Ah, TED. My familiar friend who is persistently positive. My clever mate with the next shiny big idea. Yes, you’re popular, funny, interesting and loved by all.
TED, you are important to me. More than anyone, you give me a window to the breadth of work going on across the world. At your best you are inspirational. You introduced me to people who changed the course of my career.
But something feels awry.
TED, you give me a message of hope, but you forget the nuance. When you say something to me, I need to remember that you are presenting a version the idea with lipstick, eyeliner and a short skirt slapped on to dress it up. I need to remember to google it afterwards if I want to do more than say “hmmm interesting”. To understand if your ideas are really beautiful I need to see them naked, warts and all.
Every time you speak, TED, you sound the same. Sweeping active statements. A light joke here and there. A cadence, a pace that… is… all too familiar… and slow. [Pause for breath]. Simple slides. You are the white picket fence and nicely mowed lawns of calls to action. You seem to have an all-too-coached clarity of presentation achieved at the cost of your personality, perhaps?
TED, your parties are amazing thought orgies. You can and do charge thousands of pounds to enter (though admittedly you do kindly provide a live video feed for those of us not wealthy enough to afford the fee). And we should all go! When else do we get a chance to mingle with the celebrities for people who don’t like celebrities other than at your parties, TED?
TED, I love you. I will always love you. But sometimes I feel you promise more than you deliver. And your polished delivery is symptomatic of my pet bugbear of this modern world: style used to help us forget that there may be a potential lack of substance. TED, you’ve done so much to inspire so many, but sometimes you flatter to deceive.