TEDx Beirut 2012 Reviewed

TEDxBeirut 2012 reviewed

By Admin I : We all expected an improvement after TEDxBeirut 2011, com’on, there was room, good energy and promising potentials, but what we attended this past Saturday was a very disappointing mix of cheese, bullshit and Oprah moments.

It seems that TEDxBeirut 2012 had a specific formula: a good to blah project + a dramatic storyline + teary eyes – good natural presentation skills = a fake standing ovation from a crowd that was emotionally manipulated instead of being inspired.

Guys, when a crowd gets responsive to a tribal music band a lot more than a speaker it means that there are huge flaws in the speakers’ casting process; keeping the doctors and the NASA brain that decided to preach about ‘group work’ aside, almost all the other speakers fell in the gap; no one really stood up to the TED level of talks.

We might be too pessimistic, and yes we were tweeting furiously, but it’s because we’ve attended last year’s event and couldn’t but point the drastic failure of this year’s selections.

To sum up everything, we’ll briefly state our speakers’ review, and again we have nothing personal against those people, in fact, many are our colleagues and encounters:

–       Imad Saoud: interesting talk, engaging material but very static as a presenter and lacked interactivity.

–       Suzanne Talhouk: can we skip that? No, umm, she was a good presenter defending assumptions and lacking facts; what’s very special about being an Arabic language enthusiast, I had one of those for each year of school you know!

–       Jana Bou Reslan: How can we make it rhyme, while make you understand absolutely nothing?!

–       Marj Henningsen: interesting topic, the shift in education has been on the rise since a couple of years, and yes the change is obvious on many levels. A good topic that’s well analyzed and experienced.

–       Esraa Haidar: a blogger that’s fighting stereotyping, like gazillion other bloggers and journalists. Why a TED speaker again?

–       Charles Elachi: all we got from this privileged NASA scientist is that group work does miracles, and that NASA helped ending world poverty and saved Africa from AIDS and hunger, oh, wait, no that wasn’t it!

–       Amal Al Dahouk: our ultimate favorite TEDxBeirut talk: insightful, real, spontaneous, well prepared and not taking herself too seriously. Amal was talking about the right means of communicating information and the role of new media in orienting the crowd. Highly interesting!

–       Salim Zwein: Blah-science-endless-Blah-Clapping-Thank God it’s over.

–       Farid Chehab: when an advertising capitalist Guru shifts to going green and saving mother earth’s water resources. Theatrical, screaming for attention, no relevant content. Me no buy hypocrisy.

–       Performance: GLEE – the spoofed version.

–       Loryne Atoui: we love your energy girl, full of optimism even if the dose was too positive for our taste. A well appreciated struggle, but somehow the talk was screaming of an ‘awhh’ Oprah moment.

–       Christopher Littlefield: this guy knows how to play the game: funny, witty and natural; a feature that was generally missed in this year’s TEDx.

–       Performance: the most successful part of the day.

–       Peter Mouraccade: a standing ovation? Seriously?!! Why? Because a guy climbed a mountain, got a flu up there and made his friends drag him down?!

–       Zeina Saab: Mary Poppins, Peter Pan, or something like that.

–       Sareen Akharjalian: Sareen was our biggest surprise; we expected a blah talk about how a bored programmer followed her ‘dream’ and became a cartoonist, but the talk went super spontaneous and very well presented. Sareen proved that you don’t have to be the next Steve Jobs to do a TED talk, but you must be endowed with natural charisma.

–       Hani Asfour: Talking about a Steve Jobs wannabe, a privileged architect that ‘invented’ a space to talk inside a lecture hall – big deal – and a talk full of the ‘new’ design cheese called ‘design thinking’. Let’s grow out of this ya’ll, like pleeeeease.

–       Rabih El Chaher: started well, got too Platonic, then reached a non-sense ending, proving how passive and easily impressed this crowd was.

–       Closing was another Glee, fine, we appreciate your hard hard volunteer work, we really do.

The event in general had many logistics issues, from parking lots, feeding a crowd of 1200 people using a buffet, and the venue that ended up looking like a tuna can.

TEDxBeirut 2012 was just okay for new spectators but a total disaster for last year’s audience craving for a higher dose of inspiration.

It was just a fabulous work and energy along with the wrong choice of speakers.

All we need is, again, less bullshit!


