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Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

TED Live

Press Release, Dec 14, 2011

TED has certainly figured out how to monetize learning - and Alan Levine notwithstanding a big part of that, I would say, lies in offering opinions and talks that are safe for business people offered by speakers who are TV-pretty, speaking the language of the empowered, addressing first-world problems. Like, say, the speaker pictured above. A speaker who I know was interesting and impactful, but who would not have gotten the gig, no matter what she had to say, were she, shall we say, edgier. And it's the formula that allows TED to offer its latest venture, at a price that is tantalizingly attractive (and tax deductible) for business (or schools), a one-year subscription to 'TED Live', featuring live, remote webstream access to both the TED and TEDGlobal conferences, privileged access to a TED forum, and cross-marketed with Amazon to deliver 24 TED Books to "your brand-new Amazon's Kindle Fire color tablet." All this and eye-candy too.

p.s. I get Alan Levine's point that the message is important and should be heard. And I do not begrudge any of the value he derived from listening to it. My point is that if we weren't dazzled by things like TED, we'd see the message, in its more pure non-homogenized non-secularized form, all around us. Like in Rabbi Michael's talk on Kol Nidre, say. Or this spiritualists's gremlin-hunting. Or in this study ("well-being depends greatly on an individual's opportunity to correct the cause of their regrets"). Or in the Tao. As Doug Merritt said, "Regret, like anything, can be a negative, but it is not inherently negative. Its purpose is to teach us to follow a different path in the future than we did in the past."

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