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Christine Baker

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Can TED offer scholarships or greatly reduced fees to the TED conference?

The conference fees are really high and I'm concerned that it prohibits young people (in their late teens and 20s) from getting involved. I can understand that charging high fees helps raise funds and also helps attract people who have the financial capacity and power to fund important initiatives, however it's equally as important to invite younger people into the mix - they are the next generation and also can be the "boots on the street" for executing on big ideas.

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    Mar 16 2011: Perhaps there's a difference in the communication style, Christine. I thought the commenter was making a genuine effort to offer you real-world suggestions to help you achieve your desired results. The commenter took pains to be self-effacing, I thought. These comments did not seem to come from a place of arrogance or superiority, rather, they seemed to come from someone who identified completely with your situation and took action to create a solution.
    In the orientation for TED Hosts (I've served in this capacity several times), each year somewhere around 50% of TED Long Beach attendees are first-timers!
    Many people have gotten to TED by raising funds to pay for their conference fees, hotel, and transportation. I know two people personally who have done this, and there are plenty of others! Perhaps you could suggest to the young people you know who really desire a TED experience that they can creatively raise the money themselves.
    As a founding funder of the TED Fellows, I assure you that your concern is PRECISELY what led to the creation of the program. When Tom Rielly explained his idea, it was based on the desire to bring young achievers to TED who couldn't otherwise afford to come.
    Prices for Long Beach went up from $6000 to $7500 for 2012, and the people who pay that are helping to underwrite a HUGE enterprise. Many longtime TEDsters are finding it too expensive. So you're not alone in being concerned about the price. Thanks for caring enough to jump in and start this conversation!
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    Mar 7 2011: So who would you give the free tickets to? There are millions, billions, of people that would benefit by going to TED. How would you choose them? The only truly fair way would be a lottery.

    Then we should ask why. If you see TED, as I always have done, as a place to hear speeches, then watching the videos is as effective as attending. But the real purpose of TED is to build a community. It's a networking event. So I have to ask why would anyone want to meet me? What do I have to contribute, that makes it so important for people to meet me?

    Perhaps if I had done something worth telling the world about, I would be invited to stand on the stage and tell everyone. And they would invite me to the conference for free. But i'm just some random guy with not much to offer, and I'm no more deserving than anyone else. How many people like me do you invite before the regular TEDsters start to feel unhappy. After all, these people are paying a lot of money to meet cool and interesting people.

    The TEDx program provides a low-cost alternative that doesn't require anyone to travel to Long Beach. Many TEDx speeches have been featured on TED.com, so that indicates that quality is as good. Plus, you get to meet the cool and interesting people who live in the same area. This can only be good.

    And if there's no TEDx event in your area, do what I did: organise your own. The spirit of TED is based on the philosophy that if you're not happy about something then you do something about it. It's not enough to complain that someone else isn't doing anything for you, you have to step up and follow the Dalai Lama's advice: be the change you wish to see in the world. As a TEDx organiser, you can be the person giving away free tickets.
  • Mar 7 2011: Wow, no need to get so hostile and attacking in your comments! I am not seeking a free ticket for myself. My comments came from my experience in working for a nonprofit org. We have seen so much value in bringing members of communities across our state together. I've noticed that when we can offer free events to get more people involved it's just helps us accomplish our mission quicker and easier so was suggesting this only because I have seen how effective it has been in my local state. I'm surprised as an event organizer you would attack someone who's learning more about TED... seems like a good way to chase some good-meaning people away.
    • Mar 6 2011: Yeah, but only 40 people are allowed "fellow" benefits. Seems like that's way too limited - what about expanding it to 100 people? Or more?