||This article appears to be written like an advertisement. (July 2014)|
|Headquarters||New York City, New York and Vancouver, British Columbia, United States and Canada|
|Founder(s)||Richard Saul Wurman and Harry Marks|
|Slogan(s)||Ideas worth Spreading|
|Type of site||Conference|
|Available in||English, multilingual subtitle, transcript|
TED was founded in 1984 as a one-off event. The annual conference began in 1990, in Monterey, California. TED's early emphasis was technology and design, consistent with its origins in the Silicon Valley.
The TED main conference is held annually in Vancouver, British Columbia and its companion TEDActive is held in Whistler, B.C. In 2014, both conferences moved to British Columbia from Long Beach and Palm Springs, California respectively. TED events are also held throughout North America and in Europe and Asia, offering live streaming of the talks. They address a wide range of topics within the research and practice of science and culture, often through storytelling. The speakers are given a maximum of 18 minutes to present their ideas in the most innovative and engaging ways they can. Past presenters include Bill Clinton, Jane Goodall, Malcolm Gladwell, Al Gore, Gordon Brown, Richard Dawkins, Bill Gates, Bono, Mike Rowe, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and many Nobel Prize winners. TED's current curator is the British former computer journalist and magazine publisher Chris Anderson.
Since June 2006, the talks have been offered for free viewing online, under Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons license, through TED.com. As of April 2014, over 1,700 talks are available free online. By January 2009 they had been viewed 50 million times. In June 2011, the viewing figure stood at more than 500 million, and on Tuesday, November 13, 2012, TED Talks had been watched one billion times worldwide.
TED's mission statement begins:
We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. So we're building here a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world's most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other.
TED was conceived by architect and graphic designer Richard Saul Wurman, who observed a convergence of the fields of technology, entertainment and design (that is, "TED"). The first conference, organized by Harry Marks and Wurman in 1984, featured demos of the Sony compact disc, and one of the first demonstrations of the Apple Macintosh computer. Presentations were given by famous mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot and influential members of the digerati community, like Nicholas Negroponte and Stewart Brand. The event was financially unsuccessful; it took six years before the second conference was organized. From 1990 onward, a growing community of "TEDsters" gathered annually at the event in Monterey, California, until 2009, when it was relocated to Long Beach, California due to a substantial increase in attendees.
Initially, the speakers came from the fields of expertise behind the acronym TED, but during the nineties, the roster of presenters broadened to include scientists, philosophers, musicians, religious leaders, philanthropists and many others.
Chris Anderson (The Sapling Foundation)
In 2000, Wurman, looking for a successor at age 65, met with new-media entrepreneur and TED enthusiast Chris Anderson to discuss future happenings. In November 2001, Anderson's non-profit The Sapling Foundation (motto: "fostering the spread of great ideas.") became the owner of TED. In February 2002, Anderson gave a TEDTalk in which he explained his vision of the conference and his future role of curator. Wurman left after the 2002 conference.
In 2006, attendance cost was $4,400 per person and was by invitation only. The membership model was shifted in January 2007 to an annual membership fee of $6,000, which includes attendance of the conference, club mailings, networking tools, and conference DVDs.
In 2005, under Anderson's supervision, a more internationally oriented sister conference was added, under the name TEDGlobal. It was held, in chronological order: in Oxford, UK (2005), in Arusha, Tanzania (2007, titled "TEDAfrica), and again in Oxford (2009 and 2010). Additionally there was TED India, in Mysore (2009). In 2011 and 2012 TEDGlobal took place in Edinburgh, Scotland.
TED 2011, The Rediscovery of Wonder, was held in Long Beach, California, from February 28 to March 4, 2011. The TED conference has a companion conference, TEDGlobal, held in the UK each summer. The 2009 TEDGlobal, The Substance of Things Not Seen, was held in Oxford, UK, July 21–24, 2009. 2010's TEDGlobal (again in Oxford) was themed And Now The Good News; in 2011 the conference moved to a new home in Edinburgh and was held from July 12–15 with the theme The Stuff Of Life. The 2012 TEDGlobal conference Radical Openness was held in Edinburgh from June 25–29.
