TEDGlobal Day 1: Swollen numbers, tours, and insights

On Day 0, we were an amazing 110 that had an intimate and insightful gathering where we brainstormed and discussed many TED and TEDx-related things. It almost felt like I was already getting comfortable with the people I was meeting at my first ever TED conference. The sheer power of the TEDx community was brimming with enthusiasm, determination and passion to create change. I didn’t realize that looming far over the horizon, things would drastically change.

Day 1 begins at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre as 100s more of attendees flock in for their registration checkin. I realized that I had my voucher to pick up my TED Gift bag, but I’m saving that for later. Attendees who had registered for tours were waiting for their respective shuttles. I decided to venture around capture as much as I can. That also surprised someone else. Dr. Bob Monroe (Associate Dean of Carnegie Mellon Qatar) was also attending, but he didn’t know that I was. I caught him by surprise as I was just passing by the registration queue when I spotted him and then he spotted me. An exchange of greetings and brief chatter before he was up next to pick up his goodie bags.


I was trying to work on my Day 0 entry as much as I can, while witnessing many more new attendees also flocking in from the entrance. I signed up to a tour that revolved around ‘holistic sustainability’ and seeing a dockyard (Will save the juicy details for later). It was a coincide that when I boarded the bus for my tour, guess who else joined me? None other than Bob. Even met a Georgetown D.C campus graduate who is working in Dubai, and also happens to know about the Doha campus. Around 9:30, we were off to our tour with the Scotsoun House by Arup being our first stop. Parallel to the tours, TED was having the TED Fellows speak at the Lyceum Theatre across 2 different sessions. Many things overlapped, but the tour was worth it.


First stop was to Scotsoun House that was designed and run by Arup. Our 3 hosts gave us a very nice presentation on the sustainability practices they put to use, as they viewed it to be beyond just natural greenery. Their involvement stretches to many things in Scotland and around the world, including the Bird’s Nest in Beijing and Yas Island Marina in Abu Dhabi. That’s not the only thing, as they are currently working on the Falkirk Wheel (See the photo as it’s just awe-inspiring in pictures than in words).


Afterwards, it was onwards to the Rosyth Dockyards across the bridge. Though it’s called by that name, it’s managed by a company Babcock. Now, due to the nature of work that involves government and security, I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures. However, the hosts Babcock took their own set of pictures and offered to send them to us. Plus, I managed to snag a few shots well before we were within the dockyard’s proximity.


As we finished the last leg of the tour, we began our journey back to the Royal Lyceum Theatre where we would begin with the 1st session of TED University (a.k.a TED U). Now, this is a platform where the attendees have applied beforehand to share something that they are doing or have discovered. Their window of speaking is much shorter than the normal TEDTalks. With a different spin on the speakers concept, TED calls them ‘Professors’ to tie in with the University concept. Each of them was as good as any TED or TEDx talk, with topics ranging comprising the following and more:


  • Augmenting reality to
    liberate space

  • The new rules of the
    information economy

  • Afterlife of the
    limitless web

  • Wildfire stories

  • Why the next generation
    will be thinner


Sounds like an eye sore with the wide stretch of topics, but they still piqued my curiosity and interests. This was only the first session, as the second one was for the next day. Along with these talks, we were also given an amazing music performance by a TED Fellow. From what I heard from other seated attendees who had also attended the TED Fellows talks, they said that it’s an ear opener. When she began to sing, it opened more than my ears – it made me aware of music in a way that I never thought about being so subliminally soothing.



After the nice intellectual spoon-feeding of these amazing TED U Professor’s ideas, we were whisked away to the Welcome Party at Edinburgh Castle. Now, the entire city is quite hilly and reminded me of Pittsburgh but it was on a short route to an amazing breathtaking view of the entire city. We made our way up with the shuttle and all the other attendees congregated at the entrance area before we made our way up further.

As we made our way to the main open reception area, food and beverages were served. I had the chance to meet and mingle with a venture capitalist Ian Ritchie (who is also speaking at TED U session 2) and Mashable’s Editor in Chief Adam Ostrow. It became a nice talk about technology and many things social media, and we were also joined by many more. Good thing it didn’t rain though it became a little chilly. I still had my trusty rain jacket if things went South.


With the Welcome Party coming to an end, attendees boarded their respective shuttles leading back to their respective hotels. On the way back, the most unexpected thing happened and I didn’t even notice it – Chris Anderson was seated 3 rows behind me. I wondered how did he even get in when I was infront? I chose not to bother about it. When we got off at the Sheraton, I had the chance to have a brief chat before I scampered back to my studio.

Want to see how things unfolded? Catch the story below:




That was the official Day 1 but the full conference hasn’t even kicked in. The next day wraps up TED U, and wedges in TEDx related meetings and the kick-off to the conference.

That’s it for now!



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