x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Ideas in Action

This event occurred on
November 16, 2013
12:00pm - 5:00pm EST
(UTC -5hrs)
Brookline, MA
United States

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized (subject to certain rules and regulations).

Lincoln School
19 Kennard Road
Brookline, MA, 02445
United States
Event type:
Standard (What is this?)
See more ­T­E­Dx­Beacon­Street events


Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Colin Stokes

MOVIES AND PARENTING Reflections on watching movies with children lead to questions about representation and privilege beyond gender. What does mainstream culture tell white children about the world?

Kathleen Murphy

GET SERIOUS, GET SMART, GET GOING! You own your future. Taking the time to prepare for the life you want to live.

Juan Enriquez

NETWORKS, PRINTERS, ROBOTS, SENSORS, BIG DATA, AND GAMES While people are “The Most Important” part of any organization, their role has fundamentally changed in the last thousands, hundreds, dozens of years. Now networks are again changing the nature of how and where we work in very surprising ways…

Dick Simon

The Most Dangerous Four-Letter Word The word THEM has the destructive power to enslave entire continents, wage wars, and commit genocides. THEM impacts personal relationships as well as geopolitical conflicts. This talk will inspire you to get past THEM and recognize that the ‘other’ has its own narrative, history, and perspective. With this insight, conflicts are resolvable and our human interactions are richer and more nuanced.

Nikolai Begg

A BETTER WAY TO GET PUNCTURED Devices that puncture tissue are ubiquitous in medicine and also inherently dangerous; tens of thousands of puncture-related complications occur each year in the United States in procedures such as craniotomies, epidurals, and laparoscopic surgery. By focusing on the fundamental physics, learn how this 26-year old PhD student invented a device to solve a wide-reaching medical challenge that will likely affect all of us at some point in our lives.

Susan Colantuono

CLOSING THE LEADERSHIP GENDER GAP Sheryl Sandberg’s TEDxWomen Talk has been viewed 3 million times by those who wonder why we have too few women in leadership positions. In this talk Susan Colantuono complements advice to “lean in” as she unveils two new strategies for closing the leadership gender gap at the top of organizations. Discover the impact of The Missing 33%™, why 40 years of advice to women hasn’t closed the gap, the actions women can take to create careers that soar, and steps companies must take to close the leadership gender gap.

Michael Zapruder

NEW DIRECTIONS IN SONG: PINK THUNDER Experience Pink Thunder, contemporary American poems set to music, composed and performed by artist and former head music curator of Pandora, Michael Zapruder. Pink Thunder was selected by the Boston Globe as the best poetry book of 2012 and called “a work of extraordinary merit and historical significance” by the Huffington Post.

Julia Glenn

VIOLIN AND CELLO PERFORMANCE Hailed as a gifted violinist who plays with “wonderful panache and accuracy” and “energy and a gorgeous tone,” Julia Glenn’s playing has been described as “fully focused and betraying not one whit of insecurity” (Boston Musical Intelligencer). Julia will perform on our stage with cellist Patrick McGuire.

Patrick McGuire

Cellist Patrick McGuire is an active performer, teacher, and cultural activist. He will perform on our stage with violinist Julia Glenn. As a new music enthusiast he has worked with some of today’s most exciting composers, including Tan Dun, Magnus Lindberg, Steve Reich, and Morton Subotnick. Patrick performs regularly with Axiom and the New Juilliard Ensemble, and in 2012 gave the opening performance of Juilliard’s Focus! Festival with John Cage’s 59 1/2″ for solo cello. In addition to his performing career, Patrick is an avid teacher and proponent of arts education and empowerment. He currently works at a middle school in New York City as a fellow of the Silk Road Project, is a teaching fellow in Juilliard’s Music Advancement Program and has led arts empowerment workshops in Tanzania, New Orleans, and Tunisia. In 2012 he received both the Joseph W. Polisi Prize for exemplifying The Juilliard School’s values of the ‘artist as citizen’ and the McGraw Hill Robert Sherman Prize for education and community outreach, and in 2013 both developed a workshop using on using music therapeutically for post-traumatic stress disorder with doctors at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell, and received a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship to study Arabic for two months in Morocco. Patrick graduated with a Bachelor of Music from The Juilliard School in 2012 with Scholastic Distinction and is pursuing a Master of Music at Juilliard under Joel Krosnick.

