TED Blog | A chance to audition your own TED Talk!

On May 24, we’re holding the first-ever audition for TED Talks. It will take place in New York in front of a live audience made up of TED staff and members of the TED community. The audition will be recorded, and the best talks could either be posted on TED.com or win an invitation for a full-on mainstage presentation at TED2012 in California early next year. Make a one-minute video to qualify for this audition. Video deadline is April 25, 2011.

We’re holding this audition to give a chance to the undiscovered talent we know is out there — and especially talent that can help us continue to reinvent the ancient art of the spoken word. At TED2012, our whole theme will be devoted to this. We’re calling it “Full Spectrum” — the rich use of technologies, formats and styles to make an impact on an audience. And that’s what we’ll be looking for in this audition.

– a ‘slide-blizzard,’ a presentation containing more images than words
– a talk accompanied by an imaginative soundtrack
– a talk given in front of a custom-animated movie
– clever ‘choreography’ between a speaker’s words and what we see on-screen
– improv / audience interaction
– intense campfire-style storytelling
– a brilliant performance (music, spoken-word, dance … surprise us!)
– a rant delivered at blitzkrieg pace, an intelligent comic routine, a mystery
– a remarkable new invention
– or… just an amazingly good classic TED talk with an ingenious ‘idea worth spreading’

We’d like to test some of these presentation formats and get exposed to any other innovations that may be lurking out there in how to impact an audience.

(Please note, if you submit a standard pitch for a company, concept or cause, you have zero chance of being picked.)

If you’d like to try your hand, here’s what you need to do:

1. Create a one-minute video to indicate your idea for a Full Spectrum presentation, using any of the above techniques or something brand-new. Tell us what you’ll talk about, and then show us how you’ll do it in Full Spectrum style. We’re looking for powerful presentation ideas — the video itself doesn’t need to be polished, it’s only for our internal review. It just needs to give us a sense of you and demonstrate that your presentation could have impact.

2. Upload your video to YouTube or Vimeo.

3. Then fill out this online entry form and give us your details, including a link to the video. IMPORTANT: Forms are due April 25, 2011, at 11:59pm Eastern time.

A judging panel will select the most compelling presentation ideas from your video submissions. We’ll invite those finalists to audition their Full Spectrum talks live at in New York on May 24, in front of the TED curation team and an invited audience. The actual audition itself will range from 3 to 6 minutes, so you’ll need to pick a subject that can be managed in that time frame.

We’re excited to see what you have to offer!

Important dates:
Deadline for submitting your one-minute video and online entry form: Monday, April 25, 2011, at 11:59pm Eastern time.
Finalists will be contacted by Monday, May 9, 2011.
Finalists are responsible for their own travel to New York and accomodation.
Finalist presentations in New York: Tuesday, May 24, 2011, in the evening. More details TBD.
TED2012: Full Spectrum happens February 27-March 2, 2012, in California.

Questions? Write to fullspectrum@ted.com, or post to the Full Spectrum open thread on TED Conversations.

– The TED team

via blog.ted.com


The Next Silicon Valley: USC’s Annenberg?

By Jon Friedman, MarketWatch

LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) — Ernest Wilson smiles when he assesses his job as the dean of the Annenberg School at the University of Southern California.

“I admire and envy Nick Lemann,” Wilson said with a smile about his counterpart at the Columbia School of Journalism. “He has a straightforward task and one school — and its ‘journalism.’”

Of course, Columbia has long been widely recognized as the preeminent training ground for journalists in the U.S.

Wilson, for his part, can take pride in knowing he is making progress with his journalism, communications and public relations agenda. He supervises one of the nation’s most complex and ambitious media-education programs.

Annenberg works in conjunction with such USC divisions as business, engineering and public diplomacy. Labeling USC Annenberg’s School for Communication and Journalism as a simply “journalism” school, in the traditional sense, diminishes what Wilson and his colleagues are trying to accomplish.

USC Annenberg’s Ernest Wilson

Wilson believes that journalism plus innovation equals entrepreneurship, and that word sums up what Annenberg is trying hard to preach to its roughly 2,200 students.

U.S. journalism schools have occasionally been accused — and occasionally with some justification — of being factories of irrelevance. They hired professors who rhapsodized about their good old days in journalism, failed to keep up with the ever-changing technology — which is always going to be the driver in the communications industry — and minimally prepared their graduates for the real world.

