This had to be the most interesting experience I have had in my life in terms of attending conferences. Visionaries, people with a dream, the desire to do something different and make their marks in their own field.
And another thing that i thought I should mention is that this is not the TED talk, as many of my friends have misunderstood. I think I have a long way even before I can think of even attending TED, forget being an invited speaker. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share ideas worth spreading. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks videos and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x=independently organized event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Read more about it here)
Having said that, I still am glad that I was sharing the stage with the kind of people who had gathered there. All the talks were truly inspiring. There were young entrepreneurs to well established CEOs. Someone with some ideas, and a few with more dreams. The underlying thing amongst all definitely was the Passion with which they did their works.
Amongst the most inspiring talks were the rubric cube whiz kid Bernett Orlando, who also is the running champ in India for 6 years straight. Just a kid of 13, but his ideas on national integration, demonstrated with the skills on the cube was absolutely worth of a standing ovation.
Then there was Himanshu Parikh, who had a vision of eradicating Slums through his works on slum networks. One of the things he did mention that one need not worry about not earning. His works involve primarily in improving the sanitation and drainage systems in the slums in India without having to relocate them. No matter what others think, i think that it is a very novel idea. There is definitely a pride associated in the work that one is passionate about. If one goes about doing it, the returns would follow. His works has impacted over half a million people living in slums. Truly inspiring.
And my favorite talk of the lot was Professor Arvind Gupta (www.arvindguptatoys.com) (IIT Kanpur alumnus, product of the 70s) . Here was one man, who gave up his corporate life to explore something that really he was passionate about. But since he did not know what that was, he went and stayed in a village exploring it. And came up with this idea of making toys. So for the past 30 years now, he has been making toys! And the best part is that he is now using those toys to explore concepts of maths, physics to students. And you know what, the toys are made from junk and things that we generally discard! We talked about working together on creating some workshops together and seeing how we can. I am actually thinking of using his toys and the ideas of making toys to design a workshop to be a part of my child education project. Super Super thrilled about the possibilities.
Then there was Khurshid Batliwala, an IIT Bombay alumnus, who is been instrumental in getting more youth to be a part of the Art of Living foundation. He had a really interesting interpretation of the AUM and most definitely the best I have ever heard. I will be writing a separate blog post about it as I think it is worth sharing and a thing that makes me super proud as an Indian.
Karn Malhotra had somethings to say which we have been trying to do at my Design firm, Deskala. He talked about the need for Design studios in the industry to adopt a design school. I think its a novel concept, and it will only result in getting better designers in the already starved for excellence industry.
I did get a chance to speak to the Ad Guru Prahlad Kakkar himself and was really suprised to know that he was a certified Scuba Diving Instructor too!
The other people who were really nice to meet and get inspired from, Nikhil Velpanur (CEO of StrangeLabs) , Siva Cotipalli (CEO and Founder of DhanaX) , Aparna S Wilder (Founder of Global Rickshaw)
A very interesting conference overall and memories to last forever!