEDxRTP and Fizzled Durham together, with PechaKucha to come. Hashtags like #wheresmytribe are popping up all over the internet :)

Joel Wiggins. Where are the Fathers? Well duh, all those missing black men? They’re in prison. That’s no surprise. While I understand that the statistics show the kids without a father in the household have worse outcomes than kids with fathers in the household, I cannot jump to the conclusion that the lack of fathers in a household causes poor outcomes. Correlation does not equal causation people! I’d like to see the real research behind why children growing up in father-less households are more likely to end up in prison, run away from home, or have behavioral problems. When Joel then concluded that the solution to this problem is to bring the men back to families and that traditional families are good and non-traditional families are bad, I couldn’t support him. I’m not sure if that’s exactly what he meant (and Joel, please correct me if I’m mistaken), but I believe there are plenty of stable, healthy households that aren’t of the “traditional” form. For example gay couples raising children: would you argue that two men raising a child works while two women raising a child would not or that gay couples could not raise a healthy child at all? What about multi-generational families where you may have parents, grandparents, aunts/uncles, and/or cousins living under the same roof? What about single dads or an older sibling as the guardian? Traditional mother plus father and child(ren) families are not the only healthy families.

Ilina Ewen. Food Advocate. Although she only touched on the subject of school lunches briefly, that was the part that stood out the most to me. Why is it that school lunches continue to consist of pizza, breadsticks, apple pie, French fries, and tater tots? The high and mighty in charge argue that they are offering healthy school lunch options: green beans, cole slaw, an apple, an orange, tossed salad, etc. (except there isn’t much more variety than what I’ve already listed). First of all, are vegetables and a piece of fruit really an acceptable complete lunch? Where is the main dish? Oh yea… the main dish is “Big Daddy’s Pizza”, a turkey corn dog, a double cheeseburger, double hot dogs with chili, and “Max Cheese Sticks” with marinara. The second matter is that kids left up to their own devices are not going to choose to eat an apple and some green beans over the greasy food they’re craving towards the end of the day. Ilina challenged Wake County to try eating in a school cafeteria for a month and then see what they think of school lunches themselves. I can guarantee some change would happen pretty quickly.

8 comments to Selected Thoughts on TEDxRTP [Part 1]

  • Thanks for this thoughtful post. I took away the same message from Joel's talk. In fact, as I mentioned in my talk, I actually grew up with my dad as my main caretaker. The whole concept of traditional family is bunk. Family is not based on gender or even biology. It's about presence. Oh, and Hugh rocked it. He's doing amazing work.

  • Great post Carlee. I was absolutely exhausted at the end of the day but it was a great exhaustion. I felt more at peace with myself than I had in a long time. It felt productive even if the main occurrence was to absorb information and get inspired. It really is an amazing event and I'm looking forward to more in the future. The events and our tribe are both addictive things and I love it.

  • hugh

    I really do appreciate the kind words, both from Carlee and from llina. It was an honor to get to speak at TEDx, and to be included among the list of speakers here (especially llina!) is another honor.

  • Cyn

    Nice overview of part one of TEDxRTP. True, I was mentally exhausted, but I also felt satisfied. The day was exceptional and I look forward to more like this in the future. I dare say I might even travel to other cities just to get a fix! Tribe, what say you?
    Andy Hunt – I carry a sketch pad or a notebook often. What I don't do is actually pull it out and doddle as I probably should. Hey! here's a new goal!

    Phaedra Boinodiris – I must admit I have a new perspective on gaming. First, more women/ladies/girls are participating in gaming than I would have thought. Second, it seems the “gaming effect” on children and adults actually helps learning through improving kinesthetic & cognitive abilities. Sweet! Let the games begin.

    Hugh Hollowell – This man has passion. And I have thought so many times as I drive by these lonely, huge homes (my imagination says they are most likely not containing any or very few persons) that no one would be sleeping in a hard, cold place if these people were able to open their hearts and home. I ask you, what would this take?

    Seth Godin – All I can say is “YES!”, AND I am the Tribe Mama, and I love the implications.

    Joel Wiggins – I would like to hear more from Joel. I was touched by his talk and his emotion. Perhaps Zack's pre-into comment influenced how I felt. I grew up in what he calls a traditional home, but I currently live in a non-traditional home. My grown daughters live under an umbrella of a non-traditional home. Although I can't argue that having a man and a woman, a father and a a mother bringing up children seems especially cozy and all-encompassing, I can say there are plenty of non-traditional families that do a damn good job! Non-traditional family tribe unite!

    Ilina Ewen – Not having children in public schools (yay! for that) where lunch foods are an issue any longer I didn't feel in touch with this point. When my girls were in school I supplied a healthy brown bag lunch, so current information on this topic will need to be explored. I did have one “ouch” moment though. When Ilina spoke about the Hamburger Helper and the case of it that arrived due to her calling-out of the poorly made product. That her family refused to eat it, but that it was ok for the shelter or food banks, seemed to have an odd twist, since it is just that demographic that is falling into the unhealthy school lunch trap. Not sure if the right thing to do was to send it back, burn it or whatever. Just saying. I love, LOVE, love the idea of a family or date planning, gathering and making food together. These moments of togetherness are very special and have the ability to live on in memory. Yummy!

  • Thanks for stopping by Ilina. I remember you mentioning your dad did most of the cooking in the household and I wasn't sure if that meant he was the main caretaker or just really liked to cook (as my dad just loved to cook and made most of the food), but it did occur to me at that point that maybe something didn't settle right for you with Joel's talk as well. Good to know I wasn't the only one :)

    I definitely agree that it's more about the support a family gives the children growing up that makes the difference, not who/what the family consists of. Hugh sure knows a little something about support!

  • Now if that doesn't prove what a powerful event it was, I don't know what will :)

  • You both really were some of my favorite speakers and so I'm honored myself to have had the chance to hear you speak and to be able to continue the dialogue here. That's what TEDx is all about anyways, right?

  • That's a good point about HAVING a pen & paper in your bag, but never really taking it out to jot something down. Ever since I started blogging I've been much more concious of actually taking my pad of paper out just about anywhere. The other day I picked up a book at Barnes & Noble and something came to me. I immediately pulled out my notebook and while furiously scribbling my notes, I knocked over a whole table of notecards. Some guy walking by helped me pick them up, but he must have thought I was in my own little world. Anyways, sometimes it's hard to jot notes down when you don't feel like it's the right environment, but just do it anyways!

    Oh and about the school lunches — no I'm not in grade school anymore, but I can tell you that even when I had a lunch prepared for me, I still shared my friend's food and asked my friends to buy me pizza because it looked good. Just because you send your kids to school with a healthy meal doesn't necessarily mean they're going to eat that instead of the cafeteria food.

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