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!