Me and my sweet TED swag bag

TED 2012 Conference: Day One

Arriving at TED 2012 Full Spectrum
Me and my sweet TED swag bag

It’s like summer camp for really smart adults.

Black Founders was invited to TED 2012 Full Spectrum for our very first TED experience. We’re only a day in and it is already blowing my mind. We’ve met a princess, artists, scientists, and tons of accomplished entrepreneurs.

But TED Day One started with me waking up an hour late for my flight. Yeah, I suck.

I OJ Simpson-ed my way through the airport, got on a flight full of TED-sters and headed down to Long Beach, CA. And I made my first connection while waiting to board the plane — with an orthopedic surgeon who holds more than 50 patents.

After checking into the hotel and picking up a sweet TED gift bag, we settled in for two sessions of TED Fellows talks. The TED Fellows talks were 3-minute presentations from their newest class of fellows, which includes people like Michael Karnajanaprakorn from Skillshare.

Some of the standouts were an engineer who created a prick-free blood testing device that has the potential to save lives in developing countries, an archaeogeneticist who studies skeletal dental plaque, and a performance by a banjo player who sings in Mandarin and told an incredibly moving story about visiting an orphanage in China.

And we’re only 3 hours in.

For dinner, we were paired with people from your chosen “tribes” (my tribes: Techies and Urbanites) where I had Spanish food and great dinner conversation before heading off for a block party in downtown Long Beach.

I wrapped up the night on a yacht debating Uber with a startup entrepreneur who makes a product many of you use every day.

TED is incredibly inspiring. We’re among artists, politicians, futurists, and thinkers.

But the best thing about TED is the random smiles, hellos, and spontaneous introductions that happen when you’re waiting in line for coffee or hanging out charging your iPhone. They’ve created an incredibly open community of smart and accomplished people where you can stop and have a conversation with anyone and about anything.

I went to bed buzzing with the excitement of it all and thinking:

How do I find a way to replicate these conversations and these connections in my everyday life?

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