Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Bill Gates - Curator Extraordinaire

The TED team is always looking for ways to make the TED experience richer and more interesting.  This year they invited Bill Gates to be curator and host.  He was a superlative curator, the only session so far where every speaker has received a standing ovation.  He was also a delightfully informal and engaging host.

I was particularly fortunate to be sitting on the stage for this session with other TEDx organizers, and it was a real thrill to feel part of the Main Stage experience.

There were 4 speakers:
  • David Christian with a fascinating professorial lecture on the history of the world in 18 minutes.  80%SO
  • Amina Az-Zubair from Nigeria describing that country’s progress toward achieving the Millenium Development Goals, and improving democracy and decreasing corruption along the way.  FSO
  • Bruce Aylward’s impassioned plea to keep up the fight to eliminate polio.  FSO.
  • Salman Khan describing the Khan Academy phenomenon, which just might revolutionize education.  SOWSS
  • Gates himself was a gracious and articulate host and asked great questions of each speaker. FSO
 I’ll describe each of these talks in more detail in future posts.

And I’m sure you’re curious about my rating scheme for the talks.  Here’s how to read the ratings:

  • FSO - Full Standing Ovation by everyone in the audience
  • X% SO - my entirely crude estimate of the percentage of the audience participating in the Standing O
  • SOWSS - Standing O with Sustained Shouting.  There had to be a category to capture those receptions that go well beyond a Full Standing O.

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