TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world.
TED was born out of Richard Saul Wurman's observation of a powerful convergence among three fields: technology, entertainment and design. The first TED included a demo of the compact disc
, the e-book
and cutting-edge 3D graphics from Lucasfilm, while mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot demonstrated how to map coastlines using his developing theory of fractal geometry.
But despite a stellar lineup, the event lost money, and it was six years before Wurman and partner Harry Marks tried again. This time, in 1990, the world was ready and the numbers worked. The TED Conference
became an annual event in Monterey, California, attracting a growing and influential audience from many different disciplines united by their curiosity and open-mindedness – and also by their shared discovery of an exciting secret. (Back then, TED was an invitation-only event.)
Mission: Spread ideas
TED is a global community, welcoming people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world. They believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world. On TED.com, thet are building a clearinghouse of free knowledge from the world's most inspired thinkers — and a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other, both online and at TED and TEDx events around the world, all year long.
In fact, everything they do — from their Conferences
to their TED Talks
to the projects sparked by the TED Prize
, from the global TEDx
community to the TED-Ed
lesson series — is driven by this goal: How can they best spread great ideas?
TED is owned by a nonprofit, nonpartisan foundation. Their agenda is to make great ideas accessible and spark conversation.