x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Right Now

This event occurred on
February 19, 2011
10:00am - 6:00pm CST
(UTC -6hrs)
Austin, TX
United States

"We can choose to act right now. We can choose the quality of our action - doing right, now. And we choose to live in Austin --a place that's so right, especially now. Welcome to TEDxAustin 2011 Right Now."

This year's event (the second for Austin) was designed specifically to engage our community in the ideas, issues and conversations we need to be aware of right now. And to provide a platform to help folks get more involved in the topics that most grab their attention.

We also worked hard to bring this theme to life via a highly experiential XLab which surrounded the main event; it was curated to include 11 installations that shared an idea in a provocative, multi-sensory way, hands-on way.

Austin Music Hall
Austin, TX, 78701
United States
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Robyn O'Brien

Patriotic eater. Author. Lecturer. Robyn wants to tell us “The Unhealthy Truth: How Our Food Is Making Us Sick and What We Can Do About It." A former Wall Street food industry analyst, Robyn brings compassion, insight and detailed analysis to her research into the impact that the global food system is having on the health of our children. She founded and was named by Forbes as one of “20 Inspiring Women to Follow on Twitter”. The NY Times called her “Food’s Erin Brockovich”.

Sunny Vanderbeck

Managing Partner, Satori Capital. Enlightened Capitalist. As managing partner of Satori Capital, Sunny is passionate about investing in profitable, growing, sustainable busi- nesses willing to commit to the success of all stakeholders. He’s also determined to restore the honor of capitalism. A successful ipo with Data Return, the company he co-founded, achieved a market cap in excess of $3 billion. That made him one of the youngest ceos ever to lead a nasdaq company. Sunny was also an Army Ranger Section Leader, which helps explain where his honor and leadership skills were honed.Short bio of this speaker

Gilbert Tuhabonye

Runner. Survivor. Motivator. The Gilbert of Gilbert’s Gazelles. Whoever said you can’t run until you learn to walk, never met Gilbert. He ran barefoot to fetch water and raced friends through the countryside of Burundi, Africa. Gilbert was the 400 and 800 meter national champion as a junior in high school. Running was his life. And after being burned, tortured and a witness to mass genocide, running saved his life—literally. Now, runners from all over the world train with him. He also lectures on survival, and more importantly, forgive- ness. His motto is “run with joy.” And when you meet him, it’s obvious he lives with joy as well.

Sylvia Acevedo

CEO of CommuniCard. Not many ceos get labeled a rocket scientist. But Sylvia isn’t every ceo. With a Masters in Engineering from Stanford, the former executive at Dell, ibm and Apple started her career as a scientist at the jpl. Today, as ceo of CommuniCard, Sylvia is considered a thought leader for critical demographic shifts and a passionate evangelist for education. She started the nation’s largest Spanish Language educational event and sits on the board of directors for The Girl Scouts of America. And she was named U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Businesswoman of the Year, solidifying her as an innovator in today’s changing global marketplace.

Osama Bedier

Osama Bedier began programming in the 6th grade. He now oversees PayPal’s open global payments platform, which allows independent and enterprise developers to build payment applications for online and mobile apps. Seems like making things work easier has always been a priority. Even while working a menial job at an at&t call center, he couldn’t resist creating his own productivity software, and within months found himself leading their call-center technology group. Osama received a degree in computer science from the University of California — which explains his favorite brain food: In-N-Out burger.

Joaquin Zihuatanejo

In Paris, far from the East Dallas barrio he grew up in, Joaquín bested poets from 13 countries — making him the top slam poet on either side of the Atlantic. He speaks about a youth of violence and a heritage of sacrifice, and credits poetry and slam with saving his life. He has opened for Maya Angelou and appeared on hbo’s Def Poet Jam. But it’s Slam Club, the after school youth mentorship program he started and wants to see in schools coast to coast, that is his passion. Through Slam Club, Joaquin challenges students to stand up and fight through the spoken word. Proving that words are indeed mightier than the sword.

Peter Hall

Right now, Peter is a design critic and senior lecturer at UT, having written and edited three books and countless articles on design. He is also the co-organizer of DesignInquiry — a non-profit educational organization devoted to exploring design issues at intensive, team-based gatherings. He lectures on the emergence of mapping as a research and visu- alization method used by writers and designers to reveal agendas and uncover potential. If you don’t understand what that is, he’ll be happy to draw it out for you.

Gregory Kallenberg

Writer. Director. Producer. Game Changer. Gregory has written for Esquire, The New York Times, Texas Monthly and the Austin American Statesman. But with studies in film at usc and ut, telling a story on film was what he was destined to do. After stumbling upon a documentary idea following the discovery of the largest energy find in the United States, his documentary Haynesville: A Nation’s Hunt for an Energy Future has now become an important part of the national energy debate and an anthem for the “rational middle” working towards a clean energy future. With the pedigree of a sold-out sxsw premiere, a network deal with nbc/ Universal and showings around the country, Kallenberg is making waves that reach from Los Angeles to Washington, DC.

Flint Sparks

Flint is a licensed therapist with over 30 years experience in the practice and teaching of psychotherapy. His academic training includes graduate degrees in both biology and psychology. However, witnessing the struggles of both patients and family members dealing with illness and death, he began to search for spiritual practices which would deepen his psychological work. And he’s now also an ordained Zen Buddhist priest. Combining his psychology and Buddhist practices allows Flint to offer clients both personal and spiritual development. The ongoing practices of growing up...and waking up.