  1. AdminR said:

    Some of the speakers you mentioned, i just can’t remember them, maybe i was asleep !@#$ while Admin G was extremely overjoyed that she wished the event won’t end (needed to go home for God’s sake )
    Well , what we need is motivation, the thing that was missed in this event.

    • adminG said:

      me love TEDx 😀 !

  2. Let me start by saying that I was not there and have not yet seen all the talks on youtube.

    One thing I would say, not in defense of those who presented or organized and also not in disagreement with you, is that what might seem trivial and un-inspiring for you may be an eye-opener for many others.

    By regularly reading your blog, I can tell that you are well-educated, a frequent traveler, well connected and definitely tech-savy. While a few of the attendees may have traveled and lived abroad, or are social media nerds themselves, not all of them are. So one of those talks might have inspired them and opened their eyes to take action or believe in one of their dreams.

    Again, I did not attend last year’s TEDxBeirut, but if you say that the content of the talks delivered was more inspiring I would agree that we need to improve instead of lose quality for the mere purpose of appealing to emotions and impressive decorations and display. The TEDx talks are meant to be inspiring, expanding our horizons and acknowledging local factors of change and innovation.

    But, with such a method of review, abashing some of the talks and degrading them to nothing, you might demotivate those who are working hard on their dreams and who knows, you might even discourage those who were inspired to act after reading your review and losing faith in what caused that spark during the talk.

    Living abroad, I have learnt a lot from your reviews about a lot of things, but products and consumer market is different than TEDx and I believe a different tone or approach could have made the review much more helpful and encouraging….

    Nonetheless, thank you for taking the time to review and help those who missed being there get a different opinion.

    • Admin I said:

      Your comment means a lot to us Adel,
      First of all, I’m a very regular aspiring Lebanese designer that has never lived abroad, and received a very average range of education; no tech-savy here and certainly not a well traveled person, but I’m someone that cherishes honesty and can stand up from the principles I’ve decided to fight for in design and on the communication level.
      I’m honestly trying to motivate improvement but being Brofessionals, we believe that it is not our right or job to give alternative solutions; we only state what we think, the way we think suits better the message..
      It’s such a disappointment to inspire our youth through cliches and emotional persuasion, we need to learn how to evolve and how to choose our source of inspiration; it’s high time we stop being an easy crowd, no?

      • Admin I,

        I was under the impression that blog posts posted here were made by Nasri Atallah, but after digging deep into the names, it seems that various Admins post under different letters such as Admin I, Admin N ….

        here is where the assumption that you are well traveled and exposed to higher standard ted talks or events in general came into place…

        With that cleared out, I definitely admire your desire to see events in Lebanon inspire true action and improvement and stay away from cliches and emotional persuasion, we have enough politicians and religious clergy doing that already.

        I urge you to consider this, and again not because I want to defend TedX 2012 ( I repeat that I was not there), but to encourage CONSTRUCTIVE and SUPPORTIVE criticism. I am sure your objective was not to rant but to help improve, which is why I commented in the first place coz I felt your review was destructive rather than constructive. It is your own blog and you are entitled to your own opinion, but I feel like your purpose behind the review, as you said, is to help improve.

        First, it is important to acknowledge the hard work of the volunteers who organize this. There is no doubt that they had gaps, such as parking lots ( who would not have that in Lebanon?) and food and other logistics….. does that mean that all their hard work was to waste? Does that mean they were sloppy? Does that mean they did not learn and gain a lot of experience? Acknowledgement and supportive feedback on point to improve would have served your purpose better.

        Most importantly, reading your review I pondered on how it would have felt to read your post as a presenter who you did not see inspiring. I would be insulted and probably even create a negative affiliation with your blog and your authenticity. If this is what I do and how I know how to present, but still I was invited to present, would I refuse? Your review, as Brofessional should stand up to your standards or professionalism and provide subjective feedback and shed light on how you felt it was weak and what can be made to make ti stronger.

        I may have felt the same as you, so I am not disagreeing on your evaluation, but on how you delivered your review.

        I do hope you can provide your feedback to the organizers and they take your points into consideration. I also hope that they post their opinion, or anyone else who might have a different opinion from those who attended. I also hope they do not use offensive words and maintain Brofessionalism when they comment.

        We need to learn to have opposing points of view come together in Lebanon instead of work against each other. I am sure TEDx Beirut inspired a lot of Lebanese and was a great learning experience for the organizers and presenters and I have no doubt your feedback can help make it better next year.

