Xavier Belvemont


This conversation is closed.

'TEDfriend/colleague finder' - Your opinion required.

As a long standing member/follower of the TED world, I've seen dozens of great ideas put forth each month, both by its speakers and the users of this forum.
However, this raises an issue..
Many of the ideas never see the light of day or eventually fail to take off, not because of any impassible reason, rather due to several slight issues that I will explain further on..

Another issue is that many of us appear to be isolated from fellow TED-like equals; Alot of us unable to find friends, colleagues, partnerships and groups of people who share our ideals and ambitions within our local regions, Leaving most of us restricted to this site (for example) where our connections are usually limited to brief conversations with like-minded individuals..but located impractical distances away; Not an ideal situation for those who require others to put their 'ideas worth spreading' into action.

For this I came up with a potential solution.
A dating-style website, but focused on finding like minded individuals within your local region, whether it be for :
Making friends who share your ideals
Forming think-groups
Entrepreneur groups to help form and progress a business venture
Support groups
Political groups
etc etc.

As stated earlier, a key issue as to why many great ideas never get off the ground is due to the lack of help and/or
Available support
People with similar goals, enthusiasm
or Partnerships
that are required to get things moving, therefore having like minded people who can provide such help and interest will significantly improve the chance of success in the areas that matter AND will also allow the help to extend in both directions.

This would certainly require some TED promotions to provide enough 'friend seekers' to make it viable, but I would be more than willing to setup an appropriate site or allow others to do so that would fulfill this requirement.
Afterall, how valuble is an idea that can't be put into practice?..


Closing Statement from Xavier Belvemont

Now that we've received enough of a response (almost all constructive and positive), we will soon present our idea to TED officially and see if we can make this idea worth spreading, become a reality.
Thankyou to everyone for your comments and interest.

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    Feb 3 2012: to Xavier,
    This is a great question.

    and..to all: my apologies because I just started a conversation with the same idea in mind, only it (could) start with an extra search feature in TED conversations, that is a country-related search (here: http://www.ted.com/conversations/9139/could_ted_conversations_be_imp.html)

    Why, because should a TED member want to act, starting with TED members who live nearby would be a pragmatic and efficient start to get things moving.

    In a nutshell, mix TED's global visions and ideas with local members.

    A "glocal" feature. With that, should Xavier live in Brussels or I in Northern England, we would certainly be having a pint at the pub right now and discuss concrete actions... :))
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    Jan 25 2012: We are thinking how to connect and meet people with similar ideas at our TEDx event and by other means. I think a brilliant idea!
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    Jan 25 2012: I agree with this in theory... I only worry, that if it became a popular social tool, people who didn't even watch ted talks, would start signing up for the social component, along with advertising bots... I think we could make it work though. Maybe you could fix this with a cookie that tracks viewing, and sends you an invite to the community, when you reach 2 hours of viewing, for example. Invite only is the exclusive and cool way to pilot a program like this anyway.

    In general though... Great idea, which I firmly second.
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      Jan 25 2012: Yes, I considered such issues and I think certain basic filtering actions will take care of most of it
      (Captcha words to block bots, moderator approval for first adverts and as you said --cookies and basic automated trackers and exclusive invites).

      Ofcourse that being said, I think its possible to continue a high quality service whilst also extending the metaphorical olive branch to other groups that may not of otherwise heard of TED.
      For example, there are a number of free-thinker, progressive and business groups that could theoretically become valuble assets to the site(s) that may not be overly familiar with TED, and such a site may act as a giant advertisement for it.
      Anyway, we won't put the cart before the horse, we first need to see if the TED moderators of the site will consider the idea to be a worth-while venture.

      Thankyou for the great input.
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      Jan 25 2012: Restrict access to TED site members and Have a TED talk per week or month requirement to remain active on the social site.
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        Jan 26 2012: Its a nice idea that would certainly be a good filtering system, but unfortunately theres no way that could be implemented AND give us a busy site (a requirement) that helps people all around the world find like-minded people and start up small scale projects.

