BIL And TED Conferences = Excellent Adventure

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How many times do you have that "need to smack myself in the head" feeling for not having thought of an idea?

Well, here we go again.

I’m pretty excited to be heading out to Monterey, California next week to attend my first TED Conference. For those not in the know, drop everything and head over to the TED Talks section of the TED website and deep-dive into some of the most prolific thinkers and speakers of our time. TED happens once-a-year (although lately, they have been introducing more events – like TED Global) in California and only one thousand people are "accepted" to attend (TED is probably more known for the $6000 price tag than anything else). TED stands for Technology Entertainment and Design. My personal reasons for going blends my eagerness to hear some of the brightest minds, to watch (and learn) how some of the best presenters in the world make it happen, to network and grow my circle of influence, to be inspired, to expand my thinking, and to share some of my thoughts as well.

Ultimately, we’re in a "World Is Flat" scenario and I’m going to use TED as my first global community outreach (in the physical sense).

Now, here’s the "need to smack myself in the head for not thinking of this" moment. Through my Google Reader Blog feeds, I came across a Robert Scoble Blog post titled, I’m going to “Bil,” not TED. It turns out that some smarter-than-me people are running an unconference (like BarCamp and PodCamp) around the same time as TED in Monterey. Here’s how the BIL Conference describes themselves, according to the website/wiki:

"BIL loves TED. TED is a great place to sit and listen to interesting ideas. Many of those ideas make it online, and millions get to experience them.

The catch for many of us is that TED is $6,000, which is too expensive for most people, including a great number with good ideas worth spreading. BIL has been created as a free space for people with ideas to come together and share them.

Our event is self-organizing, emergent, and anarchic. Nobody is in charge. If you want to come just show up. If you’ve got an idea to spread start talking. If someone is saying something good, stop and listen.

We hope BIL can be a perfect match to TED."

So cool.

Some of the topics already posted for BIL (which stands for Benevolence Instability Level) include: Brainstorming A Vision, How to Be a Successful Heretic, An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything, Hacking the Human Fantastic, Digital Graffiti: Art, Advertizing, and Anarchy, Coworking to Coliving – Digital Utopia?, Darknets – fascist gated associations, or intentional community? and much more. I know, some of these talks sound like they should be at TED.

TED takes place from February 27th – March 1st and BIL happens from March 1st – March 2nd.

If you’re going to TED, please do let me know, and if you’re interested in checking out BIL, you can sign up here (it’s free): BIL Conference – Registration. I’ll be attending both.

I also just got word from the TED people that Chris Anderson (the Curator or TED and not the same Chris Anderson of The Long Tail and Wired Magazine) was interviewed by Charlie Rose and it will air tonight on PBS (set your PVRs).

Update: you can watch Chris Anderson on Charlie Rose here: Charlie Rose Interviews Chris Anderson from TED.


  1. Thanks for the kind words about BIL. I’m looking forward to meeting you there.
    One small correction though. You said that BIL stands for”Benevolence Instability Level,” which is partially correct. Every time you go to the page it will generate a new set of words, based on about 10 B words, 10 I word, and 10 L words.
    It show that BIL can represent anything and everything – whatever someone finds interesting and is willing to speak about.
    Next year we’ll make it a little more obvious by having the words change every 30 seconds or something.
    Thanks again for the great post about BIL.

  2. Hi Mitch,
    Great blog and good luck in California. I just wanted to let you know, and everyone else reading this blog to know, that your presentation on Tuesday night in Montreal was fantastic. It really put things in perspective for someone like myself who is in Communications/PR and Radio Hosting.
    The notion of 20% of all Google searches are new, and that the shaky camera is more reliable than the ‘trusted news sources’ are certainly mind boggling for people that still think in black and white. For those that want to stay on top of new media, they need not look any further than reading your blogs on a regular basis… thanks for the continued insight.
    P.S – I am the asshole who left right after your presentation. Had another engagement, but it was certainly worthwhile to come and hear you ….

  3. It’s fantastic that you are getting the chance to attend since I just *know* you will be sharing what you learn with your readers and listeners.
    I am intrigued by their Social Graph Experiment which is a survey they are using to track how word is spreading about this event. We can all participate, whether we are attending or not. I filled it out a few days ago.
    Have fun, Mitch!

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