Being a part of the TEDx ecosystem is the truest form of community service I can imagine.



Being a part of the TEDx ecosystem is the truest form of community service I can imagine.

  • What causes someone to want to spend 1000 hours a year producing a TEDx event?
  • How do you go about building a team of volunteers that share your enthusiasm for the mission of TEDx?
  • Where do you find speakers with interesting ideas to bring to the red circle?

I've been attending TED since 1993 and have co-produced several TEDx events in Santa Barbara since 2010. We've celebrated 85 speakers with a combined total of over 12.6 million views of their talks on YouTube.

The image on the left is from my talk at TEDxFargo in front of 2,300 people. Typically I am behind the scenes and this experience was transformational for me, in that I have the deepest empathy for speakers and now know how to coach organizers about speaker development and prep from a personal perspective.

Each year, at our own event TEDxSantaBarbara, we have the opportunity to implement what we've learned from other organizers at places like TEDSummit and TEDFest.

In 2017 the podcast Hacking The Red Circle debuted with interviews from every continent, including Antarctica. These podcasts are full of tips and tricks that I'm able to implement and share with the organizers that I coach to help them produce their events.

Looking at the TEDx guidelines for Organizers might seem overwhelming at first. It gets easier once you have done your first one. I've helped a lot of TEDx organizers. Give me a call and we'll see how I can help you with your next event.

"Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change."

~ Brene Brown, TED Speaker
  • In the years I’ve been involved with TEDx, one thing that impresses me is the quality of the people involved. I’ve learned a great deal from them, and many have become friends. I met Mark Sylvester through TEDx and grown to consider him a friend. He, too, recognizes the incredible people involved and has developed the podcast series “Hacking the Red Circle” to share their stories. Even after curating more than two dozen TEDx events, I still learn something from each interview and seek to apply what I’ve learned to make our events better.

    Dr. Randall Bretz TEDxLincoln, TEDxYouth@Lincoln, TEDxLincolnWomen, TEDxLincolnSalon

See what you think

My process for creating our own events is exactly how I work with other organizers and teams. We begin by understanding what the objectives are for creating the event, what value you see by producing it, knowing it's not about the money, and how you'll recognize success.

Because of my background as a chef, I think about each problem as if it’s a recipe. It has steps, a beginning, middle and end, and a list of ingredients. Recipes are predictable, repeatable and a wonderful playground always open for plenty of creativity.

The next time you feel overwhelmed by the scope of a great challenge, like producing your first TEDx event, here’s a simple five-step recipe that uses creativity to picture your path so you’ll own the outcome. I call it See What You Think.


Begin with a breath

Neuroscience tells us that when you center yourself and take a breath, you create a space where your brain can make good, clean decisions.


Dive in and Discover

When faced with a challenge or opportunity, spending time capturing the simple, who - what - when - where - how of the situation is vital for success.


Cluster the Chaos

We'll collaboratively chunk the results of discovery into manageable groups. This step helps us find gaps and missing pieces at the same time.


Picture the Path

This step creates a path, a roadmap to the expected goal or outcome. Visually putting each item on the path and setting up milestones makes the journey real.


Get up and Go

To reach your goal, you need to commit to taking the first step and celebrating. Then commit to the next step and so on. Sounds easy, and maybe the most challenging of the steps.

Let's have a Conversation.

I find that it's much easier for us to have a quick call to find out how I can help you. To set one up, just let me know how to contact you and a note about what you'd like to talk about. We'll be in touch within 24 hours.

If you need me quicker, add "URGENT" in the notes.