        As with a dating site (the same prinicipal this website would be using) you need 100's-10,000's of users to be successful in finding the people you require. So we have to be alot more flexible to make that happen.
        Thankyou for the comment though.
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          Jan 26 2012: the ability to just move from a thread conversation to chat environment would even be useful
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      Jan 26 2012: Hi David,

      Don't you think the "massification" of TED is already happening? Just need to compare the comments on the talks from 1 or 2 years ago with the current ones…
      I don’t know if that’s a bad thing, from a cultural promotion perspective I think it’s good, for my personal taste it’s undesirable..

      On Xavier’s comment, love the idea.


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        Jan 26 2012: massification? well I think their a difference between a mass movement and a mob. Perhaps a tedcredit filter would be a means of keeping the more I don't want to say dumb or time wasting ideas,so the less consistent with TED concepts and less executable ideas from being in the proposed space? Also as I am new here can you tell me is there a way to drop a conversation from your conversation queue?
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          Jan 26 2012: Hi Russell, Welcome!

          I’m not clear on how the difference you quote works in these environment (mass/mob).
          Sadly I don't know of any means to filter, you just start to know the community and read some people more than others, maybe the ted creed is useful, but it's not a fixed solution.
          Sometimes I just stop reading some discussions, but that just me.


      • Feb 8 2012: If you have ever written to a TED presenter and received a reply, consider yourself lucky and part of an extremely small minority. By the time a presenter gets to present at TED they do not want to read your email. What they want is your donation or political support.

        For TED to be what people believe that it already is the concept has to be democratized. A kind of dating service is exactly what it needs. What is scary for TED is that the democratized version may overshadow the elitist version that now exists. The disruption could be marvelous.
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          Feb 8 2012: I disagree. There are plenty of TED speakers that would love to hear from the TED community via email. They may not have the time to answer everyone immediately, but they are quite interested in being engaged, especially around the site on their TED Talks.
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    Jan 25 2012: I'm not sure if it was you or someone else who brought this idea up one or two weeks ago, anyway as I said then - I would fully support the creation of such a site!

    Then again, why create a new site? TED.com and TEDC already provide a good basis to start from and build upon, their social components now need to be expanded.
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      Jan 25 2012: Hello Sabin.
      The immediate issue that could arise with having the venture directly on the site is that (as with this particular conversation area) may not be made visible enough for the number of people required.
      Also that the intriciate scripts that would/may have to be included for the database (plus the potential bandwidth) could theoretically reek havoc with the TED site.
      Ofcourse this is just first-glance theoretical issues, so if the idea takes off I will be happy to bring this up with who ever would be involved.
      Thankyou for the comment and the idea.
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        Jan 25 2012: The people at TED could easily allow a link between the two sites couldn't they?
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          Jan 26 2012: Yes I believe that is the best conclusion.
          Looking at the PHPscripts required, I don't believe this site could house it without causing a number of complications in this part of the site.
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    Jan 24 2012: I think this sounds like a great idea!
  • Feb 20 2012: Maybe you just need to encourage more TED members to check the box on their profile page to allow other users to contact them. It really is not that hard to find people with similar interests on the site if you just look around a little and read for questions and comments by users who obviously share a similar cause with you. Also, just adding a location or group feature to TED would help people meet up in the real world, as Jimmy Strobl suggested.
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    Feb 16 2012: I just have to see something, what if we added to existing ted site an option to group topics and send ivites to all posters undersimilar topics
  • Feb 13 2012: I would appreciate something like this. So many good ideas in this world never happen in real life because the idea holder never comes in contact with others with a similar cause.
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    Feb 10 2012: Any progress on this I would love to see it happen I just used facebook to open a group for me and other I knew who were interested in Electoral Reform in the USA and its working very well , but its missing that ability to hook up with others as you dating site modle would offer.
    • Feb 13 2012: Hey Russell,
      I am also interested in electoral reform. What is your facebook group called? I might check it out.
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        Feb 16 2012: friend me on facebook most of my groups theire are secret or invite only groups
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    Jan 26 2012: Hi Xavier!

