TED Conversations

Kevin McGuire

President, UVTechnologies LLC

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Is Innovation at TED Dead?

TED's bi-line is "Ideas worth spreading". A recent idea that "If one man must have one woman then who remain to another women?" gets 8 comments in no time, I proposed an idea over a week ago that would potentially save more than a trillion dollars a year in medical costs and it received precisely Zero comments. What's up with that?

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Closing Statement from Kevin McGuire

Sometimes to get the fruit from a tree you need to shake its branches.

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    Oct 3 2011: Let's be honest. Whether your product works or not, the conversation you brought about was a non-starter. What did you expect people to say? What was there to say? There was no room for development. This was essentially a shameless plug. This is somewhat confirmed by the fact that you followed it with a critique of TEDsters instead of moving on to another idea. Maybe contributing to other conversations would have also made you a little more credible? If I were you, I would avoid attracting too much attention to yourself. TED Admin are pretty determined to eradicate disruptive behavior.
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      Oct 3 2011: My only expectation was that there were be SOME discussion. Based on the talks I've watched on TED, I thought I might get interesting and insightful comments from the community. I hoped perhaps someone out there had done work on photo-oxidation or has used hydrogen peroxide for similar purposes. To say there is no room for development is naive. I'm still developing products based on patents I was granted over fifteen years ago. If I could have posted a picture of the device I would not have provided a link to my website, but I weighed the options and since I had a limited number of characters to present my idea I felt that seeing the device and linking to more information was appropriate for those that wanted to learn more. Are you critical of everyone on TED that offer products related to their ideas? If so then what do you think of the Salman Khan talk? I happen to think he is has a great idea and a wonderful product. I have contributed to other conversations, and while I do not consider my behavior as disruptive I do consider my idea as disruptive in the tune of potentially saving people over a trillion dollars in lost wages, doctor bills, and medications every year. Isn't that a good thing and something worth discussing?
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        Oct 3 2011: Ok, I'll bite. :) Kevin, are you sharing an idea that has value, but received no response...or trying to sell something? My experience in Ted Conversations is people tend to respond to information that brings new knowledge, or is of interest to them in general. Solicitation or spamming is discouraged, however. On the other hand, one's passions are often transformed into the work they do, and become ideas worth sharing. If nobody responded to your comment, it may be an opportunity to find out why it didn't pique their curiosity...which may be what you're asking here. Is that right? Perhaps it would be worth revisiting how the question was posed, and if it was designed to engage others. :)
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    Oct 3 2011: As Matthieu says, your post sounds like you are trying to sell an object more than make a point.

    Besides that, you must understand that not all people know that much about killing germs with light. I don't really understand how it works, why not provide some more explanations in the post?

    And lastly, there are a lot of conversations posted daily, so unless your conversation is featured on the first page it is easy for a thread to "disappear" behind newer ones.
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      Oct 3 2011: Thank you for your thoughtful comment. My point is we can do more to prevent diseases. Trillions of dollars each year are spent on merely treating the symptons of diseases, my belief is more can be done to prevent diseases using modern technology using nature as our guide.
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        Oct 3 2011: very well. how much do you pay to TED for advertising your for-profit company? zero? hm. you get a very good quality-to-price ratio!
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          Oct 3 2011: The stated mission of TED is, "We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. So we're building here a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world's most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other."
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        Oct 3 2011: you can tell us the details about your donation to TED later.
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    Oct 2 2011: Maybe because it looks like you're trying to sell a product more than anything else. TED is probably not the right audience for that. If it makes you happy, most of the comments directed to "If one man must have one woman then who remain to another women?" are criticisms of a question on a false premise. It's easy to knock down a bad idea, so obviously bad ideas get lots of comments really quickly. I wouldn't envy that person.
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    Oct 2 2011: Make things simple. Don't try to complicate what's already clearly in the past. Learn from it and go ahead. Read the descriptions and headlines of good conversations. Sometimes it's just a matter of luck to find the right topic to discuss. Still don't be discouraged but post a new one. People like to talk about sex and it's really a universal topic so don't compare yours to it. What I try to do is keep it short and plain: no long heading, no long description, simple question and answer setting.
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    Oct 4 2011: Good Luck to you, Kevin. It would be interesting to see a discussion on the use of light in general...perhaps a conversation regarding it's possibilities, instead of being focused only on your specific technology. I think this post is a teaching moment for those who are excited and passionate about something, yet it 'feels' like marketing to others. The spreading of ideas requires engagement, and that's usually not a natural talent for entrepreneurs who are also inventors or engineers. It's a process. :)
  • Oct 4 2011: You sure do like to repeat the trillion dollar number.

    Seriously though, it's an interesting idea - although new and counter-intuitive - the product appears more in the vein of magnetic bracelets and other pseudoscience quackery. It may not be; but as an honest gut assessment, that's kinda what it looks like.

    The device itself looks like a standard LED keyring - in part because that's exactly what it is. Research a little about the market - how can you implement the product in a design or package that doesn't make people think it's BS.

    The biggest trick, if the product is legitimate is simply to change the way people think about sanitization - we're used to water, liquids, dispensers, paper towels. You've got a big job cut out for you if you want people to associate the idea of flashing a light on themselves and their various orifices as the new method of sanitation.

    Maybe begin on a commercial scale - scale the product up for use in public areas with high areas of contact. Lighting installed above public handrails. Or as a lighting attachment for keyboards - something that is able to kill the massive amounts of bacteria that crawls on office keyboards. As knowledge on the sanitization benefits of UV increase, you create a market space for smaller personal products.

