TED Talks are videos that present a great idea in 18 minutes or less. They’re filmed at flagship TED conferences, independent TEDx events, and other programs. Their goal is to share Ideas Worth Spreading — in fields like science, technology, business, culture, art and design — around the world.
The first six talks from the small TED conference in Monterey, California, were released online in June 2006, with more to follow. The talks began to attract a global audience that grew into the millions — an enthusiastic reception that prompted TED to turn its website into the home of TED Talks, a lovingly curated, constantly growing series of talks and performances.
At the end of their first year, TED Talks had been watched two million times. By the end of 2009, that number had jumped to 200 million, establishing TED as an important platform. In November of 2012, TED Talks crossed the mark of one billion collective views. And in June 2015, TED.com posted its 2,000th Talk.
Top 10 most-viewed TED Talks:*
- Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity? (45M views)
- Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are (41M views)
- Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action (32M views)
- Brené Brown: The power of vulnerability (30M views)
- Mary Roach: 10 things you didn't know about orgasm (21M views)
- Jill Bolte Taylor: My stroke of insight (21M views)
- Tony Robbins: Why we do what we do (20M views)
- Dan Pink: The puzzle of motivation (18M views)
- Cameron Russell: Looks aren't everything. Believe me, I'm a model (18M views)
- Pranav Mistry: The thrilling potential of SixthSense technology (16M views)
A lot goes into creating a TED Talk. Some facts you may not know:
- Most TED Talks are edited, lightly but carefully. We typically remove the first few sentences of warmup chatter, and excessive ums and uhs — but we won't distort the speaker's meaning with our edit.
- It takes one of our pro video editors about a full day to edit an 18-minute TED Talk.
- Almost every TED Talk hosted on TED.com has full subtitles and a snazzy clickable time-coded transcript.
- While some of your favorite TED Talks were shot with multiple cameras — up to nine — others are filmed very simply. Next time you watch, count the different shots.
*Updated May 2017
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