    Awesome idea here. Sign me up. How can I help? I function best working with others on a "vision" or even a most small local project. Makes it fun and I get energized from the interaction. And will imseemyou in Edinburgh oe later on when I visit London ? ( I like how you compare this with a "dating site" which I've done for some years but here we will hopefully find lots of other 'soulmates' with whom to collaborate ( or have fun with!).
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      Jan 26 2012: Hello Lee.
      Well we're not entirely sure how things will go as yet, as TED would have to play a large role in the advertising (and possibly being a sister site of TED) in order to work. So if TED agrees then decisions will be made from there on who will help and how etc etc.

      'And will imseemyou in Edinburgh oe later on when I visit London ?'
      Unfortunately I couldn't possibly be further from both of those locations and with the selling of my car --there isn't really a practical way to make this a localized project for both of us outside of moderating the theoretical website online....Kind of validates my point on the necessity of my idea, unfortunately.
  • Jan 25 2012: I'm so glad that you've come up with this great idea!
    I've also thought similar idea as you did.
    Now that you've persuaded some people here, the next thing we should carry on is making some websites or meetings for ordinary people who are willing to do so--if it's possible to gather the meetings.

    I've been depressed since there's no one I can talk about the amazing ideas that I've learned in TED site in person.
    And some of my friends even don't know what TED site is!
    Even though few of them said they'd heard about this community before, but they don't seem like to join this site and add some comments here--maybe it's because they cannot use English unfortunately.....

    Anyway, it's good to hear that there are some people who have same thoughts and hopes like Xavier.

    Btw, Xavier, may I ask you a question?
    I think I saw your two identical IDs in this TED site, do you really have two IDs?
    Just out of curiosity :)
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      Jan 25 2012: Amazingly ever since finding this site I have been pulled out of my depression but I did / do have the experience of an idea of mine (one I didn't think much of) inspireing feed back and action. But I can't say what it would mean to have the ability to pursue more closly ideas making them actual projects instead of concepts would be fantastic.
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    Jan 24 2012: .
    *NOTE for readers*

    For the idea to progress (If TED users find this idea to be valid), we would need additional feedback that could be presented to TED.
    Silent agreement/recognition unfortunately isn't enough; So even if you have nothing particular to say (but approve the idea), please comment anyway.

    As stated in the article, its awfully hard to get ideas off the ground without the required support. Thankyou.
    • Feb 15 2012: I support the idea too. TED is the platform for 'ideas worth spreading', but some of these ideas might need additional implementation, besides the TED wishes which have a (relatively) larger action potential. Of course, it is one thing to say "I'd like to help" but a complete other to invest your valuable time in the idea. Nevertheless, such a platform should be developed to get more potential in putting forth brilliant ideas to practice.
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    Jan 24 2012: Hear Hear! I'd be thrilled to be apart of such a site, I also would suggest a sort of swap meet section, most of us have some sort of access to something because of our work or environment that might prove useful but expensive for others,, I am thinking about a Perk net where you would post things like 15 % employee discount at Walmart, or scrap metal , or whatever the person might have available. A sort of all barter craigslist for home projects
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      Jan 24 2012: I like this idea and if the website goes ahead I will be sure to add something along these lines.
      I was already considering a section where businesses can offer their services/products to other website members for a discounted price (essentially forming business links and increasing sales/savings for all), this would make a fine addition to that.
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    jag .

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    Feb 22 2012: Good idea, its a problem that I've experienced also. The TED community part of the website, could be improved to make it easier to find and meet people, one solution is the one you've put forward.
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    Feb 18 2012: There are already good sites for this, if you're going to start a new one you'd be putting in A LOT of work, not only building it but also getting users there, without members it's useless.

    The idea is good but don't reinvent the wheel, use existing tools.
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      Feb 18 2012: 'There are already good sites for this,'
      Actually no there aren't. Hence the lack of achievements in this particular field.
      The social networks that are available are not (in my opinion, as shared by many others here too) don't have the required database, functions and flexibility needed to create a true mechanism for finding like minded people pursuing the same interests within local areas.

