TEDx in Buffalo

7 May

What is TED?

TED is a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design.  Since then its scope has become ever broader.  Along with the annual TED Conference in Long Beach, California, and the TEDGlobal conference in Oxford UK, TED includes the award-winning TEDTalks video site, the Open Translation Program, this year’s TEDIndia Conference and the annual TED Prize.

What is TEDx?

TEDx was created in the spirit of TED’s mission, “ideas worth spreading.” The program is designed to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level.


In short, it’s kind of a big deal.  It’s an opportunity for people to come together, share inspiring ideas and grow an audience around a cause, innovation, or technology.  The TEDTalks website is filled with fantastic discussions about education, humanity, science, beauty, government, logic, religion and our environment.

Susan Lynn Cope, professional event planner and overall awesome person has decided to lead the effort to bring a TEDx event to Buffalo.  She has been asking for input on her website and she just submitted the licensing application for the TEDx event earlier this week.

Andy Warhol once said “They say that time changes things, but you have to actually change them yourself.”  Buffalo, NY was a city born from the railways, trading and industrial revolution.  During the Queen City’s golden age, historic icons such as Mark Twain, Grover Cleveland and Fredrick Law Olmsted all made their mark and have left historic legacies for future generations to cherish and enjoy.

With the passing of time and the relocation of major industries overseas, Buffalo has seen a rapid decline in population. This city now has one of the highest percentages of vacant houses among major US cities.   I was recently moved by a documentary, “Requiem for Detroit,” by director Julien Temple.  Temple tracks Detroit’s past, present and future.  His description of the urban decay within Detroit is “a slow-motion Katrina that has had many more victims.”

The parallels between Detroit and Buffalo were unnerving and shocking to me.  Both cities, once thriving metropolises, are now hemorrhaging citizens while at the same time gaining artists and social pioneers that are repurposing the abandoned urban spaces and creatively uniting together.

Buffalo is a petri dish in which we are germinating ideas which respond to local socioeconomic problems.  These innovative responses to poverty, hunger, inequality, massive economic disinvestment and deindustrialization will become our major contribution to the national knowledge economy.

Within the region, we find hundreds of people, organizations and companies designing those very responses and struggling to find a platform from which to broadcast about them.  TEDx Buffalo can be that event and serves as a milestone on our long, dark journey towards enlightenment in this city and region.

Leave a comment here or on Susan’s website and demonstrate your support for this event.  This isn’t telling America about Buffalo, this is telling ourselves that we have the skills and willingness to create solutions and implement them.

14 Responses to “TEDx in Buffalo”

  1. Paul Wolf May 7, 2010 at 7:53 am #

    This is a great idea! We need more opportunities to bring people together to inspire one another to discuss ideas worth spreading. I look forward to a future TEDx event.

  2. Tom May 7, 2010 at 9:33 am #

    This event would be awesome for Buffalo, I’ve been a long time fan of the TED Talks video series. Would be great to have a meeting of the minds locally.

  3. RvrSide May 7, 2010 at 10:19 am #

    Love TED. Awesome ideas.

  4. Bud Kolich May 7, 2010 at 11:01 am #

    This is a great idea!  I attended TED 2008 and 2010 as a TED Professor and TEDYOU speaker, respectively.  They were the most intellectually stimulating times of my life.  I am giving Susan my full support and will do all that I can to help her.

  5. PLewis May 7, 2010 at 2:22 pm #

    University communities, urban planners, entrepreneurs, big thinkers, and idealists should see Buffalo as a land of opportunity. Let’s show it to the world and let everyone know we’re a city willing to welcome big ideas.

  6. Jack Moran May 7, 2010 at 3:32 pm #

    This is excellent! I hope she’s able to bring the event to Buffalo, I will line up like an iPhone addict for tickets to this. It would be awesome if Richard Florida could be brought down from Toronto to discuss urban planning issues. Seriously, this town should be a magnet for people who have big ideas on reinventing cities.

  7. Susan Cope May 7, 2010 at 4:21 pm #

    I am so happy to see such a positive response to this post.  Thanks, again!

  8. Cynthia May 7, 2010 at 6:19 pm #

    Well, this is most excellent news! Susan wrote a wonderful application letter, very well spoken and earnest. We certainly won’t lack for attendees or interesting speakers.

    Paging Michael Gainer!

  9. Joel May 7, 2010 at 8:58 pm #

    TED rules. We’re trying to bring a similar concept to our high school next year as a way to help open up our student’s worlds. I’d love to attend something like this.

  10. Buffalo Blood Donor May 8, 2010 at 8:30 am #

    What a great idea. I have yet to watch a TED video that didn’t leave me upbeat and optimistic about what we as individuals and as a community can do.

    However, this IS Buffalo. It will be interesting, post-TEDx, to see which cynics come out of the woodwork to deride whoever speaks and whatever is spoken as impossible, or not a fit for this community. [sigh]

    Extreme Makeover demonstrated what our community is capable of accomplishing when we work together. Let’s hope that something like TEDx can be as inspirational.


  11. peteherr May 8, 2010 at 2:39 pm #

    Although I haven’t met her yet…Suasn Cope is my hero.

  12. Don Duggan-Haas May 8, 2010 at 8:57 pm #

    Great idea — I saw that Rochester had a TEDx last year and is scheming for another this year, and I thought, why isn’t Buffalo doing this? Of course, I didn’t do anything about it, but I’m very glad to see someone’s getting it cooking!


  1. Susan Lynn Cope Events » Blog Archive » TEDx Buffalo: Thank You for the Support - May 10, 2010

    […] week WNYmedia covered the TEDx story.  Chris Smith’s article not only discussed my efforts, but gave a […]

  2. TEDx Buffalo: Coming Soon | WNYmedia.net - May 12, 2010

    […] week, I told you about the efforts of a local event planner and all around awesome person to bring the wor….  Susan Lynn Cope solicited feedback from the community about the event, put together a […]

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