The Defining Quotes from TED 2010

“Ideas having sex with each other drives human progress.” Matt Ridley, Rational Optimist

“We spend money we don’t have on things we don’t need to impress people we don’t care about.” Tim Jackson, Economist

“We’d like to see the elimination of the transmission of the virus from mother to child by 2015.” Annie Lennox, Musician and HIV/Aids Activist

“The value of choice is in our ability to perceive differences between the options.” Sheena Iyengar, Psycho-economist

“The central moral challenge of the 21st century is gender inequity. 19th century was slavery. 20th century was totalitarianism.” Sheryl WuDunn, Woman’s Rights Advocate

“There are too many possibilities and too little human time to do the experiments.” Dimitar Sasselov, Astronomer

“Human Rights Principles are universal – but the way they play out is local.” Auret van Heerden, Labour Rights Activist

“The problem with today’s cultural ghettos is not lack of knowledge – it is lack of knowledge of ourselves.” Elif Shafak, Novelist

“There are 6 million species on the planet, and 80% walk on 6 legs.” Marcel Dicke, Ecological Entomologist

“Is the Middle East all Bombers, Billionaires and Belly Dancers — not true, we don’t all want to kill the Infidel.” Jamil Abu-Wardeh, Producer

“We had our first carbon neutral volcano (with grounded planes).” David McCandless, Data Journalist

“We can make a judgement about a person on a person’s face in 1/10 th of a second.” Ian Hutchison, Facial Surgeon

“The American heartland gets a bad rap, but it’s given us some fantastic music.” Thomas Dolby, Musician

“The Human Species is very smart …. but we can be incredibly dumb when it comes to our decision making.” Laurie Santos, Cognitive Psychologist

“Plants exhibit such a complex behaviour that it can only be described as intelligence.” Stefano Mancuso, Plant Neurobiologist

“I don’t mind playing bad guys, but I’d like to rob a bank with a gun instead of a bomb strapped around me.” Maz Jobrani, Comedian

“Now it is the story and narrative that wins. Great Powers have great stories.” Joseph Nye, Diplomat

“They are not weeds, they are bio-diversity.” Adrian Dolby, Organic Farmer

“We can never loose faith in humanity as long as we are in the company of other species.” Toni Frohoff, Wildlife Biologist

“We should be called coctivors – animals that eat cooked food.” Heribert Watzke, Food Scientist

“There are three keys to reduce conflict in the world: Leadership, diplomacy and institutional design.” Stefan Wolff, Ethnic Conflict Scholar

“Genes have awesome power over us – but I are more than my genes – I am my connectnome.” Sebastian Seung, Computational Neuroscientist

“Information that organizations spend effort to conceal is a signal that it’s information that could do good.” Julian Assange, wikileaks

“The paradigm of governance based on nation-states does not work any more. The economy is global.” Peter Eigen, Transparency International


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@rorysutherland at TED: Life lessons from an ad man

Now perhaps somewhat of a TED classic, this is definitely worthy of your time, the video that is. Rory is not only someone with a deeply ingrained wealth of knowledge and experience, but I think he’s truly emblematic of our time. Why? Well, along with all that, it would seem he maintains a curiosity for this new world we live in and an enthusiasm to try out all the new tools that have sprung up and become part of every day life. In this TED talk he mentions amongst other things, the skills and creativity involved in creating intangible value, and that’s an important one, especially with social media, creating value that you can’t touch. I like the musings that advertising isn’t getting people to buy stuff that they do not need as much as it is getting people to value what they already own. Fascinating stuff.

“We need to appreciate what we already have, rather than agonising over what we don’t.”

A point is also made that many of life’s problems could be solved by “tinkering with perception”. Isn’t that what we’re all trying to do with all these creative, groundbreaking projects on behalf of bold / brave clients? Challenge perceptions, push the boundaries, reach new heights? The Diamond Shreddies are a perfect case study, where something so simple to everyone (in hindsight) as flipping shreddies on it’s side resulted in raising sales by 18%. Truly remarkable. We’re told that the traditional shreddies is old and boring (below) whilst being shaped as a diamond instantly makes them ‘better’, ‘more flavourful’ and ‘crunchier’. Astounding. It’s the same shreddies but the perception we are being sold is of these new experiences to be had with the Diamond Shreddies. And we believe them. Hence why sales rose.

Of course, I digress. There was some criticism of the points Rory made here and then furthermore in the comments.. but I got bored of the arguing and going round in circles in the comments but hey, it’s encouraging some debate and thought around the subject isn’t it.

Close to 100 comments here also, on TED, mostly wildly cynical and dismissive but isn’t it great when Rory himself pops in, says hello and silences a few critics. Truly brilliant.

After all that waffle, here it is.. Enjoy.

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