      ' you'd be putting in A LOT of work, not only building it but also getting users there, without members it's useless.'
      Well you may aswell have said that to the creators of facebook, twitter, youtube and TED itself etc etc
      I.E/ Its alot of work, some are already out there already that do this, so don't bother starting such sites.
      Everyone begins somewhere and to think that you would be 'reinventing the wheel' and that its not worth the work just because some other source happens to have a vaguely similar function (that isn't actually ideal for this particular intention), then you're just providing a defeatist attitude that more or less concludes 'You have to be rich to get rich, so just stay poor and don't waste your time trying'..
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        Feb 18 2012: I'm sorry if I offended you Xavier.

        Your conclusions of what I mean is not the way I meant for it to be interpreted, and is not what I'm saying.

        Let me try to rephrase.

        As a not too long standing member of TED (1.5 years coming up soon) I also get somewhat irritated when great ideas don't lead to the things that they had the capabilities of doing.

        Finding like minded people in my vicinity is hard as well, right now I'm doing the tiresome but needed work of "creating" them, Inspiring the people around me to action and ideas works really well actually. But that's not the problem, is it?

        Hmm... a thought just came to me... Aren't you just looking for TED but with location and group feature?
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    Feb 16 2012: Love this idea. Was already toying with the idea of creating a Meetup.com local group, but a TED integrated site would be ideal for both local and national networking.
  • Feb 15 2012: its great to hear this idea phrased this way Xavier, but even greater to read your replies and the way you are thinking about it. i've been thinking in this direction for several weeks now, but i'm more interested in the mechanism of idea sharing and interaction.

    i thought i could form a network of like minded people by a direct referral chain.
    i'm discussing a thinking workshop with a couple of friends of mine, asking each of them to think of two interesting like minded friends to invite.

    the way you are thinking is obviously way more capacious. i can imagine the profile i'd design for myself, the thinking groups i might join and the and the criteria i'd search for in people. i'm thinking of how would the "advanced search" form look like.

    a great idea is in labor i see, i cant wait.
  • Feb 9 2012: If you read some of the other comments above you will hear a very different experience.
  • Feb 9 2012: If this group or facility is going to be for practitioners or scientists, people who contribute regularly to TED, my request would be to give quota to each of the member for inviting people (perhaps out of comments that they have made) to become observing if not participating members. That would possibly keep the doors open for a person like me.
  • Feb 8 2012: This idea is actually more important than TED. If it can't get traction within TED, perhaps it should happen outside of TED with a new name and infrastructure. In other words, you don't need TED's blessing or cooperation to do this.
  • Feb 8 2012: This is a brilliant idea. I suggested a similar idea to TED more than a year ago and nothing came of it. I hope that you have better luck. When it is set up I will participate.

    Corporations have used expertise databases to connect people with needed expertise for decades. The dating service seems like an even better idea to me.
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    Feb 7 2012: The biggest drawback to change, and new ideas taking hold, is that we are not the ones in a position to implement great change. Problems are systemic, deeply rooted in the institutions that need changing Change can take generations. TED is a huge improvement over the past, where ideas did not have the change to become viral. We need to be satisfied simply planting the seeds of change.

    Also, TED profiles have a feature that allows users to email each other. This is an under used feature of the community. Instead people seem to prefer to continue conversation within the comments areas.
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      Feb 7 2012: 'Also, TED profiles have a feature that allows users to email each other. This is an under used feature of the community. Instead people seem to prefer to continue conversation within the comments areas.'

      Well as stated in other comments below, thats a system that still doesn't allow for any real organization (beyond what already exists) because it once again relies on happenstance that you will come across someone who wishes to act out on the same goals as yourself (but usually having to coax them into forming a team), rather than a site devoted to people publicizing it.
      There are always available lesser used alternatives, but just like a dating site, you're far more likely to come across someone who wants a date on a dating site than at a museum.
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        Feb 7 2012: I am part of several sites where people exchange information, however getting people to work together on a common goal is extremely difficult if not impossible. Getting TEDx events together are difficult, but they not very controversial and threatening to the status quo.
        Perhaps you might give a few examples of goals people would wish to act on as a team.
        Take education, there are many talks here that demonstrate ways education might be improved. Certainly, we all know of people in our own community that want to improve education. Yet there is a lack of coordination in developing any plans that what accomplish anything significant.
        Your "dating site" would improve this how?
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          Feb 7 2012: Well for example (several of which have already been successfully tested in small formats and worked).
          A person would would create an advert (fitting into one of several categories) and make it clear about what they are looking for and what they would hope to achieve.
          The latest successful examples include:

