Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

BoomTown Heads to TED (And Promises No Pretentious Tweets!)

What is it about TED, the iconic conference founded an astonishing 25 years ago, that gets so many people who don’t go in a lather?

Read one tweet from Mathew Ingram of GigaOm, for example: “and so it begins–all the pretentious and annoying tweets from people at TED, just to prove that they are that special :-)”

Yes, that’s it! Maybe because they did not get enough hugs as kids! (Personally, I would tweet from, like, a fist-pumping party with the “Jersey Shore” cast to prove I was special.)

All kidding aside and back to TED, I suppose it could be the high cost of the ticket or the fact that it is hard to get in at all for any price, since it sells out so quickly, or that the presentations from the stage by some of the world’s top thinkers are so incredibly highbrow.

All true. Nonetheless, TED still represents one of the best venues for deep and varied thinking on a wide range of important issues, even if there are moments that might seem twee and elitist to some.

TED2010 officially opens tomorrow morning in Long Beach, Calif., although events at the conference actually began last night. Speakers run the gamut and will talk on a wide range of topics, from poverty to clean tech to global warming to ukulele playing.

There are celebrities and billionaires in the crowd too, which also includes a lot of Silicon Valley’s movers and shakers. All that Davos-in-California vibe is what probably irks people, but it is a lot less annoying than you might imagine.

In fact, as someone who runs another conference–D: All Things Digital–with Walt Mossberg, I can appreciate how well TED is managed, run and presented.

To the naysayers, I would also have to point out this: The entire content of TED–as well as other TED events across the globe–pretty quickly gets put up on the Web, on one of the better designed and more innovative Web sites out there, for all to experience. Embeddable and free.

While it might not be the same as schmoozing real time, if it is quality content you care about–and I do–then anyone with Internet access can eventually see it.

And it is indeed well worth exploring that nonprofit conference–originally created by Richard Saul Wurman, using the acronym for “Technology, Entertainment and Design,” and now run by Chris Anderson–digitally.

So even if you are overly annoyed that you aren’t there–Chris, you might want to invite Sarah stat anyway to stop her from writing another heartbreaking diatribe next year–see it for yourself online from the TEDTalks site.

Here is one video of activist Eve Ensler, for example, talking about “girl cells” at TEDIndia, which is just amazing to hear–and there are plenty like it to choose from:

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus