Maybe 6 months ago, John Werner, who runs TEDx MIT and TEDx Beacon Street (and maybe others?), casually asked if I’d be willing to speak.
I said I would, but I couldn’t tell how serious he was. I wasn’t even sure How serious I was. But a few months later John sent the upcoming TEDx Beacon Street program, and I was on it. The list of other speakers was impressive and things just got real. Uh oh.
The other speakers had obvious stories to tell; it was very clear why he chose them. What was he looking for from me? He knew I had co-founded SmugMug, he was one of our heaviest users. He knew of my involvement with Steve Jobs and had me tell a few Steve stories at a virtual reality company he worked for. He had heard my pitch on the promise of Cake Panel conversations. But if he had a topic in mind for me, he wasn’t saying. Uh oh.
What I didn’t know is being invited to speak is one thing, making it to the stage is another. There were to be many rehearsals and re-writes. Speakers mysteriously disappeared from the program. When John addressed the audience on the day, he said they’re very proud of the rehearsals they put the speakers through and that it resulted in many speakers taking a gap year. The audience gave knowing laughter.
The immediate crisis for me is I had to find a story a TED audience would want to hear. I ran through a list in my head and each had fatal flaws.