          1) I am interested in developing a new energy saving technology and would like minded and/or skilled individuals to help me construct a prototype in return for a share of the recognition/profits.
          2) I am not entirely sure what I am hopeing to do, but I would like to form a brainstorming group of similar individuals who wish to improve the world to sort something out
          3) I would like to find someone in a business venture (details of business as follows)

          I'm paraphrasing our existing examples ofcourse, but having a directory where people can advertise their goals and actively seek help/friends/groups works.

          As you said yourself - we all know people in our community..
          but just like we also know that people in our community are single (dating site analogy again), it simply takes a third party (such as a dating site) to get such people together.

          Further down we even have someone organizing a TEDX event and wants to connect people for this same purpose, and agrees with this idea.
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        Feb 8 2012: Well I have been using Face book to pull together groups of my friends who were interested in working on this or that project. What a bout a Social Network style of TED friend finder where you could like a topic then inside the topic like a concept, and then join a group of people actively working on the project?
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    Feb 1 2012: Please think "open source." There are plenty of people who have great ideas and talent but not so much education, maybe limited vocabulary. Please don't make your enterprise just another gate keeping activity to keep the "riffraff" out. Be part of the solution not part of the problem. We can work together, all of us, even the frustrated and broke, the uneducated and desperately poor, please be inclusive, please.
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    Feb 1 2012: Xavier, I don't believe it's necessary to form such communities according to any physical map. In fact, the advantages of virtual communities over physical ones prevail in the realm of ideas, imo.

    The question is "How do we design this community so that good ideas are supported?" One answer is a marketplace for ideas. Here is one way that this might work:

    To begin, every member must pay at least $5 to join the Idea Marketplace, and each receives one Cred per dollar, which they can spend within the marketplace. These Creds are subject to severe demurrage: they lose 10% value per month if not spent; but any Cred spent starts with value refreshed. This encourages a minimum of monthly participation because of loss aversion, and it eliminates hoarding. The money forfeited through demurrage goes to a Community Chest.

    The community also establishes a Cred/money exchange, where members can cash-in, but only for pursuing approved idea-development plans - they cannot cash-out.

    To have an idea approved, other members of the community must vote for it. In practice, a member shares their idea with friends in the community (limit one idea per month) and their friends can give Cred support and/or pass it on to their friends, etc. This practice would provide seed funding and weed-out unpopular or undeveloped ideas.

    Every week, the ideas garnering the top number of Creds are shared community-wide, where all members can award additional Creds. Members also vote for their favorite idea. The top vote recipient gets that week's entire Community Chest and is eligible to cash-in to proceed with their plan. I think it's worth noting that this popular-vote arrangement does not permit anyone to buy a win. The remaining ideas retain their Creds on account (subject to demurrrage), and their creators are able to improve plans (utilizing input received in the process) then resubmit to their friends the following month.

    Ning communities have all the tools necessary to host this
    • Feb 8 2012: I believe that a physical map is a great place to start. No amount of technology has replaced the human to human interaction. Project Meet-Up has shown the human to human interaction works.
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    Jan 28 2012: I still think TED needs an informal area where the off-topic chatter goes (the stuff the mods delete, but actually helps people connect with each other or just follow up with people). I'm game if that's included.

    I don't necessarily require research or development partners. Is there a TED group on LinkedIn? (I can't believe it never occurred to me to look until now.)
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      Feb 2 2012: Hi Gisela, there's plenty of opportunity for on- and off-topic talk on these idea/question/debate pages.

      My experience is that great ideas need to find the right venue. Usually that venue is the people associated with those whom would immediately benefit. When you find yourself restricted by the expectations of others, then you might only be haunting the wrong crowd.
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        Feb 3 2012: It depends. There are patches where the moderation is relaxed, and then suddenly there will be a blitz where posts will suddenly vanish en masse.