Gail Goodman

FOUNDERS CAN’T SCALE By the time a startup is just four years old, a full 60% of founders are no longer the CEO. What gives? Gail Goodman, a first-time CEO who built Constant Contact to more than $250 million in revenue, holds a mirror up to this challenge. Her insights will inform not just those in a CEO gig but anyone who aims to push the envelope in their personal or professional lives.

Ben Peters

DIGITAL MOLDS: LOOKING BEYOND 3D PRINTING A digitally controlled, re-configurable mold is a device often seen in science fiction. Like the common pin art toy, a digital mold is made up of a dense array of parallel, moving pins and can quickly generate any desired surface shape. Realizing the potential benefits such a device could have for manufacturing and prototyping, Ben has developed technology that makes a low cost, high resolution, digital mold a reality.

Mark Little

HOW WOULD YOU SPEND $5 BILLION A YEAR…ON INNOVATION? As Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of GE’s seven Global Research Centers, Mark is responsible for leading one of the world’s largest and most diversified industrial research and technology organizations. Mark will talk about how GE is harnessing the brain power of 50,000+ technologists around the world to help solve some of the world’s toughest challenges. Learn about how we are making aircraft engines more efficient, powering the world with efficient, flexible gas turbines, crunching big data, creating greener ground transportation and refining medical imaging for the future.

Duncan Davidson

FINDING THE PHOTOGRAPH RIGHT BEFORE YOUR EYES “The essential challenge of photography for me is to make an image that communicates meaning and emotion within the boundaries of a frame to a viewer that wasn’t there with me, in the moment. Shared cultural context and common storytelling idioms provide a foundation to work on, but its up to the photographer to build on that with the elements of what they see in front of them. Light, details, and gesture are the building blocks I use to create my images for the TED stage and, my work in the field, and even simply using my iPhone when walking about town.”

Alex Wissner-Gross

NETWORKING FASTER THAN LIGHT (SOLVE FOR X) The performance of a wide variety of globally-distributed online activities is increasingly limited by the finite speed of light. Dr. Wissner-Gross recently introduced technology for partially mitigating the impact of this limitation on the coordination of geographically distributed activities, such as virtual worlds, currency exchanges, telepresence, and remote surgery. His solution involves positioning computer servers in optimal intermediate locations such as oceans and other network-sparse regions, opening the possibility of geographic remoteness becoming a new form of natural resource for developing countries in the next decade.

Ting Wu

ANCIENT PUZZLES, GENOMIC CANARIES, MEDICAL X Scattered throughout our genomes are a set of ancient sequences that constitute one of the most puzzling conundrums to emerge from the genome era. Short, numbering in the hundreds or even thousands, and without obvious function, these sequences have remained essentially unchanged for hundreds of millions of years. Some believe that these sequences, called ultraconserved elements (UCEs), encode the most critically important functions of the genome. Others believe UCEs are a statistical accident. Ting Wu, Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, will present a stunningly simple explanation for UCEs and then propose how, if she is correct, we can harness UCEs to fashion a radically new approach for addressing disease.

Alex Reben

BLAB DROIDS: SELF-LEARNING SOCIAL CLOUD ROBOTS Humans are social creatures and throughout history knowledge has been both disseminated and absorbed in a social manner, through not only written artifacts but also by oral tradition. Self-learning social cloud robots have the potential to not only be humanity’s natural social window into digital knowledge, but they also afford an opportunity to collect and catalog new human knowledge in a novel way. Imagine how much uncataloged human knowledge could be saved through a natural human centered interface which one would have feelings for like a pet, everything you teach your robot would be known by every other robot in the cloud.

John Katzman

HACKING COLLEGE ADMISSIONS Why does everyone think it’s harder to get into a top college when it’s probably easier? The answer speaks to an emerging revolution in US education, and of a new student and educator mindset.