Gary Thompson

Business artist. Co-founder/President, CLOUD, Inc. No stranger to the world of tech meets non-profit, Gary was a member of the founding team of Kimbia, Inc., a leader in online fundraising. His latest venture, cloud, Inc., is a non-profit technology consortia that will evolve the Internet and cre- ate a new standard and language for all of us. Gary has worked for Apple and served on two eGovernment task forces. He’s also a leader in the fight against Leukemia and Lymphoma. He holds a BA from Northwestern, an MBA from Kellogg School of Management and a law degree from the University of Texas. So, when he says he wants to “reweave the fabric of the internet to transform humanity,” don’t bet against him.

Lionel Tiger

Charles Darwin Professor of Anthropology at Rutgers University. Dr. Tiger has been deeply involved in bridging the gap between the natural and social sciences. A consultant to the U.S. Department of Defense on the future of biotechnology, he’s currently focused on day care, young males, college demo- graphics, the workforce and the ways in which humans are becoming alienated from their biological roots. Dr. Tiger’s book The Decline of Males is a fascinating look at our male/female world. And, if you ever need someone to explain “male bonding” to you, he knows something about it —he’s the man who coined the phrase.

Ralf Wagner

Founder, CEO & CSO GENEART. Dr. Wagner was one of the first to realize the enormous scientific and commercial potential of synthetic biology. He suc- cessfully converted that scientific and technical vision into a sound business model supplying gene optimization, dna synthesis and subcloning to the 20 largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. In addition to his work at geneart, Ralf also manages the Molecular Microbiology and Genetherapy unit at the University of Regensburg. Some people decide to build a better mouse trap. Others, a better mouse.

Tavo Hellmund

Founder, Full Throttle Productions. Race car driver. Promoter. Australia, Monaco, China, Spain, India, Italy, Brazil...and now the United States Grand Prix, in Austin, Texas? Yep! Thanks to Tavo, Formula 1 racing will be coming to the us. He has over 25 years of experience racing in, promoting and marketing motor events. He also invented and patented a non-blind spot rearview mirror for automobiles and sold the design to gm. And he successfully brought the national usac Midget Series back to Texas after a 40 year absence. Tavo began his quest to bring f1 back to the United States in 1986. Which proves he’s not only fast, but he has amazing endur- ance as well.

Dustin Haisler

Director Government Innovation, Spigit, Inc. Interesting facts about Dustin: Magna Cum Laude graduate in Business. Husband, father of two. Former Assistant City Manager (and cio) of Manor, Texas where he introduced Web 2.0 and placed qr tags citywide to increase efficiency and cut costs. Recognized nationally as one of the “25 Doers, Dreamers & Drivers of Technology.” Launched open innova- tion platform Manor Labs, in conjunction with the Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford University. Sits on numerous boards and advisory councils. Is a municipal judge. Recently joined Spigit to consult with cities nationwide on similar initiatives. And he just turned 24 years old.

Mother Falcon

High-flying musical trailblazers. The Austin orchestral pop collective know as Mother Falcon prepares to assault the acoustic “norm” of everyone within earshot. This unique band of 10 – 20 classical musicians approach creating music more like improv. Sort of Julliard meets Second City. Anything goes at practice. But, as all who heard them last year at The Austin Music Awards at sxsw, the performance of this very young collective surpasses what musicians double (and triple) their ages can only dream of. Wind, string, reed and percussion instruments like you’ve never heard before. Roll over Beethoven. Again.

Intergalactic Nemesis

Live Action Graphic Novel. The sequel premier. A mashup of radio drama and comic-book in a live theatrical format. Written, directed, and produced by Jason Neuland- er, with music by Graham Reynolds, artwork by David Hutchison and Lee Duhig, and sound effects by Buzz Moran. They start a 20 venue tour this spring. What people are saying: Dallas Morning News: “The Intergalactic Nemesis Soars!”... The Daily Texas: “Nothing short of unforgettable”... The Houston Chronicle: “Timelessly Cool. A blast!”... The Austinist: “Incredibly engaging.”...The Austin Chronicle: “Pitch-perfect...Out of this world.”...The TED×Austin team: “Get them to the Austin Music Hall right now!!!”

The Unfolding Song

Nina Singh. Jeff Botta. Suzanna Choffel. As a well-known drummer, Nina Singh found that her musical journey gave her “bigger ears.” The result is an evolution of her own musicianship; a story shared here for the first-time ever in collaboration with two more of Austin’s most beloved musicians, Jeff Botta and Suzanna Choffel. Open your own ears and mind as you watch an expansion of rhythm; a song unfolding before your eyes.

Organizing team


Austin, TX, United States
  • Jen Spencer
    Co-Curator | Connection + Sponsorship Maven (Jen Spencer Coaches)
  • Stacy Weitzner
    Co-Curator | Voice + Vibe of TEDxAustin (Bold Muse Creative)
  • Romy Suskin
    Experience Designer + XLab Curator Extraordinaire
  • Shannon Mehner
    Speaker Liaison + Systems Specialist Whiz
  • Nancy Giordano
    Licensee | Chief Curator + Ideas Wrangler (Play Big, Inc.)
  • Kelley Burrus
    Event Shimmer + Shine Specialist (Clink Events)
  • Jerry Giordano
    XLab Ideation + Ted-of-All-Trades (writer.strategic envoy)
  • Mary Baird-Wilcock
    Event Planning + Organizational Rockstar (The Simplifiers)
  • Lionel Felix
    Tech Wrangler + Possibility Creator (Enfatico / WPP)
  • Jennifer Loveland
    Application + Data Dynamo (Dell)