The TED Prize was introduced in 2005. Until 2010, it annually granted three individuals $100,000 and a "wish to change the world". Each winner unveils their wish at the main annual conference. Since 2010, in a changed selection process, a single winner is chosen to ensure that TED can maximize its efforts in achieving the winner's wish. In 2012, the Prize was not awarded to an individual, but to a concept connected to the current global phenomenon of increasing urbanization. For 2013, the prize amount has been increased to $1 million. TED Prize winners in previous years:
|2005 ||2006 ||2007 ||2008 ||2009 ||2010 ||2011 ||2012 ||2013 ||2014 |
|Bono||Larry Brilliant||Bill Clinton||Neil Turok||Sylvia Earle||Jamie Oliver||JR||City 2.0||Sugata Mitra||Charmian Gooch|
|Edward Burtynsky||Jehane Noujaim||Edward O. Wilson||Dave Eggers||Jill Tarter|
|Robert Fischell||Cameron Sinclair||James Nachtwey||Karen Armstrong||José Antonio Abreu|
TED Conference commissioned New York artist Tom Shannon to create a prize sculpture to be given to all TED Prize winners. The sculpture consists of an eight inch diameter aluminum sphere magnetically levitated above a walnut disc.
In 2005, Chris Anderson hired June Cohen as Director of TED Media. In June 2006, after Cohen's idea of a TV show based on TED lectures was rejected by several networks, a selection of talks that had received the highest audience ratings was posted on the websites of TED, YouTube, and iTunes, under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0. Initially, only a handful of talks were posted, to test if there was an audience for them. In January of the next year, the number of TED Talks on the site had grown to 44, and they had been viewed more than three million times. On the basis of that success, the organization pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into its video production operations and into the development of a Web site to showcase about 100 of the talks.
In April 2007, the new TED.com was launched, developed by design firm Method. In subsequent years, the Web site has won many prizes, among which seven Webby Awards, iTunes' Best Podcast of the Year (2006-2010), the Communication Arts Interactive Award for "Information Design" in 2007, the OMMA award for "video sharing" in 2008, the Web Visionary Award for "technical achievement" in 2008, The One Show Interactive Bronze Award in 2008, the AIGA Annual Design Competition (2009) and a Peabody Award in 2012.
As of January 2014, over 1500 TED talks had been posted. Every week 5-7 new talks are being published. In January 2009 the then number of videos had been viewed 50 million times. In June 2011 the number of views totaled 500 million, and on 13 November 2012, TED reached its billionth video view. Chris Anderson in an interview in March 2012:
"It used to be 800 people getting together once a year; now it’s about a million people a day watching TEDTalks online. When we first put up a few of the talks as an experiment, we got such impassioned responses that we decided to flip the organization on its head and think of ourselves not so much as a conference but as “ideas worth spreading,” building a big website around it. The conference is still the engine, but the website is the amplifier that takes the ideas to the world."
In March 2012, Netflix announced a deal to stream an initial series of 16 two-hour shows, consisting of TEDTalks covering similar subjects, from multiple speakers. The content will be available to subscribers in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, the U.K. and Ireland. Hosted by Jami Floyd, TED Talks NYC debuted on NYC Life on March 21, 2012.
The Open Translation Project (OTP)
TED Open Translation Project started in May 2009, and aims to "[reach] out to the 4.5 billion people on the planet who don't speak English," according to TED Curator Chris Anderson. The OTP utilizes crowd-based subtitling platforms to translate the text of TED and TED-Ed videos, as well as to caption and translate videos created in the TEDx program (with its technology partner dotSUB until May 2012, and recently with open source translation tool Amara). At the time of the launch, 300 translations had been done by 200 volunteer transcribers in 40 languages. In March 2013, more than 39722 translations had been completed by (an all-time total of) 9262 volunteer translators in 97 languages.
The project contributed to a significant increase in international visitors to TED's website, with traffic from outside the US growing 350%, 600% percent growth in Asia, and more than 1000% in South America.
TEDx are independent TED-like events, which can be organized by anyone who obtains a free license from TED, agreeing to follow certain principles  TEDx events are non-profit, but may use an admission fee or commercial sponsorship to cover costs. Similarly, speakers are not paid. They must also relinquish the copyrights to their materials, which TED may edit and distribute under a Creative Commons license.
TEDx is an instance of Open collaboration: it relies on goal-oriented yet loosely coordinated participants, who interact to create a service of economic value, which they make available to contributors and non-contributors alike.
