I kept running into superheroes. A four year-old superman. A fourteen year-old vampire slayer. A forty-year old Hans Solo. Walking down 14th street in Denver towards the TEDx Mile High conference, I was enveloped in the Comic Con crowd outside the convention center breaking for lunch. People celebrating pop culture from sci-fi to cosplay were out in full-force, and just one block away, the brain trust of innovators at TEDx were lining up for the ingenious food-truck lunch provided with their tickets.
I realized that I could be in extreme brain danger; the nerdery in the city was hitting levels beyond mile high. Beyond the comedy of all of it, this splash of color and energy along one block of this great city was inspiring and exciting.
My form of nerd-fest came in the form the speakers, planners and attendees of the TEDx Mile High Conference. With the question; “What can we take from our observations of emergent patterns? Can we apply the lessons of emergence to create something truly greater than the sum of its parts?”
Entering the gates of the conference we embarked on the journey of exposure to “emergent ideas that will categorically change how we see the world.”
There were 12 speakers at the conference, each with the focus of discussing their expertise in relation to the theme, EMERGENCE. Every single speaker was well-spoken, practiced and brought a powerful message. The crowd at TEDx was energized with the ideas presented, and the organization was nearly flawless.
Really good TED talks have a way of informing and inspiring people to do something, to take action, in society but especially in their own lives.
So what’s the takeaway this time?
PRACTICE. The only difference between you and the best of the best is practice. Instead of spreading yourself between a million tiny ideas, pick one, connect with people about it, write about it, and keep working on it. This flows from health and fitness to your next big idea. You don’t get good overnight. The best people have been at it for years and are continually getting better.
BUILD. There’s space in science, education and entrepreneurism for you. If you have a big idea, now’s the time to make a plan and start connecting. There are people looking to fund awesome ideas with the right strategic planning (usually in technology). If you have to keep you day job, build on the weekends and at night.
GROW. Have you heard of agropreneurism? You will soon. Micro-climate greenhouses and vertical farms are popping up worldwide and the USA is behind the curve on this one. We have the chance to grow local, organic foods from all over the globe right in our own backyard. We need urban farmers in a big way, and there’s lots of room for innovation on the models in it.
A final note, and a call to action.
WHERE MY LADIES AT?
Not the ones playing in costumes at Comic Con down the street. The plainclothes heroes who are building big things and shaking shit up in town.
The emerging pattern I see again and again from the Denver startup and conference scene is that the young, white male is making it. Our speakers ranged from experts in science, education, technology, start-ups and social enterprise, and 9 out of 12 were male. Don’t get me wrong, these men are doing incredible things and rocking out in this world that we live in, and we need both them and their innovative ideas and businesses. But where are the females? The three women that spoke did awesome, but we’re sorely under-represented here, especially considering the TEDx attendance demographic. There’s a chance for anyone here to be great, and a huge space to be filled by emerging female and minority leaders. I know you’re out there, so start bragging about it. Time to fill the gap.
For everybody reading, whatever race or gender, I truly believe that the next big thing can be you.
What are you doing to work on it?
There is unlimited space for you there, at the top, and people are lining up (and paying) to hear all about it.
The time is now to start building on your ideas, engaging your community and making it grow. You don’t need a costume to make it happen. You’re the superheroes we’re all looking for.
The videos aren’t up yet, but I’ll update this post with the links when they are. In the meantime, visit http://www.tedxmilehigh.com/ for more great talks!
PS: I got to attend this conference because my friend John gave me the tickets. A big thank you to him, his wife and their unexpectedly early but healthy baby girl!
©Heidi Resetarits, Manifest Ink.