Wilson is wise to put the accent on entrepreneurship. Considering how many magazines and newspapers have gone belly-up lately, it’s worth the effort to retrain Annenberg students for the 21st century. “We’re not just training our students for jobs that won’t exist in five years,” Wilson said. “We need people who can connect the dots.

“Five years from now, if we do this right,” Wilson said, “we can establish a new set of competencies for the digital age. Our graduates can go to work for Cisco /quotes/comstock/15*!csco/quotes/nls/csco (CSCO 17.03, -0.14, -0.82%) or the government of China or the World Bank or a school in South Central LA. All of them would understand that communications is at the center. The biggest export in the U.S. economy is content.”

Investing in innovation

Wilson, who welcomes participation from the private sector, instituted the Innovator in Residence program at Annenberg’s Innovation Lab, which encourages student collaboration with public and corporate entities. Levi Strauss, IBM /quotes/comstock/13*!ibm/quotes/nls/ibm (IBM 166.21, -0.13, -0.08%)  Verizon /quotes/comstock/13*!vz/quotes/nls/vz (VZ 37.85, -0.02, -0.05%) , Mattel /quotes/comstock/15*!mat/quotes/nls/mat (MAT 26.80, +1.06, +4.12%) , DirecTV /quotes/comstock/15*!dtv/quotes/nls/dtv (DTV 46.89, +0.29, +0.62%)  and Intel /quotes/comstock/15*!intc/quotes/nls/intc (INTC 19.75, +0.17, +0.87%)  are among the corporate sponsors of the Innovation Lab.

One application was to use the raw data about Levi Strauss’s 4 million Facebook friends and advise the company on how it could improve its marketing and social media. Some might fret that the school has too cozy a relationship with its sponsors and corporate America. But Annenberg officials would counter that their methods give students greater access jobs after they graduate.

Apps for picking paint colors

Smartphone apps have hit the home improvement world. WSJ’s Gwendolyn Bounds shows digits a variety of apps that help users pick out paint colors.

At the same time, it’s possible that Wilson wants to use this kind of a platform to gain stature for the school. Historically, USC Angeles has not been mentioned in the same breath as J-school kingpins like Columbia and Northwestern.

Since arriving at Annenberg in 2007, Wilson’s dedication to entrepreneurial training has rubbed off.

“Ernie has been a real wonderful gift to Annenberg, in the sense that he is a great manager,” said Innovation Lab director Jonathan Taplin. “He takes chances and gives you the ability to go and try and make things happen.” Read more about the Innovation Lab.

“Universities are normally very bureaucratic,” Taplin observed. “But he gave me the go-ahead to make the Innovation Lab happen last May and we had it up and running in August. That’s unheard of, in university-time.”

Whether or not the Annenberg Innovation Lab becomes a breeding ground for another Silicon Valley any time soon, I noticed one bit of progress. Annenberg students sport a can-do spirit that’s sorely missing in media nowadays.

I observed a distinct lack of jaded people at the first annual Annenberg Innovation Lab Conference two weeks ago on the USC campus. USC students participated in the Lab’s Crunch Design Challenge. The winning projects — each of which was awarded $3,000 — were declared in four categories: the Future of eBooks, Transmedia Storytelling, Community Platforms and Tools & Applications.

It was reassuring to see enthusiastic students not talking about the end of the media — which is often the case with members of the journalism establishment. At Annenberg, they see a future in the media biz.

But Wilson doesn’t expect any bouquets. “A leader’s job is to inspire people. My colleagues stand up every morning and say, ‘Innovate or die.’ But no one has the right answer by himself. If someone says that, I’d run screaming from the room.”

The same can be said for journalism programs: innovate or die. With the proliferation of blogs today, young journalists can gain experience and a following without paying high tuitions of such schools as USC.

Wilson recognizes, “what we’re trying to do [at Annenberg] is not unique. We’re all trying to figure out this crazy thing,” he said of the digital revolution in American life.

“Back there,” he said of the New York-Washington journalism establishment, “people are always sounding the death knell of democracy and values. But my kids are inventing the future and we’re helping them. They’re excited. For them this is the best of times — and how cool is that?”

