Mar 092007

Humbled at TED

Humbled at TED

I’m at my first TED Conference this week, and while I’ve watched countless other bloggers around me pounding out post after post summarizing different presentations (which I won’t do — feel free to see the site for official stuff), I’ve been struggling to find something to write about.  Then it hit me today.  I kind of feel at this conference the way I did when I started college.  Totally humbled.

I was #2 in my class in high school.  Straight As, a few A+s thrown in for good measure.  Then I got to Princeton and felt like an idiot.  I was convinced I was bottom quartile at best.  Everyone around me was either like me or better, smarter, more intellectual, more well rounded, taller, thinner, better looking, better teeth, the works.

This conference so far has been the same, and I mean that in a good way.  The sessions have varied from fascinating to boring to Bill Clinton cool to Paul Simon and Jill Sobule entertaining to completely over my head.  My fellow TED attendees include royalty, billionaires, captains of industry, Oscar winners, and dignitaries.  Add it all up, and there is a giant aura of accomplishment and intellectualism in the room that makes me feel like bottom quartile at best, maybe more like bottom decile.  That’s a great thing, though.  It’s always good to have a reminder of the larger global issues, picture, and opportunities, and a window into the people thinking about solving them.