Bigger than Us | TED 2019


Another unforgettable week at TED just ended this past Friday. If we learned anything at TED2019, it’s that life doesn’t fit into simple narratives, and that there are no simple answers to the big problems we’re facing. While it’s impossible to cover all the 100 talks delivered during those five inspiring days, here are some highlights.


Journalist Carole Cadwalldr opened the conference with an electrifying talk on Facebook’s role in Brexit — and how the same players were involved in 2016 US presidential election. She calls out the “gods of Silicon Valley”.


Of those gods, only Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, showed up. He seemed more like a captain of a ship, wondering aloud how to avoid the many icebergs in his path while continuing ahead at full steam.


“We’re on this great voyage with you on the Twittanic,” Chris Anderson told Dorsey after roughly 20 minutes of interrupted back and forth. “There are people in steerage who are saying, ‘We are worried about the iceberg ahead!’ And you say, ‘That is a good point’ and ‘Our boat hasn’t been built to handle it,’ and we’re waiting, and you are showing this extraordinary calm and we’re all worried but we’re outside saying, ‘Jack, turn the fucking wheel!’” Dorsey’s answers lacked specificity overall. When he was asked pointed questions, he evaded them, as he often does. The conversation was a frustrating one.

Hannah Gadsby was incredible. She talked about the success of Nanette, her groundbreaking comedy-not-comedy-but-comedy. It’s an astonishing performance, a brave and moving story wrapped in a comedy routine wrapped in a TED Talk wrapped in a contradiction. Just look for her talk release on April 29.


Daniel Lismore delivered a personal and heartfelt talk on the importance of being yourself. He also shared his shining light through his authentic creativity and beauty, reframing art. 


The genius stage designer Es Devlin shared her evocative sets for concerts, operas, plays, and runway shows - using lights, sound, sculptures, videos etc. No words can describe her brilliance!


Connection is a superpower. If you haven’t heard of the blockbuster megahit Crazy Rich Asians, then, well, it’s possible you’re living under a large rock. Whether or not you saw it, the film’s director, Jon M. Chu, has a TED Talk about connection — that goes far beyond the movie. 


The theme of connection rang throughout the conference: from Priya Parker’s three easy steps to turn our everyday get-togethers into meaningful and transformative gatherings to Barbara J. King’s heartbreaking examples of grief in the animal kingdom to Sarah Kay’s epic opening poem about the universe — and our place in it.

Exploring the final frontier. A surprise appearance from Sheperd Doeleman, head of the Event Horizon Telescope — whose work produced the historic, first-ever image of a black hole that made waves last week — sent the conference deep into space, and it never really came back.

Photos by: TED

Lital Marom is a keynote speaker and digital transformation expert focusing on business models, exponential technologies and economies of scale.