As of January 2014, TEDx talk library contained some 30,000 films and presentations from over 130 countries In March 2013, eight TEDx events were being organised every day, up from five in June 2012, in 133 countries. TEDx presentations also include live performances, which are catalogued in the TEDx Music Project. 
In 2011 TED began a program called "TEDx in a Box" that allows people in developing countries to hold TEDx events. TEDx also expanded to include TEDxYouth events, TEDx corporate events and TEDxWomen.
TED Fellows were introduced in 2007, during the first TEDAfrica conference in Arusha, Tanzania, where 100 young people were selected from across the continent. Two years later, during TEDIndia, 99 Fellows were recruited, mainly from South Asia. In 2009, the Fellows program was initiated in its present form. For every TED or TEDGlobal conference, 20 Fellows are selected out of more than 1200 applicants; a total of 40 new Fellows a year. Out of the 40 Fellows selected in the previous year, 15 people are chosen each year to participate in the two-year Senior Fellows program (in which they will attend four more conferences). Hence, every year, there are 40 new Fellows plus 30 Senior Fellows from the two previous years.
Acceptance as a Fellow is not based on academic credentials, but mainly on past and current actions, and plans for the future. Besides attending a conference free of charge, each Fellow takes part in a special program with mentoring by experts in the field of spreading ideas, and he or she can give a short talk on the "TED Fellows" or "TED University" stage, the day before the conference starts. Some of these talks are subsequently published on TED.com. Senior Fellows have additional benefits and responsibilities (like hosting a TEDx event for 50+ people).
In February 2013, restaurateur Eddie Huang was released from the TED Fellowship for not respecting its rule of full participation in the conference. Eddie was the first person ever to be asked to leave the TED Fellowship, which is a competitive application-based program. "Out of respect to the other fellows onsite and to the person who could have had his slot, we felt had no choice but to release him from the program. We wish him nothing but the best," TED said in a statement 
TEDMED was originally founded in 1998 by TED’s founder Ricky Wurman and after years of inactivity, it was then recreated & relaunched by entrepreneur Marc Hodosh in 2009.
In 2008 Wurman sold TEDMED to Marc Hodosh and the first event under Hodosh’s ownership was held in San Diego in October, 2009. In January 2010, TED.com began including videos of TEDMED talks on the TED website.
In 2011, Jay Walker and a group of executives and investors purchased TEDMED from Hodosh for $16 million with future additional payments of as much as $9 million. The conference was then moved to Washington, DC.
- TEDWomen - a series of conferences focused on women-oriented themes, including gender issues and reproductive health.
Conflicts and criticism
Sarah Lacy of BusinessWeek and TechCrunch claimed TED was elitist, on the basis of $6,000 ticket price for in-person attendees, poor treatment of less important attendees, and a friend being "de-invited to TED after quitting an ostensibly prestigious San Francisco job." Similarly, TED has been accused of having a gender bias, given that only 27% of the videos posted on the TED website are given by female presenters.
Disagreements have also occurred between TED speakers and organizers. In her 2010 TED talk, comedian Sarah Silverman referred to adopting a "retarded" child. TED organizer Chris Anderson objected via his Twitter account, leading to a Twitter skirmish between them. Nassim Taleb called TED a "monstrosity that turns scientists and thinkers into low-level entertainers, like circus performers." He claimed TED curators did not initially post his talk "warning about the financial crisis" on their website on purely cosmetic grounds.
Nick Hanauer spoke at TED University, analysing the top rate of tax versus unemployment and economic equality. TED was accused of censoring the talk by not posting the talk on its website. The National Journal reported Chris Anderson had reacted by saying the talk probably ranked as one of the most politically controversial talks they'd ever run, and that they need to be really careful when to post it. Anderson officially responded indicating that TED only posts one talk every day, selected from many. Forbes staff writer Bruce Upbin described Hanauer's talk as "shoddy and dumb" while New York magazine condemned the conference's move.
According to UC San Diego Professor Benjamin Bratton, TED talks efforts at fostering progress in socio-economics, science, philosophy and technology have been ineffective. Chris Anderson responded that some critics have a misconception of TED's goals.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to TED (conference).|
- Official website
- Financial Times. "Conference of cool". July 23 2010. Accessed 2010-07-23
- TED – the ultimate forum for blue-sky thinking, Guardian.co.uk, 2010-07-04, Accessed 2010-07-12