Volcano You Say? Let’s TED

TED, [ ted ], noun, TED; verb, to TED, TEDding; adjective, TED, TEDalicious


1. acronym for Technology, Entertainment, and Design

2. a non-profit foundation which features conferences comprised of lectures and performances by the world’s best and brightest thinkers and innovators in less than 18 minutes


3. To utilize creativity and innovation and enable the spread of ideas around the world : We were stuck in London, so we TEDded.

– adjective

4. To demonstrate the motivation and creativity necessary to change the world and share your greatest ideas with peers: You are so TED.

What do you do when a volcano spews a giant cloud of ash into the atmosphere, casting a big, black shadow over hearts and minds?

Do you try to find a portkey in your airline-issued sleeping bag that can zap you to your chosen destination? After all, it worked for Harry Potter.

Or do you inquire about the hopes and dreams of the sleeping baggers around you?

Do you sit in the airport, buzzing in the ear of customer service, trying to find any possible way out.

Or do you take advantage of your extra few days to explore a foreign land, or perhaps the place you call home.

Do you spike up the room rates of the hotel you own to take advantage trapped passengers, as in the case of Dubai hotels?

Or do you work together to make sure everyone has a just-right place to sit, a just-right place to sleep, and a just-right bowl of porridge?

Rather than wallowing in the ash-free corners of London while they waited for the chance to get home, organizers and attendees of the Skoll World Forum

{Skoll Center for Social Entrepreneurship: sponsors research, education and collaboration for the advancement in the field of social entrepreneurship.}

{Skoll Foundation: funds social entrepreneurs around the globe.}

{Social Entrepreneurship: innovative solutions to global environmental and humanitarian problems through the application of high-impact business models revenue strategies.}

decided to take advantage of some extra time with some incredible individuals.

So they created TEDxVolcano in 24 hours: found a great venue, great food, and even greater speakers.

These included:

Jeff Skoll         [ Chairman of the Skoll Foundation ]

Larry Brilliant       [ Former Director of Google.org ]

Nathaniel Whittenmore     [ Founder of Assetmap ]

Matthew Bishop     [ New York Bureau Chief for The Economist ]

Cara Mertes      [ Head of Documentaries for Sundance ]

Peter Greenber     [ CBS Correspondent ]

Susheela Raman       [ Musician ]

And the list goes on.

I’ve had so many conversations with people about how unfortunate this volcano situation has been. Apart from the airlines losing hundreds of millions of dollars and the stranded people with


to get back to, the Iceland V had a negative impact on so many others. Restaurants who didn’t have fresh food coming in. Food suppliers who had to throw away tons and tons of food that went bad after a week waiting to get on a plane. The lungs of those across Europe who are breathing in pieces of glass and tearing their lungs to pieces. Sports competitions that had to be pushed forward for months. Honeymooners who had to cancel their trips. And so on.

A whole lot of Negative Nancy. [Did anyone else have the thought bubble that the name for the volcano Eyjafjallajökull itself looks like it could be an excellent cuss word? Like if you found out you were stranded in the Heathrow airport, this is the spray of letters you would slam on the keyboard in an suppressed outburst of profanity?]

But what I like about TEDxVolcano is how they took a very negative situation, realized there was nothing they could do, so found a positive and skipped away. Instead of complaining to friends and family back home, working in their hotel rooms alone, or finding solace in sleep, the TEDx-goers said, “Not so much.”

Click here to watch TEDxVolcano.

Published in: on April 22, 2010 at 10:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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