Highlights of TEDxManchester 2012

Highlights of TEDxManchester 2012

I went to the second TEDxManchester yesterday – the first time I’d been to a live TEDx event, although I’ve been a big consumer of the videos on the TED website for ages.


I took a key thought away from each short presentation. For me, these were the highlights…

Mary Anne Hobbs (@maryannehobbs) spoke first, talking about how her passion for music had overcome being brought up in a backwater, enabling her to have a successful media career with Radio 1 and Xfm. Her closing exhortation was “Charge at your dreams, and don’t look back“. Passion can carry us a long way.

Tom Bloxham (@TomBloxhamMBE) talked about his path from selling fire extinguishers door-to-door to guiding Urban Splash in multiple regeneration projects. There were lots of mistakes along the way, but that was OK. As he pointed out, you need to make plenty of mistakes, or you’ll make nothing at all.

Ian Forrester (@cubicgarden) told what could have remained a private story – his near-death experience recovering from a bleed on his brain that left him in a hospital bed with a seven day memory gap. You could tell that many people in the audience were touched by the details of his journey back to health. In telling his personal story he showed that when you give something of yourself, you always get more back in return.

Brendan Dawes (@brendandawes) closed the afternoon. He had become intrigued by Lissajous spirals, patterns that result from mathematical equations. By changing a parameter in the equation, the pattern changes. He showed a series of patterns generated by changing a parameter by just one digit. Most of them looked somewhat similar, but once in a while, there was a pattern that was different, and more beautiful than the others. His point was that you need to iterate – constantly try to improve, constantly experiment on a theme. There’s no point in giving up when your first attempts at executing an idea don’t work out. Try again. Just past the end of the series of patterns he showed, where he’d stopped producing them, there just might be the most beautiful spiral pattern of them all. Who knows? We need to keep pushing – whether it’s art, business, or anything else we try to do.

If you were there, what were the highlights for you? Let me know in the comments.

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