TEDxYYC: Take-Aways Tuesday March 2, 2010

Alright, so I’ve had a few days to digest Friday and let everything that happened sink in. Now, it may take several more months before the true ramifications of TEDxYYC begin to surface for all that attended. But as we wait for those gears to spin here’s my initial feelings on the first TEDxYYC.

cto & TEDxYYC

First and foremost, TEDxYYC was a fabulous event. To the committee that put it on, you did a fantastic job. It was professionally organized and the attention to detail was impeccable. From the general vibe to the gorgeous art work from Kid Bello; it was a one of a kind event for this city. So thank you for letting me participate, I’m extremely grateful.

Anyways, I digress. Much will be said on blogs about the eight speakers at TEDxYYC and other details surrounding the day, so I’ll leave that up to them. What I want to talk about is the overall impact of the event. There’s no better way to describe what TEDxYYC was truly about then to leverage, my furry little thespian friend Wil Knoll, who summed the vibe of the event in these words.

Each one of the speakers today struck a different chord with a different attendee. And that’s why this was a beautiful day.

And he’s absolutely right. (and he yes, actually talks like that.. I’m kidding buddy)

You’ll probably hear about the astonishing demonstration of 18 year old wunderkid Eden Full and her solar-powered bamboo sticks of power or the passionate talk from Ben Chapman about the importance of the Arts. Or you’ll hear about John Manzo’s intriguing look at Calgary’s 3rd wave coffee culture and what it means to the growth of culture in the city. Or you’ll hear the new urbanists all wax poetic about Chris Turner’s (epic name and initials by the way) analysis of our crumbling urban lifestyle.

Each one of these talks struck a chord with a different attendee and that was the beauty of TEDxYYC and the take-away.

But the one talk that struck a chord with me was Rick Castiglione’s.

Calgarians will know Rick from the glory days of 2&7. Many Calgarians will also wonder, like I did, what happened to Rick. He used to grace our evening news every night for 15 years and then he was gone. Gone like a puff of smoke.

Well, it turns out the Rick has been doing fine. Just before the corporate conglomerates got a hold of our treasured networks, he decided to do something different. To go back to the roots of story telling. Instead of toil away at 12 second soundbites, Rick has spent the past few years teaching the next wave of journalists and also telling stories from around the world. From Africa to Belize to South America to remote reservations in our own backyard; Rick has been telling stories through personally (and sometimes privately) funded documentaries.

For a foolish serial entrepreneur like myself, with more great ideas than anything, Rick’s decision to follow his passion was the perfect elixir at the perfect time. Someone who on the outside looked like they had it made in the shade, was able to walk away and follow their passions. For someone like myself, if he, at the height of their career was able to do this, then so can I.

For me that was my take-away.

For everyone else in attendance, there were different take-aways.

Stories are still alive and the ability to do something you care about is still alive. Each of these speakers is able to survive and excel in something. But it’s something they believe in. From Lorrie Matheson to Eden Full, we can all follow our passions.

We just have to decide to do it.

That right there was the beauty of TEDxYYC and I have a feeling it’ll be the launching pad for further passions and even better ideas.

If you’re interested in the TEDxYYC event you can watch some of the talks on BNETtv’s site, including Ben Chapman’s enthralling talk (which is embedded below).

(You can also watch an additional interview with Rick below)

Categories: The-Calgary-Vibe, the-tedxyyc,


CT – thanks for the kind words about TEDxYYC. We’re really happy you enjoyed it!

Blue · Mar 2, 04:02 pm · #permalink



Not a problem, thanks for putting on a great event.

cto · Mar 3, 10:17 am · #permalink


Hmm. So a tough decision on a comment that was left here last night.

If you stumbled upon this post sometime yesterday evening, you’ll have noticed another a more specific comment about the quality of Rick’s talk at TEDxYYC.

While, I love it when people comment on this site, a negative off-topic comment by an anonymous user doesn’t in my opinion bring anything to the table. If you’re going to leave a comment like that, show a bit of backbone and don’t be anonymous.

I also decided to remove the comment, because it didn’t bring anything to theme of the post. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but you might want to use your own blog as a vehicle to rant. As I mentioned in the article:

Much will be said on blogs about the eight speakers at TEDxYYC and other details surrounding the day, so I’ll leave that up to them. What I want to talk about is the overall impact of the event.

This post, was about discussing the overall feel, the positive outcome and what others took away from the day, not dissecting a speakers familiarity with powerpoint.

cto · Mar 3, 11:17 am · #permalink


Yes, I am posting anonymously. No I’m not going to slag Rick or any one (everyone spoke with integrity). But as an attendee of TedxYYC, I can say that I didn’t share your enthusiasm for the event overall. I wasn’t offended or anything — just underwhelmed. I do acknowledge that the level of organization was fantastic, the ambience/environment unique and energetic, the sheer willpower of the organizers to pull it all off in professional fashion was marvelous. But the programming wasn’t strong. And I’ll stop there, because to go further would begin to get catty. I felt perhaps the olympic fever was wearing off on us a bit, so we got carried away applauding the sound of our own voices.

a tedxyyc attendee · Mar 3, 07:22 pm · #permalink


Thanks for the comment ‘tedxyyc attendee’.... If that's your real name.

I do appreciate your comments and your take on TEDxYYC. Without question it was brilliantly organized and executed.

I do like your take on the Olympics and the fever it may have injected into the event, but I see that as a good thing rather than a negative. As a nation and particular as a city, it’s really is uncool to get excited or show emotion in regards to anything remotely connected to improving the city or our own local culture. Maybe the Olympics and the enormous sense of patriotism shown in Vancouver, made us all excited to be involved in something like this in Calgary.

And to me that’s a good thing. We should be proud of being a Calgarian.

In regards to the content of the day, I appreciate that you felt underwhelmed. On that point, we’ll obviously have to disagree. Which is a completely valid standpoint, but given the context of the event – 1st time being held and a 95 dollar attendance fee (not the 6,000 of a typical TED event), what sort of content or who would you have rather seen speak?

I ask, not in a way to sound snarky, but I’m just curious to see if there were any different speakers that would have made it even better?

cto · Mar 4, 12:59 pm · #permalink

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