10 Things I Learned from 10 People

Yesterday I attended the first ever TEDx conference to be held in Auckland and all I can say is WOW. It’s humbling to hear what some people are doing every day; unbelievable things that will positively impact the future of our society, environment, health – you name it, they’re doing it. Anthropologists, Futurists, Doctors, Scientists, Adventurers, Technologists – the range of speakers was astounding and left me feeling just a little inadequate. Not in a bad way, but in the way that makes me feel I can do better, I can do more and I shouldn’t waste any time getting out there and making a difference, somehow.

So, here are 10 things I learned from 10 amazing people:

  1. Michael Henderson (Corporate Anthropologist): The difference between Cult and Culture is a cult  leader/chief (CEO?) values himself, while the leader/chief of a culture, values the group.
  2. Wendy McGuiness (Futurist): There are 3 types of sight – hindsight (past), insight (present) and foresight (future).
  3. Nigel Parker (Technologist): Great companies and great people fail often; without failure you can’t have success.
  4. Robin Kelly (Doctor): Ear acupuncture is being used as the first line of medical treatment for pain in Afghanistan and Iraq today drastically reducing the amount of morphine needed.
  5. Brenda Frisk (Learning Technologist): 12 year olds are accessing online university webinars, yet our schools still teach them to use pen and paper resulting in a big disconnect between kids and teachers.
  6. Scott Gilmour (Philanthropist): He kicked off the “I have a Dream” program in Auckland with a first round of over 50 ‘under-served’ school kids involved. Fact: It costs $13,000/yr to fund a youth through university compared to $90,000/yr to have them in prison!
  7. Glenn Compain (Policeman): Showed us all that cops can rap to hip-hop – enough said!
  8. Billy Gammon (Adventurer): He just spent 3 months rowing across the Indian Ocean with 3 team mates – unsupported – to raise awareness for prostate cancer charities. The journey, in not much more that a 29ft tin can, involved a 2hr on/2hr off rowing schedule – every day. Pure mental and physical exhaustion took them to a dark place where the two rowing pairs did not speak for 3 weeks. It took a death in the family to drag them back, reinvigorate their determination and remind them how precious life is and they went on to become the 2nd team to complete the race.
  9. Andy Blood (Creative Director): Offered these words of advice – “Don’t be anti-social, the real-time web is here.”
  10. Ray Avery (Scientist): The most common medical procedure is IV therapy, yet an IV Infusion Pump in developed countries costs $2000 so it is not affordable for developing nations. Avery helped develop a reusable IV Flow controller for $6 and this little invention will improve the health of 2 billion people. Fact: It was Colin Murdoch, a Kiwi, who invented the disposable hypodermic syringe.

Finally, well worthy of a mention is Conductor/Composer David Squire. The orchestra positioned themselves amongst us (the crowd) as a finale to close the event and I learned what it feels like and sounds like, to be part of an orchestra, inside the music rather than having it projected at me – truly awesome!