MEDIA WEB QUESTION OF THE DAY: Where do you think the next Silicon Valley-style innovation will come from?

Jon Friedman is a senior columnist for MarketWatch in New York.

We WON! We Won the Annenberg Innovation Lab Crunch Design Challenge!

UPDATE: WE WON!! We took first place in Transmedia Story Telling and our project will be featured at TEDxUSC! Click around links below for more info! Like this one:



I am happy to say I joined up with a GREAT team to work on the CRUNCH! Interactive Design Challenge at the Annenberg Innovation Lab. My  team consists of Project Lead extraordinaire Lauren Fenton, Programmer cover boy Shreyas Heranjal, myself — Desdemona Bandini as Project Manager, and the amazing Annenberg and SCA Faculty Advisor Anne Balsamo.

Our team’s project is called “The Interactive GeoSurface Map.”  It uses an interactive device created by Onomy Labs called a “Tilty Table.” The table functions as an interactive interface to create an experience of playful navigation through Microsoft’s Bing Map database of high-resolution satellite images . By tilting and twisting the Tilty Table, the user can zoom in and pan over details of the landscape. By dwelling on hotspots they can access multimedia metadata on important landmarks.

As an interface meant for public spaces and public use in museums, galleries, community centers, and municipal buildings, the Tilty Table offers a unique means of apprehending geography, land use and infrastructure not only as a collection of data but as a communal experience of embodied travel through a virtual space. As opposed to interfaces designed for individual experiences only, The Interactive GeoSurface map is about collaborate browsing, allowing viewers to engage with each other over the data.

We are collaborating with an institution called the Center for land Use Interpretation to adapt their exhibit, Urban Crude, about the Oil Fields of the city of Los Angeles, for the Tilty Table. Urban Crude explores the way oil is being drilled in the city, by whom, and what their strategies are to hide this drilling activity from plain view, which includes hiding oil wells behind fake buildings or churches. The exhibit contains images and text as well as geographical data that weaves a narrative around this particular example of land use.

What distinguishes The Interactive GeoSurface Map project from other interfaces for vizualizing geographical data (for example, Google Earth), is that we don’t just present data, we present a narrative about the data. The user can explore a story, rather than just a collection of facts. The story we are presenting is about geography and land use, and how these topics relate to us as urban dwellers and citizens.

As such, it is an ideal tool for any institution that is involved with thinking about geography in a creative and interesting way – our potential audience includes museums, science centers, schools, community centers, and any institution involved in urban planning.

“What distinguishes The Interactive GeoSurface Map project from other interfaces for vizualizing geographical data (for example, Google Earth), is that we don’t just present data, we present a narrative about the data. The user can explore a story, rather than just a collection of facts. The story we are presenting is about geography and land use, and how these topics relate to us as urban dwellers and citizens.”


By Manuel Castells, Mireia Fernandez-Ardevol, Jack Linchuan Qiu and Araba Sey

Mobile Communication and Society by Castells, Manuel, Qiu, Jack Linchuan, Fernandez-Ardevol, Mireia, 9780262033558

Review D. Bandini

I chose this book for three reasons: first it was about mobile communications, something I hope to get stronger in; second because it was written by a Chair of Annenberg; and third because it was available in the library. As I was narrowing a choice, it was hard to find a book that was copy written recently, as this was published in 2007. This was not the best choice for the simple reason it is chock full of early mobile stages, but most data doesn’t go past 2004. Between 2004 and 2011 there has been a major mobile revolution. The part I am most interested in, of course. But it did go to great lengths and exhaustive research to nail the actual facts and figures of mobile globally up until 2004. No small feat. It is indeed a dense research book.

There are 12 chapters in the book. I will skim through them for you. If you love facts and figures and numerical statistics you will love this book. I like smart phones, video games, and new technology. I should have listened to Clint’s suggestions.

  • Opening: Our Networks, Our Lives

Americans should be proud. We really adopted mobile technology faster than other countries. I did not know there were mobile phones in 1976, but there were 44,000. By 1990 there were 5 million. America basically had competing networks on different standards, similar to what we see today. This actually slowed our adoption rate outside of business use quite significantly. Europe adopted one standard (GSM, invented in Norway) for most countries and their cell phones surpassed their land lines years before ours did. At the time of this book printing Asia was still developing. Singapore had the government to thank for the push into mobile as it is a partner in manufacturing and distribution. I could go on and on with more facts, but basically what really opened up cell phones to most countries was either — the standard, the pricing via competition, or the ability to pay as you go. The pay as you go made it possible for poor countries to have a phone and a lifeline they would normally not have.

