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Brand Geek’s take on TED 2013

Last week was TED — a four day conference that feeds the heart & soul & head.

From 72 countries we convened at TEDActive, each of us different, with something different to give. We convened in Palm Springs from all walks of life, to celebrate successes and seek to solve strife. Among our friends — both old and new — we asked, “What do you love?” not, “What do you do?” For many of us those are one and the same, and at TED that type of passion can be a short road to fame. Ken Robinson’s talk alone has over 15 million views; just think if your big ideas made that kind of news! Over 1 billion TED Talk views and continually growing and each talk that we share is a seed we are sewing.

The highlights of 2013 were the talks that made me think . . .

Michigan’s 47th Governor calls herself Gov and she’s a strong believer in the sun above. Yeah, Jennifer Granholm is certain it can be done — energy independence and job creation by harnessing the sun. If states and corporations will just join forces for good we can curb fossil fuel dependence as we all know we should. Economists Robert J. Gordon & Erik Brynjolfsson debated growth & innovation. Brynjolfsson promoted the Economics of Abundance, while Gordon’s radical solutions sounded like a hallucination . . . legalize drugs, open our borders, give the inmates a vacation!?! Is that what it will take for us to save our great nation? Or is Brynjolfsson right: we must work with machines to avoid stagnation?

Bono is a musician, activist and self-proclaimed factivist. Though the work of his organization ONE, extreme poverty soon will none. Amanda Palmer says music connects artists and fans, so she sure took heat for not paying the band. But do all artists really forge such deep bonds, that their fans would step up & offer to pay for their songs? Elon Musk builds innovative companies, changing our relationship with risk, power, travel & money. SolarCityTesla & SpaceX are his current endeavors, all likely to go far since Musk doesn’t understand neverAnd speaking of never, in comes Stewart Brand, who wants to bring the Woolly Mammoth back to our land. Through the Long Now Foundation’s project Revive and Restore,  maybe Brand could bring back that pet you so adored. And if you or your pet were ever to develop cancer, then teen genius Jack Andraka just might have the answer. After a friend’s death touched him deeply, he set out to diagnose cancer accurately and cheaply. Now he hob-knobs with the Prez and he’s spoken at TED but doesn’t seem to let any of that go to his head.

So many TED speakers simply astounded me, Leyla Acaroglu demonstrated for the problem of consumption, design is the solution to both slow climate change and reduce pollution. Allan Savory surprisingly proved grazing animals not only is good for the land, but they’re actually needed, lest the earth turn to sand. Then Canadian teens trained bacteria to eat phthalates and by taking risks they created something greatAnd though it seems too good to be true, Alex Laskey showed that peer pressure works on adults too!

If peer pressure motivates positive action, just think of the advancement as more Ideas worth sharing get traction! Like Ron Finley’s idea to plant some shit in urban gardens in South Central LA so that no one there goes hungry, not even for a day. Or Dan Pallotta’s idea about enabling charities to thrive so they can best fulfill the missions for which they are alive. And then there’s Orly Wahba’s idea to spread kindness wide in a virtuous circle that starts from inside. And Eric Whitacre and his live virtual choir who showed the power of the internet to join voices rising higher.

TED inspires intimacy and truly genuine connections and always creates the space for deep introspection. This year I left TED with more self-awareness of the various ways in which I make a difference.

I make IP law and sustainability funny, understandable & cool, while protecting the brands that are changing the world. As a Sustainability Steward, I keep our company honest, since in your lawyers you must be able to trust. So thank you, TED for helping me see and express what I love and what’s important to me.









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