      • Admin I said:

        Your comment is a delight to read Adel,
        I really like having respectable well rounded people like you commenting and discussing the posts, but I insist on clarifying one point:
        What made Brofessional Review very well known in Lebanon is that it stood out from what was happening; we say things the way they are, we don’t polish because we are freakin sick of what’s happening in this country. in 2012, we should stop claiming that we can make things better through support and good will, it’s only by work and talent.
        My job is to make people aware, and to provide a raw transparent feedback for creatives and NOT to offer solutions.
        I’m not qualified enough to make suggestions and I don’t allow myself to do so; if they did something bad, they should evaluate the work, brainstorm and fix it, nothing more, nothing less.

        Being constructive and supportive is not what I do best, I’m simply a blogger that spots mediocre work and I can never be a spoofed version of mother theresa.

        Please keep your comments coming 🙂

      • I guess you cleared your point of view and your rhetoric, which is the most important step.

        Your readers and followers need to know and they will be your judges.

        Again, I respect your follow up and your honesty.

        I look forward to reading your blog and I hope whoever disagrees publishes their own point of view and refutes what they disagree with you on. It would be great if they commented here to so that readers can get both points of view.

        Keep up the good work you are doing in the world of advertising. I have to say, I learn a lot about the world of media and deign and stay in touch with all the ads in Lebanon through your blog.


      • Admin I said:

        Please stay in touch Adel, we loved your comments 🙂

  3. asameena said:

    Very well said, I was there, and totally agree…. Less bullshit next time, please!

    • Admin I said:

      Thank you, and by the way, we’ve read your book like a year ago.. interesting insights!

      • asameena said:

        Thank you 🙂

  4. Stephanie said:

    Dear Admin I,
    What you wrote is bullshit.
    I respect the freedom of speech & that you felt like writing a blog full of hate about TEDxBeirut for one reason or another. But I have to fully disagree with you. I attended both TEDxBeirut 2011 & 2012 & all their salons & what I can tell you that the organizers have been working really hard on putting it all together in a year. I loved every talk & every speaker. Each had something different to talk about, that something inspiring to share with us. I’m sorry your narrow minded didn’t see that, but hearing people talking during the breaks, trust me a lot were really inspired. & since you mentionned food well let’s talk about that, the food had a diversity for each taste, veggies & non veggies, drinks were there, people were happily full. I say try to pull this off all together, have a committed group of volunteers, get sponsors, reach speakers… Then I bet you wouldn’t mention any hatred word after that.
    Let’s be happy there’s something beautiful, inspiring & bringing people together for once in Beirut.

    • Admin I said:

      Thanks for the time you spent commenting here and on facebook; I didn’t ask for anyone to agree with me as I’m not really writing to receive any sort of recognition and I have absolutely no hidden agenda. This is just my very very subjective opinion.
      I discussed every single point with Patricia in a very respectable high class manner and I do respect your input.
      Thanks again.

  5. Elyse chaccour said:

    All we need is less people who write stupid none sense inappropriate thing like u Mr. !!

  6. Jacob said:

    after reading your post I’m not even sure that we were at the same show. Tedx did a great job gathering smart and committed members of society and giving them a platform to express their thoughts and opinions, something such individuals rarely can do in a bigot country like Lebanon. With the limited means at the organizer’s disposal, they catered to 1200 people just for the sake of improving society. Reading your post, I can’t help but feel you would’ve been better off spending your ticket money on a nice dinner at a fancy restaurant where people can site quietly and enjoy a nice quiet meal. at least then you’d be sure not to be faced by fake emotions (btw, people in lebanon cheer when a plane lands safely… they’re known to be overly emotional. it’s in their blood)

    Honestly, my first thought was to ignore since it’s just a rant at the end of the day and they’re a dime a dozen on the Internet, especially for sites that are starved for traffic (congrats on that spike in analytics. i’m sure it means the world to you). But I decided to comment because it might be possible that you’re really misguided and can’t see that tedx beirut, while admittedly flawed in certain aspects, is one of the few groups trying to improve lebanon rather than dumb it down, and you are putting down that group and offering no alternative. In short, you’re making society stagnate at best and just maybe making it worse.