Greg Nadeau

BLOGS AND BADGES, THE FUTURE OF LEARNING Over the next 20 years learning will be profoundly transformed. Nadeau brings his personal and professional experiences to bear in describing the two simple concepts which will define learning in the future: 1) personal learning blogs and 2) lifelong learning badges.

Teppo Jouttenus

WILL ONLINE LEARNING ENGAGE YOU MORE? Online education opens up possibilities for engaging with a tremendously diverse student body, experimenting with fascinating laboratory tasks, and receiving immediate feedback on your performance. In some respects, such tools can be more effective than traditional schooling. Teppo Jouttenus and his colleague Victor Schnayder will discuss specific examples from edX learners to highlight their successes and explore some directions to improve the power of online education even further.

Victor Shnayder

WILL ONLINE LEARNING ENGAGE YOU MORE? Online education opens up possibilities for engaging with a tremendously diverse student body, experimenting with fascinating laboratory tasks, and receiving immediate feedback on your performance. In some respects, such tools can be more effective than traditional schooling. Victor Shnayder and his colleague Teppo Jouttenus will discuss specific examples from edX learners to highlight their successes and explore some directions to improve the power of online education even further.

Philipp Schmidt

LEARNING BY EVERYONE, FOR EVERYONE The key to great learning is not better textbooks, courses, or computers – but dreams, creativity and collaborators. If we look beyond the industrial model of education, to the way the world wide web connects us with each other, we can design learning environments that leverage the most valuable learning resource we have, other people

Kevin Flynn

A professional writer, producer and standup comedian for over 25 years, Kevin has taken all his experience and put it into a series of lessons that teach students how to learn and enjoy the art of standup comedy.

Usman Riaz

Usman Riaz began playing classical piano at the age of six and taught himself to play a variety of instruments using the internet as his teacher. A composer, multi instrumentalist, visual artist and filmmaker, Usman has spoken and performed on the TED main stage as a TED fellow and has been traveling all over the world sharing his artwork and music with audiences to emphasize how all of us can use multimedia around us to further our talents.

Grizzly Freakin' Man Singers

The Grizzly Freakin’ Man Singers are a student managed and directed a cappella group from Marblehead High School. Rather than playing sports, these teenage males have decided to channel their testosterone into the creation of glorious noise. Since their formation in 2008 the Grizzlies’ explosive energy and dashing good looks have continued to entertain audiences and make the ladies swoon.

Rosabeth Moss Kanter

HOW GREAT COMPANIES THINK DIFFERENTLY – AND DRIVE SOCIAL PROGRESS Despite problems and imperfections, and amidst valid criticisms leveled by skeptics, business enterprises can contribute in significant ways to accelerating progress for communities and society, using their capabilities to innovate and solve problems. Great companies are reinventing high school in New York, creating mobile clinics to help babies thrive in Nigeria, reducing blindness in Kenya through a better beer, keeping girls in school in Brazil, and saving bio-diversity in Peru. By putting financial and social purpose together, they can create high performance companies and improve society at the same time. Here’s how.

Stephane Bancel

WHAT IF mRNA COULD BE A DRUG? Biology dogma: DNA –> mRNA –> proteins. The biotech industry has made wonders for patients in the last 30 years making recombinant proteins (EPO, insulin…). What if mRNA could be a drug and the body could make its own missing proteins on demand?

Alex Wissner-Gross

AN EQUATION FOR INTELLIGENCE What is the most intelligent way to behave? Dr. Wissner-Gross explains how the latest research findings in physics, computer science, and animal behavior suggest that the smartest actions – from the dawn of human tool use all the way up to modern business and financial strategy – are all driven by the single fundamental principle of keeping future options as open as possible. Consequently, he argues, intelligence itself may be viewed as an engine for maximizing future freedom of action. With broad implications for fields ranging from management and investing to artificial intelligence, Dr. Wissner-Gross’s message reveals a profound new connection between intelligence and freedom.

Fred Destin

THRIVING IN CHAOS What Startups Can Teach You About Work, Life & Happiness We live in a world characterized by accelerated change, enabled by a technological evolution that is best described as “the age of platforms”. The way we are taught to learn and work is often ill adapted to this new reality. I want to look at what I have learned as a venture capital practitioner and what startups can teach us about dealing with chaos to achieve results, positive outcomes and ultimately personal happiness, rethinking in the process how learn, work and live in this brave new world.

Edwin Gravereaux

Dr. Gravereaux is a Vascular Surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and a graduate of Georgetown University School of Medicine, class of 1993.

Larry Moore

ELECTION VISUALIZATION: TRANSPARENCY TECHNOLOGY FOR DEMOCRATIC ELECTIONS The purpose of an election is not just to select a winner but to convince the loser that they lost and thereby confer the legitimacy necessary to govern on the winner. In a narrowly divided electorate, with close elections increasing, convincing the loser calls for something beyond simply counting marks inside of ovals. This talk will introduce Election Visualization, a technology that lets human judges and potentially every stakeholder in an election assess voter intent across hundreds of thousands of ballots – in minutes. This new level of election transparency will have profound consequences for democratic elections everywhere.

Erika Ebbel Angle

COOL THINGS HAPPEN AT THE EDGES Often we feel that we are “on the path” based on the structure provided by the educational system. This means it is expected that we should proceed from grade school to middle school to high school to college and beyond year after year . This talk will talk about what can happen when one “steps off the train” (the analogy to being “on the path”) and opens himself/herself to other experiences that may be useful in overall life experience and development.

Norman Spack

NEW MEDICAL TREATMENTS FOR TRANSGENDER ADOLESCENTS Until recently, transgender adolescents were regarded as suffering from a primary psychiatric illness. They experienced extremely high incidence of self-harm and suicide, substance abuse, unemployment, family strife, and social discrimination. Early evaluation and prevention of the unwanted natal puberty in its earliest stages, with provision of sex hormones of the affirmed gender in mid-teenage has changed the outlook for the young adults who are the oldest cohort so treated.

Allyssa Bates

KIDNEY DONATION: A DONOR’S PERSPECTIVE I’m hoping to educate people about the donation process from the donor’s perspective. I had so many questions about what my life would look like post donation and it was very difficult to find answers. By sharing my story and my family’s story, I hope more people consider becoming a donor because they know have these answers and realize being a donor doesn’t have to slow them down.

Neil Hunt

BIG DATA MEETS CANCER: CROWDSOURCING PERSONALIZED TREATMENT RECOMMENDATIONS Targeted drug therapies are showing promise in combatting cancer, but classical clinical trials are poorly suited to matching them to the thousands of variations of cancer caused by different DNA mutations. Big data techniques offer a way to analyze data pooled across many patients: their specific disease mutations, biological markers, the treatments, and outcomes — in order to identify unexpected ways that existing therapies can be applied and combined to create personalized treatments that dramatically improve the chances of survival.

Ben Mezrich

INTERVIEW Author of twelve books, Ben Mezrich has created his own highly addictive genre of nonfiction, chronicling the amazing stories of young geniuses making tons of money on the edge of impossibility, ethics, and morality.

Marco Tempest

INVENTING THE IMPOSSIBLE Marco Tempest talks about the use of illusion as a creative tool and how it can be used to bring seemingly impossible scenarios to life and envisage future technologies. The presentation includes examples of Marco Tempest’s magical illusion work designed in collaboration with engineers, animators and programmers, discusses the value of open source projects and why illusion is an inviting gateway to social media interactivity.

Bert Jacobs

DO WHAT YOU LIKE. LIKE WHAT YOU DO. Bert will discuss why Life is good, a positive lifestyle brand, purposely blurs the lines between work, play, for-proft enterprise and non-profit social work. The lessons learned from his personal and professional experiences illustrate that the keys to a happy and fulfilling life are all around us.

Steve Papa

Steve Papa founded the enterprise software company Endeca in 1999 and was its CEO until it was Oracle’s 6th largest acquisition ever in 2011. Endeca pioneered Guided Navigation, one of the leading search innovations of the decade, and made it an industry standard online. Prior to Endeca, Steve was part of the original MIT team creating Akamai, a member of the early team at Inktomi in charge of creating the company’s infrastructure caching business, and spent time at Teradata and also at Venrock, the Rockefeller Family’s venture capital arm.

