A Conversation with TED Co-Founder Richard Saul Wurman

I overheard a man say something like I hate making eye contact in photos.  As I turned, there was a man in a very unique, flowing outfit.  Hearing this, I couldn't help but smile and say, "Oh I hate to do that– that and telling people to smile."  We shared just a few more casual bits back and forth, and I went back out to photograph people in the theatre.  

It wasn't until reading an article about Richard Saul Wurman the following day at night that I realized who he was.  Sheesh, I had been talking with the TED co-founder!  What a missed opportunity, I thought to myself – that is until I really mulled it over.  Had I known who he was, perhaps I would have said nothing or tried to play it cool.  I had a real conversation, a real connection with Mr. Wurman (albeit brief).  

The crazy thing is, when I listened to him while photographing from the balcony, I was on the same page as him.  I really loved how he said something like, "When I usually give speeches, I tell people not to take notes.  To take notes is to tell your brain not to remember."  Meanwhile, half the audience was typing away on some sort of device.  

I can't imagine how he feels looking at people going to a conference about connecting, while so many of them are looking down at a screen for most of the day.  I wish there was no social media, no computers, no phones allowed into these events.  Stop, listen, and understand what the speakers are telling you.  Stop living merely in the moment, and let the meaning culminate. I don't know...I just think that's most important thought I took home from the other day.


Richard Saul Wurman, Co-Founder of TED