Tuesday, February 26, 2013

TEDActive 2013 – Day 0

Today was my first full day at this year’s TEDActive. The sessions start tomorrow, but today was a chance to get settled in, meet some people, talk with Mark, and attend some preliminary events. So far, things have been fairly low key and have enabled me to keep relatively on top of work.

The trip last night to Palm Springs was more of an adventure. The flights to Dallas-Ft. Worth and then to Palm Springs were a little delayed, but generally not bad. That is until we approached Palm Springs. We were starting to descend when we were told that there was some sort of problem with a plane on the runway and that it would take longer to clear up than we had available fuel. So, they diverted us to the Ontario, CA airport. When I was leaving the plane, I heard a woman from the airline say something like, “Hi. I’m calling from American Airlines and was wondering if you had any available buses. For 138 people?” At that point, I figured we were on our own. A group of folks heading to TEDActive seemed to spontaneously form and we found a van willing to drive six of us to the hotel (about 60 miles away) for $200. We arrived around midnight—fairly tired, but safe. TEDActive community in action!

View from my room at La Quinta Resort
The next morning, however, more than made up for all of that. When I left the room in the morning, I was greeted with this view. Yes, it will be a hard week here, but I will persevere! 

Later in the morning I had the opportunity to be interviewed about my previous TEDActive experiences as well as my expectations for this one. I’m not sure what they will do with the video of the interview, but it was cool to have that opportunity. 

Contents of TEDActive 2013 gift bag
As in previous years, every TED attendee receives a gift bag. As the picture shows, there is quite a bit in it. It may be hard to see everything laid out on my bed, but amongst the goodies are a copy of Office 365, a backpack/tote bag, a couple T-shirts, some gift cards, a waterproof phone case, sunscreen, and a stuffed elephant. These gifts come from a variety of companies all trying to get their products noticed by the influencers at TED and TEDActive. There was one more gift which I received before the conference, the Jawbone Up. It is a wristband that tracks movement and sleep. You upload the data to your iPhone for analysis. I’ve been using it for a couple weeks and will write a future gadget review about it.

This evening I attended a session explaining the growing parts of the TED community and attended a party (where I forced myself to meet three people) which is still going on in front of my hotel room. Hopefully, it will wind down before long as I really need to get some sleep!

Sleep, unfortunately, tends to be rather in short supply during TEDActive. Despite that, I have set some goals for myself in order to get the most from my week here:
  • Participate—I will make an effort to meet people, participate as much as possible, and do as little work as possible.
  • Think—This week is all about thinking Biblically, in the face of lots of challenging ideas.
  • Listen—My goal is not to find what is wrong in what people say, but to instead listen and think through the consequences of what they are saying. Of course, all through a Biblical filter.
  • Chronicle—I will write a blog entry after each day of the conference, though I may not post some of them until the following morning.

My rental bicycle outside my room
Just to make sure I don’t leave any time unaccounted for, I rented a bicycle again this year. I was able to get in a leisurely 10 miles this morning just exploring the area. I even met another cyclist from the area who offered to show me later in the week a nice 30-mile ride I could do.

Yes, in every way this will be an exhausting week! I am looking forward to it.

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