Cameron Kerry

GREAT FIREWALLS ARE NOT THE ANSWER The disclosures about NSA surveillance have created doubt about the way the Internet is governed and the U.S. role. This talk will try to put these doubts in perspective, comparing US protections of privacy and civil liberties with those of other countries, including some that have criticized the US, and will argue that overreaction in the form of national firewalls will do great damage to the open environment that has made the Internet such an engine of innovation and freedom.

Doug Melton

HARNESSING THE POTENTIAL OF STEM CELLS FOR NEW MEDICINES Douglas A. Melton is the Xander University Professor at Harvard University, and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, focused on molecular and cell biology. In this talk: I’ll be talking about the potential of stem cell biology for regenerative medicine, with a focus on finding new treatments for diseases such as diabetes.

Beth Babcock

USING BRAIN SCIENCE TO DESIGN NEW PATHWAYS OUT OF POVERTY It wasn’t that long ago that getting out of poverty required a pretty simple roadmap. The map pointed you to a good job like construction, transportation, or the public sector. These jobs didn’t require much education and the way to get them was pretty straightforward. But with world has changed drastically since then. Family sustaining jobs now require education beyond high-school, public supports for the poor have been slashed, and the bottom half of Americans are losing earnings. This talk will show how we use new findings from science and technology to help us build the GPS that can navigate today’s landscape and find the new routes out of poverty

Kevin Gilbert

THE LOST GENERATION A picture is worthless if you can’t find it — 880 billion photographs will be taken in 2014… just in the US. Everyone loves photography and sharing their life in pictures… but everyone hates the rest. The organization, the backup, the lack of engaging and interesting workflows puts an entire generation of photographic memories at risk. We can lose all our memories in a flash, unless we think differently about memory and photographs.

Emi Ferguson

YOUR EARS DECEIVE YOU This talk will explore how our preconceived notions affect how we think about and categorize music. Hailed by critics for her “tonal bloom” and “hauntingly beautiful performances,” English-born American flutist Emi Ferguson is a performer who stretches the boundaries of what is expected of modern-day instrumentalists.

Tony Tjan

HEART, SMARTS, GUTS AND LUCK: ADVICE FOR ENTREPRENEURS Heart, Smarts, Guts, and Luck is the result of three years of research across 500+ entrepreneurs and conducted and co-authored by three highly accomplished business-builders now turned venture capitalists and advisors. Launched on August 7th 2012, the book is a New York Times Best Seller and hit #1 non-fiction with Publisher’s Weekly. In this talk Tony Tjan, the lead author of Heart, Smarts, Guts, and Luck, you will gain essential entrepreneurial advice: 1) You can become more self-aware. 2) You will learn surprising new stats. How many entrepreneurs really start with a business plan? 3) You will be exposed to the best secrets, habits and principles of top business builders.

Marcus Quigley

DESIGNING SMART URBAN WATER SYSTEMS We have built our cities largely assuming that water, when not of drinking water quality and properly contained in pressurized pipes, was mostly a nuisance: something to be avoided on roadways, kept out of basements, or piped to the nearest conveyance that could carry it away as quickly as possible. As a society we are rethinking these assumptions and looking more closely at the choices we make and how the actions we take affect the value of water. Mr. Quigley will elucidate the complexity, scale, and hidden challenges in current urban water management as well as showing examples and live demonstrations of disruptive technologies including live feeds from intelligent and forecast integrated rainwater harvesting systems, combined gray water/stormwater systems, green roofs that think on their own, and ambient information systems that tie people to their water environment by integrating information into living spaces.

Cerise Jacobs

UNBOXING THE WORLD TO BUILD NEW ENTERPRISES How many times have you heard someone say “think outside the box”, implying that you are inside a box? In reality, you are not in a box. You are putting everything in the world into boxes. Neat, rigid, stereotyped boxes. When you see the world in a grid system, creative flexibility is impossible. Everything is cribbed and confined. Mother and son team Cerise Jacobs and Pirate Epstein explore how they have exploded the grid system to create new enterprises.