  • The Diffusion of Wireless Communications in the World

This is a look at who is using cell phones and why. Long distance workers were quick to adopt the technology like truckers or field workers. For field workers, it would take them a year to save to buy a pay-as-you-go phone, they would get patchy service and they spent most of their money on their phone which often was stolen because it was a status symbol. I love the imagery of the accessories the phones first came with, the belt clips and colored snap-on covers. This chapter shows how different demographics use the phones in different ways. Adults used it to talk, teens to text. Texting took off in a big way everywhere except America because most of the phone companies were not willing to open their services up to other carriers for a long time.

  • The Social Differentiation of Wireless Communication Users: Age, Gender, Ethnicity, and Socioeconomic Status

I love the imagery of the accessories the phones first came with, the belt clips and colored snap-on covers. This chapter shows how different demographics use the phones in different ways. Adults used it to talk, teens to text. Texting took off in a big way everywhere except America because most of the phone companies were not willing to open their services up to other carriers for a long time.

  • Communication and Mobility in Everyday Life

In this chapter he discusses the pros and cons of being available at any time. How mobile phones can define class. He talks about families being able to coordinate better through the mobile phone and manage their personal lives with more flexibility. Learning mobile phone etiquette when out and about.

  • The Mobile Youth Culture

This is hilarious. He talks about texting again, quite a bit and how it has morphed into its own language. He goes over personalization of phones. His examples are ringtones, photos, and video games like “snake.” Like snake‼ He also discusses how phones with cameras have been used to bully and humiliate teenagers at the hands of other teenagers and what the cultural ramifications means for this new technology. Wi-Fi is also introduced and debated.

The world is getting smaller. Reaching out and touching someone is more cost effective and easier now. No more busy signals, always a voicemail or text.  Because a mobile phone is not connected to a desk or a wall, it feels free. There is a different experience. Public places are now places that private personal interactions are made via mobile. New social patterns emerge through timeless connection possibilities. Response time can be shortened.

  • The Language of Wireless Communication

He again explores SMS and MMS texting and messaging. He talks about how caller ID has changed the way people call each other and pick up or do not.

Here is explores using mobile technology to rally people together. No doubt he was onto something. Little did he know that Twitter was coming. He points out several major political shifts partly attributed to mobile technology including the ousting of President Estrada in the Philippines, the electoral defeat of the Spanish Partido Popular, the voting power of Korean President Moo-Hyun and protests of the Republican party all organized and distributed via mobile texts, messages and calls. The mobile phone can affect big political change. Security, Wi-Fi, satellite phones are a few other topics.

This goes into economics of emerging and developing countries. He discusses how mobile phone affect the digital divide between countries with advanced technology and those without, pricing and how the poorest pay the most of their wages and get the worst service. For some countries the mobile phone is the only way they will ever discover the internet at all.

  • Conclusion: The Mobile Network Society

Mobile phones have a revolutionary impact on our society of 2004 and prior, no doubt. I wish I could learn his thoughts on the mobile technology of today! The revolution feels like is barely just getting started!

Never Before-Seen Tech Companies Get Their Start at LAUNCH!

Three years ago, two tech media heavyweights, Michael Arrington and Jason Calacanis started a conference called TechCrunh 50, a then annual startup conference. This year, they parted ways in case of two too many chefs in the kitchen, and as frienemies do – they each started their own version of that startup conference (and Arrington refused to allow his reporters to cover the event). Today we will focus only on Jason Calacanis and his new venture to showcase upcoming startups, LAUNCH!

Why? Because Calacanis was kind enough to invite and provide entrance tickets to our USC class to LAUNCH, and – better yet, in the competition are grad students from last year’s APOC program demoing their final project MingleBird. MingleBird is a geo-location iPhone app that makes event networking less awkward, and meeting people in person a fun game.

