TEDxErie Coming Soon

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015 at 9:00 AM
TEDxErie Coming Soon by Jim Wertz

It’s intellectual. It’s cool. It’s TED, and TED is coming to Erie.

For the uninitiated, TED – technology, entertainment, and design – is an international series of conferences that cover a broad spectrum of issues in short, engaging presentations from some of the most creative minds in business, the arts, and education.

TED also issues independent licenses to individuals wanting to host local conferences called TEDx events. These events are themed and highly orchestrated to match the TED brand. Because TED is inherently invested in its brand management, obtaining a TEDx license is no easy task.

Just ask Erie attorney Jonathan D’Silva. He’s a partner and intellectual property lawyer at MacDonald Illig Attorneys. He’s also the license holder for TEDxErie.

“The application process wasn’t easy. It’s all simple one-line questions, but they’re open ended so it really makes you think. You could write an essay for each question,” D’Silva says. “The difficulty of the application is by design. If you took the time to do the application, it shows some level of commitment to the process.”

The TED process includes several hundred page manuals for event organizers and specific instructions for invited speakers.

“TED recommends that the speakers prepare for six months in advance of the event. Nobody speaks from notes and everything is very carefully planned,” explains D’Silva.

The TEDxErie license is valid for one year. D’Silva plans to have an organizing committee in place and to begin the search for speakers in the near future. The community of TEDx organizers also reached out to him within days of receiving the license to offer support and suggestions for hosting a TEDx event.

Like all TED Talks, D’Silva hopes TEDxErie builds a program that includes an eclectic and compelling group of speakers. His proposed theme is “The Rising Tide,” purposefully vague and open to interpretation.

“Erie is the kind of place that doesn’t recognize what it has and there is this growing recognition from people, both from Erie and those who came to Erie from somewhere else, who make Erie their home, that there is more to it than meets the eye and I think this one way to celebrate that,” D’Silva says.

Jim Wertz can be reached at jWertz@ErieReader.com, and you can follow him on Twitter @jim_wertz.

Erie Reader: Vol. 7, No. 11
Now Available — Pick It Up Today


Your guide to the 2017 festival scene

Analysis, commentary on Erie’s latest elections

Frank advice from a former mayor to a future one


Erie team ends its championship drought


Scenic speed bumps and ski mask surprise