If you haven’t seen my previous articles, recently I called for organizing a TEDChildren conference and started gathering a community using Twitter. Unfortunately the events unfolded into a somewhat unexpected direction.
Instead of just being idea promoter relying on the power of TED as a global platform for change to take upon it, I now feel I need to assume a more sizable role and connect with like minded people to try and implement the idea ourselves or with few smaller partners. I decided to use this article as a reset point for the initial call and reach out to the community for support.
I have posted this originally through Twitter (this should explain the format) and this serves as a condensed form with improved readability!
My call for action for TEDChildren hit a little snag: TED will not organize a TEDChildren conference in the near future.
I didn’t get discouraged! They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and I can be stubborn at times
I am now more than ever passionate about turning the idea into a reality — and I want to tell you why!
Try to imagine a future without kids! It hurts to even think about this, right? It’s a nightmare we better never see!
How about kids without future? — and I am not just talking runaway climate change roasting the biosphere.
Update: I’ve provided some clarification about the spirit of this article in the comments below! Please read and let me know your feedback!
This morning, I got disillusioned! — definitely not a good feeling for a Monday morning
No, it’s not the fact that TED didn’t endorse TEDChildren – disappointing as it was at first, I later realized that was just a symptom — but the realization that my ideas about a participatory world of engaged individuals are missing a key element!
The lesson I learned today? The participatory world doesn’t exist on its own, it is sprouting out from the existing money-driven economy, and the cost for its existence is paid by the consumers!
I am very passionate about platforms and got to think that only few have a key essence – I call it platformness — that sets apart the truly successful ones from all the others — the others that even though they’re designed to be platforms either never take off or remain to be used simply as versatile products. It is the essence that emerges when the platform and its users engage in a positive feedback loop that enables previously unimaginable uses to sprout out.
The premise of my previous article was that today’s world values participation above consumption and the new economy of attention selects those who engage with others and not those who focus on earning and spending money.
As I mentioned at the end of the article, though, there’s one more aspect about this view of the world that I didn’t cover. It is an aspect that I am most excited about and would like to lay it out here!
In a peculiar twist of random events converging to an unexpected outcome — which will become obvious below — after writing the article last night, today I got to watch Carne Ross, the first ever “freelance diplomat”, speaking at one of TED’s partner conferences, the Business Innovation Factory summit last year.
Today I got very excited to learn about two great initiatives — one backed by UNICEF and another resulting from the TEDx community — providing kids with an opportunity to voice their opinion on topics impacting their future — from global warming, to universal education for everyone, to eradicating poverty…
Naturally, that made me think if my quest for initiating TEDChildren is obsolete as these two forums are already providing what I had in mind when I wrote my call for action! At first sight it seemed to me that I can go back and catch up on my sleep, to the great relief to all of those fine folks around the world I’ve harassed into following @TEDChildren on Twitter!
While going back to 5-6 hrs of sleep from the current 2-3 sounds tempting, I decided to do my homework and understand the two forums better!
Recently I wrote “If I allow myself to dream — and in that dream I find my self on the TED stage making a wish ;-) – I would be calling for a global forum where the topics of self and identity, the impact of the emotions to human behavior, the question how personality is shaped from childhood to adulthood, and many related questions [involving children] are discussed.” With this post, I’d like to turn my words into action and try to use one of my favorite platforms for sharing (and acting on) ideas, TED, to call for such a forum to be organized!
When I was growing up in Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia I often heard the phrase “The future belongs to our children!” As I was growing up, things have rapidly changed around me — the communist regime was crumbling around Easter Europe and even “moderate” socialist countries like Yugoslavia fell apart into little states striving for independence and recognition in the world.
Now, politics never interested me — especially as a kid — but I couldn’t avoid to notice that the promise stated by that sentence I heard so many times before, somehow started to fade. In the backdrop of civil unrest, increased poverty, fights for power, etc., somehow the idea that the future will belong to my generation, and the dream with it that such future will be bright and happy seemed far-fetched.
After posting my previous article on cupcakes and what they taught me about platforms, I had a feeling something was missing, the article was not complete and my thoughts around platforms were not as clear as I wanted them to be. Today, I think I know what bugged me, so as I’ve previously done when I feel restless about some idea, I decided to go to my writing playground — this blog — and secure my sleep by dumping what’s on my mind
To start, I’d like to tell you few quick stories that opened new perspectives for my view of the service you all love or hate — Twitter!
My list of people I follow on Twitter includes Twitter’s own Katie Jacobs Stanton (@KatieS). Yesterday, after a hard-working week, she decided to pack the kids in a car and go for camping during the long weekend. As the lack would have it, her car battery died and she got stranded on the highway between Los Altos and Mountain View, CA with three sleeping kids in the car. Most people would try to call road assistance in such a situation, but not Katie. She asked Twitter to the rescue!
Let me ask you a question? When you think cupcakes, what image do you have in front of you? A yummy dessert that makes you feel guilty after cramming one more in your mouth, though it’s your third one and you promised yourself you’ll stop after the first one? ;-) I share the same sin too, but another, rather intriguing picture keeps coming up in my mind when I see them — and I want to talk about that here.
Go to Google Image search and type cupcakes: — According to Google’s hit counting, you should get over 7,000,000 results! Walk around any city (at least in North America) and you’ll see them in every little coffee shop or baking goods store. Even the Food Network runs a show in which cooks are competing to make the best cupcake and win a prize. I even learned recently of a blog dedicated to cupcakes (thx @brainpicker for the link!)
By the way, just for fun, search for cupcakes and for coffee on Google Maps, with a zoom level that shows all of North America, you’ll find around 600,000 businesses for cupcakes and only (!) double that number for coffee. Surprised? I sure was — knowing that Starbucks is on every corner! I think somebody should better start investigating the health effects of cupcakes! ;-)
Why cupcakes are so popular?
Back in the late nineties, as I was about to get my engineering degree from the University of Sv. Kiril i Metodij in Skopje, Macedonia, education on distance was promising to change the higher-level education forever. Over a decade later, we’re still to see truly revolutionary results — I guess Sir Ken Robinson‘s constant jet-lag as he’s touring the world in an attempt to transform the education systems is to attest to this
Macedonia is a small country and at that time was still full of “youthful” aspirations for joining the economically far better off Western European cousins after the departure from Yugoslavia and the transition from socialism to democracy. The economic crisis in this period was not showing any signs of reaching its peak yet and this was fueling a great desire to find a quick way to steer the country on a steady path to economic growth.