“Let’s give Einstein the last word. His dictum is our guide. And we give both its sentences equal weight. “Things should be made as simple as possible. But no simpler.”” - Chris Anderson, the Guardian 2014
Did you know TED stands for Technology, Education, and Design? It began in 1984 as a conference where these three topics converged and has evolved into what we see on YouTube today - conferences all over the world in 100+ languages on every topic you could think of.
Chris Anderson began his career in journalism, writing for local newspapers, and early magazines in the United Kingdom. He moved to found his own publishing company on a $25,000 bank loan, Imagine Media, that was mostly involved in magazine and online publications, and the occasional video game. The company merged with Future US, as Future, another media corporation with similar business interests.
After taking the company public, he founded the not-for-profit Sapling Foundation. Its mission is, “To foster the spread of great ideas. It aims to provide a platform for the world’s smartest thinkers, greatest visionaries and most-inspiring teachers, so that millions of people can gain a better understanding of the biggest issues faced by the world, and a desire to help create a better future.”
The Sapling foundation acquired TED conferences in 2001, which at the time was an annual meeting of leaders in the fields of Tech, Education, and Design. Chris exited Future, and moved to full-time work at TED, expanding the range of topics to cover all topics. He brought fellows into the program, expanded the conference to the internet by posting talks online which frequently went viral. Viewership is approximately 1 billion per year.
In 2009, Anderson introduced TEDx conferences, allowing local organizers to host their own TED events. This has since added some 60,000 talks to the TED archive. 2012 brought TED-Ed; free educational videos and tools to teachers and students. The annual TED conference still runs every year but it was under Anderson, that TED became the global organization that we know and love today.
Some extra fun tidbits about Anderson: He was born in a remote village in rural Pakistan in 1957. Why? How? His father was a missionary eye surgeon who ran mobile hospitals in rural pakistan, India, and Afghanistan. He studied at a residential school in the himalayan mountains before moving to a boarding school in Bath, England. He later graduated from Oxford University with a degree in Philosophy and Politics.
It’s a remarkable argument for the power of knowledge—as not just a human capability but as a force that shapes the universe. (Chris' Notes)
We just chose Steve Pinker's best seller, but Chris Anderson says: Anything by Steve Pinker. He’s one of the clearest thinkers and communicators of our time. Among many other things, he convinced me that I could never understand myself without understanding how humans evolved.
As a child, they exploded my imagination. (Chris' Notes)