    • Admin I said:

      Thanks for the decent comment Jacob,
      my previous replies to comments can clarify a lot to you, but I care to add that I do respect what the guys behind TEDx did, and i acknowledged their efforts here and in private emails exchange with the curator herself.
      I’m only asking for better speakers selections because we are done from the chosen stereotypes.
      The event was disappointing to me and to many others, and this is my way of putting thoughts together. I never claimed to be a journalist and it’s indeed not my job to give alternatives..

      Please keep checking BR.

  7. N. said:

    are the individuals who were ‘inspired’ by the talks the same as those who yelled ‘meeuu222’ after rabih el chaher had asked them too?

  8. Annoir said:

    Judging from the reviews I got from my friends and ones that I read concerning last year’s event, I agree with you on several points that you’ve mentioned. First of all, as a newbie at Tedx this year I expected the event to be fruitful and motivational with speakers that would have their words memorable in our minds. Sadly, the level expected was not even close to what I saw in reality. I don’t know how exactly is it, the way they chose or the guidelines they went after to choose this year’s speakers but it is obvious that they were at fault. For example, I didn’t really understand or grasp the inspiration from peter’s speach and a standing ovation was just a little bit over the top. I’m sorry for all of you who stood up to that ending but you could have learned way more from speaches such as Amal Al Dahouk’s who was after a very serious issue that would actually do our country some good. One last thing that I’d like to mention is that I was very frustrated with how much passive we are as a crowd. Walaw? We should learn not to clap whenever somebody utters bullcrap in a leading tone, this is just silly and insulting to a generation educated and well rounded as ours. Tedx this year was just not Ted level. Hopefuly next year they’ll work on this year’s flaws. Great review, very subjective and straight forward. Keep the good work going, our country lacks honest opinions as yours; people who can actually point out errors when they see them!

  9. Fady said:

    Can someone please point me the “interesting” and the “inspiring” part in Charles Elachi’s talk? Or Salim Zwein? Or any other speaker?
    For instance the TED videos were more interesting lol
    if you don’t have a legible counterargument (since a blog is a platform for dicussions) then don’t bash! If you have anything that can make us (the people who did not relate to most of the speakers) change our mind, please post it! Thanks x

  10. Well, i didn’t get the chance to attend TEDx Beirut, nor watched the videos on youtube, so am kind of neutral on this one, i was told Amal Al-Dahouk presented one hell of a show, same goes for Christopher Littlefield, am commenting for a different reason, i can’t see why you are blaming Admin 1 or writing his own review, i mean he might be right, or wrong, but come on people! this is freedom of expression, this is why we resolve to the internet, we blog to express ourselves and promote our ideas! am taking Brofessional Review’s side on this one, sorry TEDx

    • Admin I said:

      I appreciate your comment, and this is exactly what I’ve been trying to say..
      Amal and Chris rocked indeed and I’m Admin I (i) just like your initial by the way 🙂

  11. Well, i didn’t get the chance to attend TEDx Beirut, nor watched the videos on youtube, so am kind of neutral on this one, i was told Amal Al-Dahouk presented one hell of a show, same goes for Christopher Littlefield, am commenting for a different reason, i can’t see why you are blaming Admin 1 or writing his own review, i mean he might be right, or wrong, but come on people! this is freedom of expression, this is why we resolve to the internet, we blog to express ourselves and promote our ideas! am taking Brofessional Review’s side on this one, sorry TEDx 🙂

    • Stephanie said:

      Aade we’re acting the same way as you are.
      I felt insulted about this blog because I attended TEDxBeirut & got inspired, therefore I felt the urge to post my comment.
      You wanted TEDxBeirut team to embrace your bad reviews, you have to embrace people’s too.
      Act as you preach…
      All we need is Peace & Love

      • You replied to me instead of Admin I, am just a reader of this blog 🙂

  12. You are a bit hostile i can say, BR have the right to criticize, its a “review”, some liked it, others didn’t, if you are sure you did a good job and you feel satisfied, let it go! if not you can learn a lot from criticism. good luck next time, am sure you will do your best and it will rock 🙂

    • Admin I said:

      Will sure do, I’m open to criticism but I don’t compromise when it comes to beliefs and principles.. 🙂 Thank you Imad.

      • sorry, pressed the wrong reply button, my comment was for Steph 🙂 cheers

  13. EsteemedAdCritic said:

    For an event with a name that rhymes with FedEx, it surely fails to “deliver”.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: