Overwhelmed by TEDxDubai

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IMG00054-20091010-1626TED is the best thing that has happened to the planet. When TED went online about 2 years ago, it became the best thing that the internet has given the world. TED reminds us that we all have the power to change the world, and gives us the inspiration to do something with that thought.

So when TEDx was coming to Dubai, I was thrilled. However, as hype for it started building ferociously, I was afraid that it would turn into a large commercial gambit where corporations would banter about their success and people would hob-nob for the sake of it.

To be brutally honest: I went expecting the worst, but hoping for the best.

I stayed for all the 20 speakers (10am-6pm), yawned perhaps only once, and left feeling motivated and truly inspired. TEDxDubai truly over delivered.

There was a standing ovation at the end, which is when I lost the little black book I was taking notes in the entire day. I was going to share all my learnings from the day and some of the fabulous quotes from speakers that really stuck. But, unfortunately I don’t have them anymore. Luckily, the TEDx bloggers have posted their notes from the event, do check them out to get a speaker by speaker summary of key points.

All the speakers were fantastic. Really fantastic. They included a 13 year old film-maker; the creator of Freej and THE 99; the catalyst of the Arabic stand-up comedy revolution; the founder of Independent Thinking (inventor of  the concept of “thunk“); the founder of the 8-Day-Academy, and the CD at IDEO.

The production quality was almost on par with the real TED (global). Well, it’s Dubai, not a surprise I suppose. Well-organized, good food, enough supply of coffee, and not a penny spent by us attendees. It couldn’t have been better.

Those who didn’t come, you really missed out.

The only thing lacking was, in a room where 500 odd people  got together for the whole day to listen to some great ideas worth spreading, there was no way to interact with other members of the audience, unless of course you went up to them randomly and introduced yourself. Which perhaps I should’ve done (but it’s so not what you do in Dubai!) :).  In previous events such as BarCampUAE, you left knowing new and interesting people. Perhaps because they were much smaller groups with interactive sessions. Anyhoo.

All in all, thank you TEDxDubai. Look forward to it again next year!

7 responses to “Overwhelmed by TEDxDubai”

  1. Giorgio Avatar

    Thanks for the positive review, and all suggestions are gold for us. Please help us in delivering an even better TEDx Dubai next year.

  2. Angelistiic Avatar

    Very Overwhelming … TedxDubai was a blast!
    Motivated, divined, inspired, influenced, and encouraged was all what was inside me …

    if you’re happy and you know it say TedxDubai 🙂

  3. Ammar Rajab Avatar


    You are overwhelmed, I am unable to sleep until now, I feel my blood is rushing in my veins.

    I am from Bahrain; I watch TED talks on my IPOD almost every day. I love TED and believe it should be replicated every where, its great and worth spreading.

    When I heard about TEDxDubai, I though oh my god its here close to me.

    but the cost was a bit high to travel just for 1 day, so I started thinking more about the issue, and when I saw the speakers , I though oh, they wont be as professional as the videos am watching…

    but my friend here told me to give it a try, so on 8/10 , after they closed the registration already, I decided to go, and I called the organizers , they told me to come as early as possible to register and so I booked my ticket and went on.
    In the plane I was thinking, what am i gone come back with, is it really worth to leave my family and spend my weekend alone in an event I don’t know much about its quality.

    But any way am in the plane already so why think negative, let me enjoy my time, and since I didn’t register, I went to my hotel to sleep early and go early to register my seat.

    Next day I went early in the morning and when I reached it was only the volunteers, and I was very lucky they offered me to be a volunteer with them.

    And guess what, I enjoyed every single moment of the event, being a volunteer even makes you enjoy double.

    And after meeting all the wonderful motivated people and listening to all the speakers that were really great and much better then what I thought they would be.

    i couldn’t leave, actually if it wasn’t my flight, I would have stayed all the night.

    TEDx dubai, is an amazing event totally new, with new mentality in this part of the world, it is totally different then watching videos alone, no matter how great the talk is, but watching this talk with all people around you all speaking the same, all motivated, all helpful and inspiring is an amazing feeling.

    My pleasure to have been there, meet all the guys and hope to see them soon in a similar or better coming event

  4. KJ Avatar

    I did miss it because I was out of town… I am so bummed out beyond imagination! I sincerely hope they go up to the web, TED or YouTube

  5. Brendan Donnellan Avatar

    Hi Abha – was browsing your blog and stumbled across this. Felt particularly keen to comment seeing as Ted is coming to my current home-town, Prague, early 2010 and I simply can’t wait to hear some inspirational talks! I agree that Ted is the BEST thing since sliced bread!

    Were you involved in the organisation at all? I intend on relaying live twitter updates though perhaps an 8 hour live sess is a little too much! Any attendee hints/tips? ;0)

    Keep up the good blogging

    1. abhamalpani Avatar

      Yes, TED is just the best. Is it a TED or a TEDx? Live tweets work – but you might want some help. Don’t worry about the 8 hours, there will be people always tuning in. Make sure people are aware of your live tweets and hashtag them properly so people can find them easily if they want to.
      Happy New Year!

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