These are the final three 2011 TEDxKC presentation recaps. Only one (Jenn Lim) delivered a TED talk; the other two were music (Barnaby Bright) and dance (Quixotic Fusion) performers. Two quick reminders before jumping into the 2011 TEDxKC recaps:

  • I'm once again playing back the "If Only/Only If" theme for with my idea  on how each 2011 TEDxKC presenter might complete those phrases.
  • As of the date this post was published, the videos from the event have not been posted online yet, so none of the hyperlinks lead to event videos.

Now to the recaps:

Jenn Lim - "Applied Happiness"

If only we would believe in a happiness-based business mind-set.

Only if we're willing to attach ourselves to something much bigger than ourselves.

Jenn Lim's opening talk on "Applied Happiness" was a decent topic (kind of a light start for TEDxKC), but it wasn't a great TED talk. The more times a company name is mentioned in a TED talk, the less satisfying the talk. Lim’s presentation was too much Zappos and CEO Tony Shieh (and Lim's ties) crowded in with too many lightly touched upon ideas. Clearly, there's something about the TED motto of "Ideas worth spreading" (and not "Corporations worth spreading") speakers should remember.

Lim tried to tackle too much content (her personal happiness exploration/background, happiness theories, the Zappos happiness business model, classical happiness frameworks, and merchandising happiness through a bus tour, Zappos Happiness book, special day, and designated happy people) in the time-constrained TED format.

Short story: We're bad at predicting what will deliver long-term happiness so we chase after false happiness.

The phenomenon isn't helped by all the advertising and pop culture which depicts a false reality of what "happiness" is. The irony in Lim's speech is happiness also isn't about being able to order bunches of shoes, get them delivered quickly, and, if need be, easily return them!

As Jenn Lim rightly pointed out at TEDxKC, happiness derives from identifying what's bigger than you that shapes your values and higher purpose. Happiness comes from aligning yourself to those critical foundations and living them out every day.

Barnaby Bright - "The Longest Day Is the Shortest Night"

If only two people are in the group, you can still make complex music.

Only if you're willing to experiment with how you perform and the instruments you play.

Take my recommendation and download two Barnaby Bright songs: "Don't Look Down" and "Gravity." You can certainly download other Barnaby Bright songs, but those two stood out in the three-song TEDxKC set from the Brooklyn-based indie folk rock duo.

I love singers who really belt out a song. Becky Bliss (one-half of the married Barnaby Bright duo along with husband, Nathan) does that incredibly well even in the acoustic 2011 TEDxKC setting. She has a beautiful, strong voice and a very inventive use of live instrumentation to sound bigger than simply two people.

Quixotic Fusion - "In Three Acts"

If only dance spoke to me in a more profound way.

Only if there were thought bubbles over the dancers’ heads.

Okay, it's admission time. Having live tweeted TEDxKC all evening, I mentally checked out for Quixotic Fusion. As disclosed last year, I don't "get" dance. And after every dance performance, I vow to learn something about dance in order to understand it the next time. But, I never do learn more about dance, so it's time to put "learning more about dance" on my "things I'll never do list."

With that admission, I enjoyed Quixotic Fusion – even more at 2011 TEDxKC than last year. They demonstrate grace, athleticism, creativity, and artistry. What does it all mean? That's where I'm clearly lacking...and will obviously continue to do so.  – Mike Brown


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