TEDxBYU 2013 expected to sell out fast

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Attendees at last year's TEDxBYU event. Photo courtesy of the Ballard Center.
Attendees at last year’s TEDxBYU event. Photo courtesy of the Ballard Center.

Last year TEDxBYU sold out in about three hours, and the same reaction is predicted for this year’s event.

Tickets will be available starting at 8 a.m. on Feb. 28 through the TEDxBYU website. The cost is $35 per ticket or $14 with a student ID. The event will take place in the Harris Fine Arts Center’s Pardoe Theatre, which seats 509 people.

This year’s event will include a presentation from Joseph Grenny, co-author of bestselling books “Crucial Conversations” and “Influencer,” and Kushal Chakrabarti, co-founder and CEO of Vittana, an organization that facilitates small student loans for poor students around the world.

Sharon Eubank, director of LDS Charities, and others will also be presenting.

TEDxBYU focuses on social entrepreneurship, or solving social problems in sustainable ways. Joshua Dance, who recently graduated in information systems has been interested in the field since his mission in West Africa.

“I saw that business was one of the most powerful things there.” Dance said. “The government had a much harder time figuring out things, but when a new brand of beer launched it had huge marketing campaigns and tons of systems that worked.”

Dance said that he loves TEDxBYU because it gives him examples to look to.

“(TEDxBYU) shows you that not only can you make a difference, (but) the people who are making that difference are not so much different than you.”

The Ballard Center for Economic Self-Reliance, which organizes TEDxBYU, wants to help more people catch that vision. Todd Manwaring, managing director of the center, said that they chose the TEDx format partly because it helps people personally connect with the presenters.

New York Times columnist and co-founder of Solutions Journalism Network David Bornstein during  his presentation at TEDxBYU 2012. Photo courtesy of the Ballard Center.
New York Times columnist and co-founder of Solutions Journalism Network David Bornstein during his presentation at TEDxBYU 2012. Photo courtesy of the Ballard Center.

“The experience is very authentic,” said Manwaring. “The whole TED and TEDx format structure pulls something out of people that is very human, authentic and personal.”

Judging by views on the Ballard Center’s YouTube channel, the most popular presentation from the 2011 event was Jessamyn Lau’s memorable presentation, “Get a Mohawk” (963 views currently). And the most popular presentation from 2012 was “Failure is a Part of Success” by Eduardo Zanatta (1,729 views currently).

HankTaylor is an economics major from Idaho who works at the Ballard Center. He has attended three TEDx events, including two at BYU.

“We really call in the favors for this, I think,” said Taylor, “I don’t know how we get such good speakers.”

TEDx events are patterned after TED conferences, which showcase “ideas worth spreading” and whose presentations, called “TED Talks” have been viewed millions of times online. TED is careful to distinguish TEDx events as separate from TED conferences. Though licensed by TED, TEDx events are “fully planned and coordinated independently,” according to the TED website.

Alicia Gettys, a manager in the Ballard Center, says that last year’s TEDxBYU is one reason she came to work at the Ballard Center, and is excited for this year’s event, which she is helping to plan.

“You leave the event with more creative ideas,” Gettys said, “You leave with more hope for the future. You leave inspired. And you leave a better conversationalist because you have all these interesting things to talk about.”

Manwaring also has high expectations for how this event could benefit people.

“It literally is an event that can change a person’s life because you’re hearing about people who are doing some phenomenal things,” Manwaring said, “You leave TEDxBYU wanting to make the world a better place and having a sense of how each of us could be involved.”

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