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Friday, April 13, 2012

TEDxSunnyvaleChange: The Big Picture and more cool name tags

Last week I helped to organize and host the TEDxSunnyvaleChange event. We rebroadcasted a livestreamed video feed from Berlin, Germany earlier that day choosing to show the video at 6:30 PM our time instead of playing it at 8:30 AM while it was live. The theme was "The Big Picture."

We made super cool custom name badges again.

Due to the need to live and re-broadcast this event to a global audience (with varying bandwidth access) the video is 600kbps which means there are some moire pattern issues and, unrelated to the feed, some camera angles that might make you laugh. So, while the recording quality isn't as high as TEDx videos usually are, the quality of the thought provoking presentations meet the standard.

We returned to the location of our first event, the conference room at TechShop San Jose.

We  posted signs to let people know we had space available for last minute participants.

And set up the room configuring the tables and chairs, readying for the event.

We even made custom window covers for the far wall to help cut down on light and distractions from the workroom next door.

With the room prepared I stepped out to The Kabab Shack just across the street to grab a quick bite to eat. An old Victorian on the outside, the interior is decorated really fun and mod. They even have a pool table! I had a vegetarian, falafel pita that was fresh and tasty. It was so good I've already been back a second time.

Just as I was picking up my order to-go Gordon, our fearless leader, texted me to come take pictures of our latest name tags, hot on the laser etching and cutting machine.

The laser machine doing its thing.

With Gordon's help I had designed the name tags using Photoshop. He then converted them to Illustrator and set them up on TechShop's Epilog laser etcher and cutter.

The tags look powdery from all of the loose paint and acrylic dust that came off during the etching and cutting process. It was Gordon's idea to paint a piece of red acrylic bright blue, allowing the etcher to remove the paint and some of the acrylic leaving behind a nice contrast between the two colors.

Here you can see how he also had to punch out the holes for the lanyard clips and loosen off the trimmed edges. The cut is so fine the whole thing fits together like a jigsaw puzzle. The top stack was done and the rest needed the left edge snapped off and the clip holes tapped through.

Then Gordon rinsed them off with water. We dried them then attached the lanyards. That they were wet and squeaky clean was funny to me since the last time our wooden name tags were so burnt by the laser cutter on the edges they were covered with black soot and we had to ask our attendees to wipe their badges edges down with a paper towel before they put them on so they wouldn't get their clothes dirty.

From really dirty to ultra clean. LOL. I wonder what we'll come up with next?

That's my co-organizer Brenton hard at work attaching lanyards.

We set them up on a  table by the door and waited for our participants to arrive.

We eve made blank name badges for drop-ins so people could write their names in with a Sharpie. They worked great!

Our coffee sponsor for this event was the Roasted Coffee Bean in Cupertino.

I even went there the next day to enjoy a soy mocha at their shop on Steven's Creek Blvd. The really neat thing is it's a coffee shop and gift shop all in one. There are all kinds of ceramic, jewelry and gift products available made by local artisans available to purchase. The community vibe there is very strong.

TechShop sponsored lunch for us with a large selection of both meat and vegetarian option sandwiches from Togos. They also sponsored the lanyards we used for the name badges.

TechShop is the place for dreamers, doers, tinkerers, rocketeers, robot builders and so much more. Here's a post I wrote last year that best describes what TechShop is all about.

We gave the video and projector a test run before the guests arrived then waited for 6:00 PM.

And then it was time to kick things off. We had a few repeat participants from our January event and new faces too. People were able to grab  a bite as waited for everyone to arrive.

Gordon got up and gave the intro for the event welcoming our guests and outlining what TED, TEDx, and the presentation would be about.

He had on his new name badge and the wood one we made for our previous event.

Because we weren't having any live speakers we opened the floor for discussion between each presentation. The speakers and one musical performer are listed below.
The Big Picture featured: 
Jeff Chapin, a mechanical engineer and product designer, showed how creating and successfully implementing a sanitation solution in Cambodia (and other developing countries) required not just showing up with a finished product, it meant they needed to listen and be willing to be flexible to come up with a good and sustaining solution beyond what they thought would be the correct one. 
Sven Giegold is a Member of the European Parliament who spoke about how the global economy is suffering from both the crisis of scarcity and the crisis of abundance. In particular he discussed the need for clean, renewable energy and how the development of these options are good for the world economy. 
Theo Sowa, head of the African Women's Development Fund, spoke about the marginalization of African women. Asking how can there be effective solutions to help world and women's issues from poverty to war, peace and family planning when women are not invited to be a part of the conversation on a national level in Africa? She is a knowledgable and eloquent speaker. In fact she is one of the best speakers I've ever seen. Anywhere. 
Senegalese musician Baaba Maal
And to close, Melinda Gates spoke about how even though 1 billion people, around the world, use birth control, there are, particularly in Sub Saharan Africa and South Asia,  200,000,000 women who can't because they have no access to contraceptives. Though many will disagree with her statement that contraception should not be controversial, in this presentation she begins a dialogue about the need for universal contraception. To join the conversation CLICK HERE.
I'd like to thank our participants who attended, the Roasted Coffee Bean and TechShop for their sponsorship of our event, and Liveworld and 37 signals for making things easier for us as organizers.

We don't have a next event planned yet but if you'd like to attend just sign up for our updates at the www.TEDxSunnyvale.com website and we'll keep you posted.

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