An open letter to journalist Martin Robbins

Hi Martin,

I’ve just come across an article called ‘The Trouble with TED Talks‘ that you wrote for the new statesman a few years back and thought I’d drop you a line. I am the curator of TEDxClapham and we had our first event in January under the theme ‘Creating Change’.

We received some stick from those that thought a TEDx event in Clapham was a step too far; which is probably something to do with the abundance of red chinos and the infamous night life that Clapham is often associated with. On a larger scale, there is talk on the internet that too many licenses are being handed out and that TED/TEDx talks have become diluted.

It took me 18 months and countless rejections to get my license, so while I don’t agree with the initial point, I do think the second one links to your article where you mention that many TED/TEDx talks lack substance. I agree with you to an extent, which is why our event set out to challenge this notion and show Clapham in a more positive light.

Our first talk is now online and thought you might like to see it. To give you some context, the speaker is sending the talk to key decision-makers in several European governments, NATO and Interpol prior to face to face meetings with them over the next few weeks. She is hoping to use the talk to help put serious pressure on them regarding issues in terrorism finance at the moment.

Hopefully it shows that when approached correctly, TED/TEDx talks can be used as an aid to help create positive change on a global scale.

Any comments, suggestions and feedback would be gratefully received. I look forward to hearing from you,

Alex

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