• Log In
  • Sign Up
    • I think most speakers are chosen because they have expertise in some subject like artificial intelligence. When they invited me to speak they said they didn't have a topic in mind, only that I would have to go through many rehearsals like the other speakers. Whoa.

      I immediately thought of topics in my comfort zones: photography, earth science, Silicon Valley innovation. But what could I say that Annie Leibovitz, Al Gore or Elon Musk couldn't say with more authority?

      I asked @amacbean16 (my daughter). She said what's most interesting about me is that I've lived so many lives, from growing up on the streets of Oakland to 1 on 1 craziness with Steve Jobs. What ties them together?

      My stomach fell. Not the streets. Too hard to speak about. But when I mentioned the possibility at the first rehearsal, my fellow TED speakers and the organizers jumped on it. Ugh, this would be hard.

      It reminds me of what women say about childbirth: excruciating. Worth it.

      Would love to know what you think.

    • Thanks! It got sustained applause and a partial standing ovation at the show, and I was mobbed after, so that was encouraging. But I dunno how it will do on YouTube. They posted it a couple days ago but didn't let me know and it probably has to get momentum early for YouTube's algorithms to give it much weight. Also, comments.

      Look at me, I'm suddenly promoting myself on social media. 😳

    • Excellent. The talk came across very well. The personal side of it is wonderful as it shows where you have been. While you found it was difficult you did very well.

    • Well done @Chris - a very engaging talk. It's not easy to use personal history to make a wider point; the balance has to be just right for the wider point to stand out.

      On a personal note, you are now more than just a name tag to me, which is good.

      I derived something else from your talk that you maybe did not intend, and that is the importance of persistence. Someone once claimed that persistence beats genius over the long term ( I am paraphrasing, here). I think it was Calvin Coolidge, who also observed that the world was full of unsuccessful people with talent.

      Nice one.

    • Thank you! On persistence, Steve talked about that a lot and I think most of us thought it was cover for Pixar and NeXT taking forever to show momentum. Honestly, we rolled our eyes with each other when he wasn’t looking.

      But I think if I had to choose one word for the miraculous success of Pixar after 20 years of mostly failure, that would be it. Here’s how he said it, in 2 minutes:

    • Whoa! You're a brave man, Chris. I generally don't have a problem speaking in public, but only when it comes to technical stuff or similar, but to get up in front of the crowd and speak about personal stuff like that, man, I couldn't do it in a million years. Kudos.

    • You're a brave and eloquent speaker, and this was a great talk – moving, inspiring and thought-provoking. (Apologies for the cliches: you speak better than I can write.)

      Even the "easy" part of the talk, about your time at NeXT, was provocative. It brought back memories for a long-time Unix weenie whose return to the Mac, in 2002, was driven by a desire to experience Unix with a well-designed graphical UI.

    • Finally got a chance to watch the entire talk. Very well done Chris. Loved how you finished with Greta Thunberg and how she saw Autism as her superpower. There was a fascinating arc from you, to Jobs, to Greta that helped drive the point home of harnessing ones weaknesses can become fuel for personal growth.

    • Chris I just got back from NZ and watched your talk.

      I really enjoyed it, the nervous tension was part of the success of the talk, and showed how difficult it is to talk about the immensely personal parts of our lives, you got that spot on.

      You should be very proud of the talk. 👏

    • Thank you. 🙏 Another TEDx speaker gave essentially the same talk as me a week later. It even has a similar title. He told the story of his tough childhood like I did. His has gotten 17,000 views in a day while mine has 1,200 in a week. He seems like a really good guy with a compelling backstory

    • I watched it a week or so ago. Great talk. I can imagine that was really difficult talking about the personal details. I felt it was inspiring.

    • I finally got around to watching this yesterday (at work) and I was really struck about what you said about classes you "failed" -- I am going to take this aspect with me more as I advise students about classes they fail multiple times, and look for options/solutions!

      Thanks for this.