TED Community » June Cohen

About Me

As Executive Producer of TED Media, I'm focused on extending TED in new directions — particularly those that help spread ideas. I launched TEDTalks in 2006, TED.com in 2007, and the Open Translation Project in 2009. I also co-produce and co-host the annual conference in Long Beach, manage our talented media team, and continue to look for new ways to spread ideas.

As of 2015, TEDTalks have been watched more than 2 billion times worldwide, and will be watched more than 1 billion times this year alone. TED's Open Translation Project, which allows volunteers worldwide to translate TEDTalks into their own languages, has been buoyed up by 20,000+ translators, who have produced 80,000+ translations in 100+ languages. I'm continually amazed by their dedication.

My career has been focused on the intersection of media and technology. In the 90s, while a student, I led the Stanford team that developed the world’s first networked multimedia magazine. It was built in HyperCard, using just-released QuickTime, and distributed over the campus network. It got a fair bit of attention in the press.

After that, I was lucky enough to join the team launching HotWired.com, the pioneering website from Wired Magazine. HotWired was one of the earliest web companies, and we introduced many of the conventions now commonplace on the web (from ad banners to discussion threads around news stories to the concept of "membership"). I wrote "Net Surf," one of the web’s proto-blogs, and I also founded Webmonkey.com, the much-loved developers’ site, which is still used by millions. I ultimately helped lead HotWired to profitability as VP of Content, overseeing all creative development on sites, from Animation Express to the HotBot search engine. The people I worked with and projects I worked on there have influenced everything in my life since then.

After leaving Wired, I wrote "The Unusually Useful Web Book," which collected just about everything I'd learned about how to make a successful website.

Eventually, I'll make time to write my second book, exploring trends in media, technology and culture. The main idea: That modern technologies are actually returning us to very ancient forms of media, communication and community. And that we're all the better for it.

Aside from the direct professional bio, I'm also passionate about the visual and performing arts. I spent a good chunk of my younger life on stage. There have been several periods when I've seen literally every show on Broadway. I'm also a tremendous science geek, a voracious reader, a passionate traveler, an on-again, off-again photographer and a devoted life-long learner.

Final CV details: I have a BA in political science from Stanford (minors in Human Biology, Anthropology, African studies). And I was Editor in Chief of The Stanford Daily -- another formative experience that has influenced everything I've done since.

I am:
Agnostic, Brainstormer, Change Agent, Connector, Environmentalist, Global soul, Idea generator, Producer, Web guru, Writer/Editor
My website links:
Twitter feed (@junecohen), EDGE essay 2010
Stanford University
TED conferences attended:
TEDWomen 2015, TED2015, TEDGlobal 2014, TED2014, TEDWomen 2013, TEDGlobal 2013, TED2013, TEDGlobal 2012, TED2012, TEDGlobal 2011, TED2011, TEDWomen 2010, TEDGlobal 2010, TED2010, TEDIndia 2009, TEDGlobal 2009, TED2009, TED2008, TEDGlobal 2007, TED2007, TED2006, TEDGlobal 2005, TED2005, TED2004

TEDCRED 500+ TED StaffTED Attendee

More About Me

I'm passionate about

Media, technology, culture and their impact on each other. Creativity and collaboration. Responsible stewardship of the planet. Travel. Theater. Books. Inspired design marrying form and function.

Talk to me about

Your media habits. Your latest theory. Things you find beautiful. What you've learned. Your next project. My next book. Theater. Coffee. TED.com

People don't know that I'm good at

Cooking ambitious meals. Belting Broadway tunes (consider yourself warned). Waterskiing. Also, I know a surprising amount about the role indigenous media played in Africa's independence movements.

My TED Story

I had followed TED from afar since 1990, and first attended in 1998, while I was at HotWired. I've missed only one year since.

So 2011 marks my 19th TED, my 13th year attending and my 6th year on staff. TED has always mapped really oddly and beautifully on to my own set of interests, which focus at the center of technology, entertainment and design (specifically the emergence of new, technology-driven media forms), but branch off wildly into biology, art, global development, world cultures, design, architecture, urban studies, storytelling, and the performing arts. That ONLY seems coherent in the context of TED.


  • TEDCred score: +604.40 TEDCred reflects your contribution to the TED community.

  • +1

    A reply on Conversation: Discuss the note to the TED community on the withdrawal of the TEDxWestHollywood license.

    Apr 3 2013: June Cohen here, from TED. I posted on this previously within the comments, but wanted to re-emphasize here what we've also communicated to Larry Dossey personally: The withdrawal of the TEDxWestHollywood license was based on the overall curatorial direction of the program, not on the individual speakers.

    We've posted about this on the TED Blog here: http://blog.ted.com/2013/04/01/a-note-to-the-ted-community-on-the-withdrawal-of-the-tedxwesthollywood-license/.
  • +2

    A reply on Conversation: Discuss the note to the TED community on the withdrawal of the TEDxWestHollywood license.