    Again, if the product works, it's great that you've met the engineering challenge - but TED is more for the discussion of high minded rhetoric than it is for the discussion of the minutiae of the science of the innovations that support said rhetoric.
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      Oct 4 2011: Hi George:
      Thanks for the input. I understand TED's topics are more high minded and that's partially why I use the Trillion$ number to demonstrate the problem I am addressing is very big. Yes, if you look at each case of someone catching a cold, or flu, or dealing with a child's ear infection it does not make the front page of the papers, but collectively over a Trillion$ is spent on doctor's visits, medication, and hospitalization and lost worker productivity every year. Wouldn't it be great to put that savings towards a national health care plan? Maybe that's a topic for discussion? My background is physics and engineering and I believe you need to understand the basics and get into the minutiae before tackling the big problems. True, the design is somewhat generic to keep costs down, but more importantly, the wavelength (380nm) and intensity of the LED has been designed to safely produce hydrogen peroxide in places where germs invade the body. My technology is a two step process (irradiate skin to produce hydrogen peroxide that in turn kills germs) Your suggestion with sterilizing keyboards and handrails requires a wavelength of light shorter and more intense than mine to directly kill viruses, bacteria, and molds directly.
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    Oct 4 2011: Sex always sells.
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      Oct 4 2011: Nothing sexy about colds, flu, and ear infections but I'll work on that.
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        Oct 5 2011: Hot nurse or hot shots doctors for starters...
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    Oct 3 2011: I just read the original post. If it's not been edited, personally I do not experience it as spamming - even if it's somewhat self-promotional. It is the sharing of a new idea, and finding, according to Kevin.

    It may be the topic simply didn't strike anyone yet, or readers didn't easily connect it to how it applies to them. As Christopher mentioned, stating an idea without engaging others is less inclined to stimulate discussion. Clearly, if effective, it would be significant. Kevin, your lack of response may be an indicator for you to use as you continue your work and development...particularly in how you communicate the concept to others. Good luck with it! Personally, I hope to hear you have great success, and it helps many! Especially those little ones who scream in pain during winter months....
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      Oct 4 2011: Hi Linda:
      The original post has not been modified. Some people take the time to learn what I'm doing some just dismiss it out right. Thanks for taking the time and the input.
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        Oct 4 2011: Good Luck to you, Kevin. It would be interesting to see a discussion on the use of light in general...perhaps a conversation regarding it's possibilities, instead of being focused only on your specific technology. I think this post is a teaching moment for those who are excited and passionate about something, yet it 'feels' like marketing to others. The spreading of ideas requires engagement, and that's usually not a natural talent for entrepreneurs who are also inventors or engineers. It's a process. :)
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          Oct 5 2011: Hi Linda:
          Thanks again for your input. When I first posted on TED my expectation was to get comments on my idea and technology but when you put yourself out there, so to speak, you never know what feedback you are going to get. Yes, it is true I tend to be straight forward with my approach. If you ask me a yes or no question, I'll give you a yes or no answer. This may be true for other inventors/ engineers but I can only speak for myself. When developing a technology or making a device everything needs to work, everything needs to make sense or the the entire thing fails. Take away one wire, once circuit in your smartphone and it will send you to the store for a new one. Perhaps marketing is different, maybe people expect claims to be exaggerated? I don't know, maybe a topic for another discussion, but that's not me, that' s not the way I work. I feel there is too much deception and smoke and mirrors in the world we live in. Hearing the truth for me is like a breath of fresh air. Perhaps for others they are afraid to inhale. I understand that.
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    Oct 3 2011: Ok, I'll bite. :) Kevin, are you sharing an idea that has value, but received no response...or trying to sell something? I'd like to hear a little more to determine for myself. My experience in Ted Conversations is people tend to respond to information that brings new knowledge, or is of interest to them in general. Solicitation or spamming is discouraged, however. On the other hand, one's passions are often transformed into the work they do, and become ideas worth sharing. If nobody responded to your comment, it may be an opportunity to find out why it didn't pique their curiosity...which may be what you're asking here. Is that right?
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    Oct 3 2011: being a spammer, you have to be glad that not your entire account is deleted. i'm not that glad. i know at least two accounts that have been deleted, and both contributed a lot to these conversations. you should be ridiculed as well as deleted to oblivion. pity that the two pretty much contradict each other.
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      Oct 3 2011: My reason for posting was to share a new idea to a community with bright minds, when I received zero comments I felt compelled to ask why.
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          Oct 3 2011: Your profile states, "spends all his time on learning new things about human nature, life on Earth, human or other, latest advances in technology, the possible futures ahead us, and seeking for ways to improve the world." Based on this description I would think a person like you would be interested in my original post.
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        Oct 3 2011: your profile states "I have developed two important products". based on this description, you are a spammer.
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    Oct 3 2011: Please explain why my original post was deleted.
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    Oct 3 2011: The conversation you so envied has been deleted.
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    Oct 3 2011: My purpose for posting was to elicit feedback from a community of smart people on an idea that I have reduced to a tangible device. The concept and product are in their infancy and before going to the next level I wanted to hear from the TED Community. I was surprised when I received zero comments while other "ideas" received multiple comments.
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    Oct 3 2011: The previous conversation of his that he is referring to:

    http://www.ted.com/conversations/5811/prevent_colds_flu_and_ear_in.html
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    Oct 2 2011: I didn't read your post so I can't say for certain why you didn't get any comments.

    How did you word your post?
    You say "proposed an idea"
    If you just said the idea without asking a question or for feedback what did you expect? A shower of praise? Thumbs Ups? Pat on the back?

    Was your post difficult to comprehend, ask specific or general questions

    This is not a scholarly journal, maybe you need to tailor your expectations.

    Anyways I'm sure there is a lesson to be learned here....