Ryan Holladay

MUSIC FOR LANDSCAPES Ryan Holladay discusses how he and his brother are using new technologies to re-imagine how we create and experience music, by creating custom soundscapes for parks like The National Mall in Washington and Central Park in New York.

Paul Harraka

NASCAR CONFIDENTIAL It’s no secret that NASCAR is the #2 sport on television in the United States, following only the NFL, and that its drivers are, on average, the best compensated athletes in all of pro sports. What’s less known is that the sport has evolved away from being a meritocracy, now favoring drivers with money over drivers with talent. While a student at Duke University, Harraka founded his own company to solve this issue.

Megan Smith

MODERATOR, SOLVE FOR (X) Megan will moderate our Solve for (X) blocks where we will hear about radical technology ideas for solving global problems. Radical in the sense that the solutions could help millions or billions of people. Radical in the sense that the audacity of the proposals makes them sound like science fiction. And radical in the sense that there is some real technology breakthrough on the horizon indicating that these ideas could really be brought to life. After the talks, the audience is invited to participate in a structured brainstorm session.

Khaliya Aga Khan

Princess Khaliya Aga Khan is the former wife of Prince Hussain Aga Khan and the former daughter-in-law of Prince Karim Aga Khan (Aga Khan IV). Aga Khan IV is Imam and spiritual leader to approximately 15 million Ismaili Muslims. Born as Kristin White in New York City Khaliya is a U.S. citizen, a philanthropist, venture capitalist and advocate for social change. Focused on the intersection of design, technology and social entrepreneurship, she sits on the board of Venture for America, is a patron of the TED conference, and runs an art gallery which features innovative, socially conscious artists and artisans.

Michael Skok

Michael Skok is General Partner at North Bridge Venture Partners and will moderate and host at TEDxBeaconStreet.

Lisa Pierpont

Lisa Pierpont is the founder and editor-in-chief of She is also the editor-in-chief of Boston Common Magazine. Prior to, Lisa was a three-time Emmy Award-winning producer for the Chronicle show, a nightly newsmagazine on WCVB-TV, the ABC affiliate in Boston. Over her 15 year tenure, she produced half-hour shows on art theft and autism, the death penalty, last chance schools for troubled teens, and the inside workings of the Atlantic Monthly; boarded a freak-out supersonic flight on the Concorde, and survived a tricky landing on a tiny airstrip in St. Barth; profiled a Harvard professor hunting extraterrestrials, an author in search of his homeless father, and a child of Chernobyl seeking a new start in America. For the show, she traveled to all over the United States as well as Venice, London, Paris, and the Caribbean. A graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, Lisa also contributes to various publications, including, Boston Common Magazine, the Boston Globe ("Ask the Sartorialist" columnist), Improper Bostonian ("Best of Boston" style awards), Boston Magazine ("Ask the Fashionologist" and "Best of Boston" style awards) and continues to freelance produce for Chronicle.

MacCalvin Romain

MacCalvin Romain has presented at TEDx and will moderate and host at TEDxBeaconStreet.

Brian Bergstein

Brian Bergstein is Deputy Editor of MIT Technology Review. A technology journalist for 13 years, Brian reports on the Web, computing, telecom, and the business of technology from Silicon Valley, New York, and Boston. Previously, he was the technology and media editor for the Associated Press. Brian will interview speakers live at TEDxBeaconStreet.

Scott Kirsner

Scott Kirsner's column, Innovation Economy, appears in the Globe every Sunday, and he also maintains a companion blog. Kirsner’s writing has also appeared in BusinessWeek, Variety, The New York Times, and other publications. Scott will interview speakers live on stage at TEDxBeaconStreet.

Organizing team


Brookline, MA, United States


Boston, MA, United States
  • Bruce Hecht
  • Pavan Pant
  • Sarah Murphy
  • Dan Oberholzer
  • Maura Welch
  • Laura Colcord