    Apr 2 2013: Hi there. June Cohen here from TED. Dropping a note about Larry Dossey's comment, which is quoted above. The conversation with Larry's comment closed before we could respond to it directly (It was a 2-week conversation and it happened to close this afternoon).

    We've reached out to Larry directly to let him know that the TEDxWestHollywood license was withdrawn because of the overall curatorial direction, NOT any individual speaker. We've written about it here: http://blog.ted.com/2013/04/01/a-note-to-the-ted-community-on-the-withdrawal-of-the-tedxwesthollywood-license/. We understand that Larry is still planning to give the talk and we wish him well with it.
  • +6

    A reply on Talk: Jacqueline Novogratz: Inspiring a life of immersion

    Feb 16 2011: Actually, quite the opposite is true. Jacqueline was a TED speaker long before she and Chris married. She gave her first TED talk in 2003, two years after founding her game-changing organization, Acumen Fund. Acumen's a pioneer in marked-based philanthropy and has been hugely influential in redefining how we think about both development, and the economic opportunities at the so-called 'bottom of the pyramid'. She's given several TED talks since then, and personally, I thought this one of her best...
  • A reply on Conversation: What's the best hidden gem in the TED archive?

    Feb 15 2011: Oh funny! Yes, that's an idea worth spreading, Phil :-)
  • +1

    A reply on Conversation: A conversation with GE: What are the best ideas for alternative energy management at home?

    Feb 14 2011: Mark, you are what we refer to online as a "Super User" :-) And yes, agree that providing this level of detail for those who want it can be hugely gratifying and motivating. The key, I think, is striking that balance ...
  • +1

    A comment on Conversation: What's the overlooked gem, the book I haven't read that I must?

    Feb 14 2011: OK Seth, here are four beloved volumes from my shelves...

    "Leadership is an Art" by Max DePree.
    By far the best book on leadership I've ever read. Written by the former CEO of Herman Miller (the iconic furniture company that launched Charles Eames), it's an eloquent, soulful, unpretentious book about service leadership; about the creativity and morality and grace that a true leader can bring to their company and its employees. It explains in the most useful and truthful way the things we all need to thrive in a work environment. You can read the whole thing in an hour, but I find myself coming back to it over and over through the years.

    "Principles of Uncertainty" By Maira Kalman
    Is it poetry or prose? Humor or philosophy? Graphic novel, travel journal or memoir? This book is impossible to categorize, and that's it's great appeal. Like Maira herself, this book is whimsical, but also deeply wise. In her TED Talk, Maira said "I'm trying to understand two things: How to live and how to die." And her reflections her on life, death and everything in between are, in my opinion, nothing short of profound.

    "The Atlas of Experience" By Louise Van Swaiij
    Maps have such a hold on the human imagination, and this beautiful book explores the outer reaches of both, mapping in physical terms our common human experiences, from the Sea of Possibility to the Stormy Coast of Hypochondria to the tiny towns on the Isle of Forgetfulness called "Erm..." and "Hmm..." Charming.

    "City of Thieves" By David Benioff
    Pacy, edgy, heart-breaking, and as funny as the siege of Leningrad could possibly be. It's everything you might want in a book... Historical fiction. Buddy story. Coming of age novel. Screenplay in the making. But mostly, it's just a really, really good story
  • +2

    A comment on Conversation: What's your favorite single sentence from a TEDTalk?

    Feb 14 2011: Reading through the conversation on Hidden Gems, I was just reminded of another perfect sentence, and had to submit again:

    "I am a mathematician, and I want to stand on your roof." - Ron Eglash
  • A reply on Conversation: What's the best hidden gem in the TED archive?

    Feb 14 2011: Katherine, I loved this one too! It was another one of those perfect surprises! The kind you may never think to seek out (I mean, who would possibly think to seek out a talk about fractal patterns embedded in the architecture of traditional African villages??) But it's wonderfully accessible and fascinating! And it has one of the greatest sentences of all time: "I am a mathematician and I want to stand on your roof."
  • +2

    A reply on Conversation: What's the best hidden gem in the TED archive?

    Feb 14 2011: Oh, I really loved this talk. Eva was one of our youngest TED speakers ever (I believe she was 19), and her perspective on cancer was just stunning. The notion that cancer begins when stem cells move in to repair damaged tissue is a huge shift in the way we might think about both prevention and treatment. And a number of studies since then have begun to bear this theory out... Definitely worth watching! Both for the science, and for the exhilaration of seeing a brilliant, young mind at work!
  • +1

    A reply on Conversation: A conversation with GE: What are the best ideas for alternative energy management at home?

    Feb 14 2011: Rachel, I love this perspective because it brings user-centered design to the forefront. Those of us who design products for the web live and breathe user-centered design, because we have to. A product that elegantly meets its users' unspoken needs will succeed; you'll see it in your metrics. But if you lose sight of your users' intent, or mis-judge their needs, you will immediately and viscerally feel the impact. Your analytic reports can likely show you the exact moment when they abandon your site.

    Other industries -- like home energy efficiency -- don't always have the measurement tools to identify the exact moment when they start losing users. So this kind of feedback into the design process is critical.
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