Saturday, February 23, 2013

TEDxGrandviewAve, Ideas, Pittsburgh

Okay, so a while back I had read about this TED talk spinoff called TEDxGrandviewAve. For those of you who don't know what the TED talks are, they are essentially a bunch of mini-lectures and talks on "Ideas Worth Spreading", and have been around since 1984ish. The TEDx Talks are kind of like TED talks, only independently organized events. TEDxGrandviewAve is the Pittsburgh version of it.

So I emailed the guy that helps run the Re(imagine) Media program about it. He liked the idea of the group of us coming to watch. Unfortunately, by this point the 100 slots had already filled for the physical event. Thus, the event we would attend would be a webcast party (one of the three official ones) at a place called StartUptown in the Uptown section of Pittsburgh.

Flash-forward to today: I go to StartUptown, and eventually meet up with the Re(imagine)rs and my friend Dave Wovchko at StartUptown. So what exactly is StartUptown? Well, I arrived first and had the chance to talk to Dale, the gentleman who founded StartUptown
"THE VISION is to build a community-connected campus of entrepreneurial activity in the eastern half of the Uptown neighborhood — and to retain companies as they grow upwards of 20-50 employees."
The StartUptown Space
So anyway, we visit the space, get a tour, and settle down into the area where we are to watch the TEDx Livestream. However, as with most things, it didn't happen that way.

The Livestream didn't work. The audio didn't match the video, and it kept jerking around. We really could have stopped there, the 10 or so of us who were there. But we didn't. We decided to open up a new window and watch some of the talks from, the main events.

What happened was interesting. Someone would suggest a video, and we'd watch it. Then something strange would happen - we'd start talking about something related to that video, and talk for a good 20 minutes or so before someone suggests another and it repeats.

So why is this so interesting? Well, the room ranged in age from 15 year old me to 64 year old Dale. These were adults and 20somethings and high schoolers all talking about the world around them, and the ideas that shape that world.

We took some breaks in between there, mainly to meander about the space, and Dave and I collaborated on a logo that may soon be a logo for one of the companies there. They had these door-sized dry erase boards in each of the spaces. I found this fascinating that the whole space was very much a space for creativity, and couldn't help but start sketching on the one.

Nevertheless it brought back into focus what I enjoy - listening to what people have to say, and being able to think and learn with and around other people in a setting that embraces creativity.

I feel like I was a part of something, even though we didn't see what actually happened at TEDxGrandviewAve, we learned about something. Something bigger than ourselves in a learning community.

And I think in a broader sense that's where everyone learns- not in the same age clumps, or in specialized hallways or whatever, but by interacting and creating with other people AND with yourself.

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