The stakes were high. Contestants would pitch for five minutes and then take questions and feedback from the judges. The judging and grand jury panel consisted of successful entrepreneurs who know a thing or two about startups, based on their own success in the field. There were two general competitions, a 1.0 competition between startups that had never received press and were completely unknown; and a 2.0 competition between startups that had previously launched but had made added new features or improvements. Outside was a demo pit of featured contestants and some companies that just wanted to get their feet wet in the space but didn’t make the final cut.

There were different rounds of judges and an audience loaded with tech press, angel investors, entrepreneurs, internet superstars, APOC students, and developers. To the contestants, which round of judges could really make or break their experience. Some of the judges could offer to fund them on the spot. And at times, they were so impressed they did.

Most of the time, however, they picked apart the technology, presentation and offered advice on improvement. Some of it relevant, and some of it, personal opinion – like, speak louder, stand up straighter, present better. Or your app that is meant for small to mid-size companies will not solve my 10mil+ traffic hits per day website testing issues. Judges were sometimes kind, and sometimes stern. Kevin Pollack was picked as the Paula of the panel and Dave McClure the Simon Cowell.

There were several standout winners that walked away with money in the bank like Room 77 and Stack Overflow. All in all, LAUNCH has been lauded as an overwhelming success by attendees and press alike, the best kind of revenge there is.

Here is the complete list of winners posted by TechCocktail.


By Desdemona Bandini

Industry Roundup Part Deux – American Institutions Under Attack

Is it a full moon?  Have we been transported back to 1911? It might feel like that with some of the non-tech related headlines grabbing attention this week. They all seem to have one thing in common though, republicans.  It is just really too much to ignore, so it must be included in this weeks headlines. I will add that the opinions expressed here are my own.

Do you like weekends? Most people do. Except Wisconsin’s new Republican governor Scott Walker who wants to break unions. (Just a reminder that unions are why we have weekends and children are no longer day laborers — just sayin’).

Do you appreciate ‘Sesame Street’ and ‘Morning Edition‘? Shows broadcast by the beloved National Public Media that republicans feel should no longer be national or funded. That includes PBS and NPR. ‘Sesame Street’, ‘This American Life’, ‘Which Way LA’, ‘All Things Considered‘, and some of the best unbiased reporting are at stake.

The internet is pretty cool. Log on, go anywhere, see anything, publish whatever. Net Neutrality insures this continues. Again, republicans are not fond of the FCC’s efforts to maintain a free internet highway. They feel that though the American people have already paid through tax dollars to lay the cable of the cable companies, that the cable companies should be able to charge more for the use of the internet and possible even control the content.

Woman’s rights have long since been secured and fought for. The leading non-profit providing basic medical services of all kinds to women who do not have healthcare, Planned Parenthood, is another American institution that republicans feel should no longer be funded. It is not just about abortions, which are in fact a small part of their operation. (Besides, forcing women to have children guarantees they will make excellent parents and not end up on welfare; another program republicans would like to cut.) Are we in 1911 in Iraq? No, I didn’t think so. I am starting to wonder though.

Remember after 9/11 when Americans watched the New York Stock Exchange open once more sending a message to the nation that America was back in business? The icon of American commerce, New York Stock Exchange, got sold this week to a German company. I am sure republicans had something to do with that too.

Republican or not, I have to believe that the majority of Americans whatever their party lines are, have to wonder if this leadership truly represents what people want.


By Desdemona Bandini

Don’t Blink, It’s “5 Second Films” With Ben Gigli



Ben Gigli
What is 5 Second Films? You may have seen 5 Second Films on G4’sAttack of the Show,’ Comedy Central’sTosh.0‘  — but if not, do not fret because Ben Gigli ( a former APOC student, yay!) is coming to class tonight to give you the scoop.

The concept is simple really, make a film in 5 seconds. The rules are each film must have 2 seconds of beginning titles, 5 seconds of film, 1 second of end titles. Each weekday a new film is debuted on the site. What can happen? Hilarity ensues.

Here are some classic examples.

Some questions for Gigli might be:

1.  How did your site come into being?

2.  How did you grow your community?

3.  What advice might you have for us on how to build an online community?

4. What are some of triumphs and what are some of your failures?

5.  How do you make money from your site?

6. How much does it cost to run your site?


By Desdemona Bandini