        Even when the participants are fine with the discussion.
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          Feb 3 2012: I guess I prefer moderation that is intolerant of rudeness, regardless of majority opinion, otherwise the board is eventually lost to trolls. What I'm talking about is off-topic posts having this venue. Have you seen trouble there?
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      Feb 3 2012: To Kevin's last comment, that's exactly why these comments get removed. This is now 5 comments deep (including mine) of an off-topic discussion. Personally, I find the long jumps between one on topic thread and the next to be distracting when tons of off-topic comments run in between them.

      But to Gisela's point, I do see why an off-topic balance should be supported.

      And yes there is a TED LinkedIn group http://www.linkedin.com/groups/TED-Ideas-Worth-Spreading-138801
  • Jan 28 2012: the problem with ted.com is that it only shows the ideas and allow the people to debate and have a conversation.
    The good thing about ted is that it becomes the starting point of it all,great ideas.lets say meeting place,the oven where it all starts.

    I think ted should create a system that will automatically connect the people,discussions and topics related to each other.
  • Jan 28 2012: add me on Facebook.lets start an NGO.
    I got friends that could help

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      Jan 30 2012: Hi there.
      I will be contacting TED in a few days (just forming a number of PHP scripts to provide example ideas)
      If they say yes I will take things from there (depending on what they say).
      Take care.
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    Jan 25 2012: Hmm,

    Well, there are the local TEDx events going on worldwide, where you can find like-minded people in real life.
    Starting a TEDx yourself is also a way to attract those people yourself.

    Connecting with people is a good thing, and spreading and sharing ideas as well...

    Aside from that, there are many TED-like organisations, and I bet there are some in your environment (if not in Doncaster, I'm sure there are in Leeds). Maybe they do something like what you are looking for already?
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      Jan 25 2012: Its not enough by a great length and/or perhaps unnecessarily impractical when you can provide an easy to use global 24/7 data-base specifically focused on pairing/grouping people together within the local area, as opposed to travelling large distances or setting up scaled events in the hopes of striking up a personal conversation with someone who may just so happen to have the same ambitions, be at the event at the same time as you and live within a practical distance.
      Very much the case that if you were to promote yourself/selves in the correct manor for this goal at such events, you'd simply find yourself saying 'if only there was a database to make this easier and more publicly known..'.
      It seems more like postponing the inevitable/ most efficient option.

      Not that you can't do both, simply that you'd be expending copious amounts of energy in the pursuit of happenstance when theres another option on the table that could be more widespread, help more people and let others realize that finding such people is infact a practical option (that may not have been considered beforehand).
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        Jan 25 2012: Maybe you can mail TED and offer them you do this for them?
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          Jan 25 2012: I will do soon enough, I'm just waiting for some more feedback from TED users to help strengthen the case and I would also need to work out the website and systems beforehand.
          Hopefully I will contact them in the following week when I can build a few examples to demonstrate how it would work.
          Also, thankyou for the comments and response.
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      Jan 25 2012: Ted ex enevts are awesome and I want to go to one let alone host one, but so much could be actually pursued by electronically connected coworkers (see topic TEDBEDS) for example and all that is needed is a more fluid communication system. Obviously it would be better for a site like this to be a part of TED web site structure after all you are entitled to demand quality control over format and content if your name is involved. I urge you to remain true to the concept of your mission and encourage this collaberation.
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      Feb 1 2012: I was so lucky last year when my daughter offered to pay for tickets to our local TEDX event and we went together. I could not have been more disappointed. Everyone seemed to have their clique formed. There were no discussion groups facilitated. The only real conversation we had was at lunch. I tried to approach people to talk about the ideas in the presentations but could not even get most to make eye contact. I did get to talk to a couple of the speakers but they only wanted to talk not converse. The ideas presented were fantastic but the even could have been managed better.
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        Feb 2 2012: Thanks Joy. I'm sorry that your experience at TED was unsatisfying. But I am glad to see that there are some other people online willing to discuss ideas, and I'm looking forward to hearing from you here!