May 3, 2013

TEDxPortland: A Resounding Success

Depending on who you ask, you will get wildly different answers as to what the highlight of the 2013 TEDxPortland event was — the live cheetah on stage, the art auction, Tom Brokaw, the after party at Jimmy Maks, or the fact that the speakers were available all day if you wanted to shake hands or just chat — all of these made the day interesting, informative, and inspiring.

Our investment in this event felt meaningful and worthwhile in both a professional and a more personal manner, being a part of spreading ideas and innovation throughout the Rose City. From the line around the block outside at 8 a.m. all the way to the jazz after party until 2 a.m., TEDx was nonstop ideas and excitement. Some of the talks that particularly inspired us included:

  • Tom Brokaw, who offered solutions for the polarization facing modern politics, and earned a standing ovation from the crowd
  • Innovator Ben Huh’s discussion of the need for immigration policy reform
  • Brian Faherty, of Schoolhouse Electric & Supply, talking about going analog in a digital world
  • Brian Grant’s moving life story, which also inspired a standing ovation
  • Dr. Laurie Marker, who is finding creative business solutions that are helping to keep cheetahs alive in Africa

The talks will be available to view at once they have been edited, in about a month. They also included several live musical performances and a piece from Asia Greene, a 19-year old poet.

We were vastly impressed with the quality and professionalism of TEDx, especially given that the entire event is organized and run by volunteers, including the speakers and performers. Every detail was attended to, down to and including the original score custom-written by local composer Masataka Odaka. We weren’t the only ones captivated by the event; apparently #tedxpdx was the number one twitter feed in North America that day as the event was live-streamed!

In addition, we are pleased to report that the TEDx What If? art auction, which concluded at the TEDx event’s art gallery, sponsored by Arnerich Massena, raised more than $11,000 for the Children’s Healing Art Project.

All in all, we are pleased to have participated in the event, and feel more convicted than ever in supporting these types of events in our community going forward. To learn more about TEDxPortland, visit We look forward to seeing you there next year!

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