On a recent chilly Friday morning in December, we found ourselves down at the Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg. Along with a host of other delegates, we were lucky enough to attend the second TEDxBrooklyn conference. 2011's theme was "Redefining Better," a concept that is rooted in both the TED spirit as well as the American Dream itself.
The day promised much and was full of intrigue and insight. Sadly, we only attended the morning talks, but we were fortunate enough to catch sessions given by Ruth Ozeki, Jullien Gordon, Chad Dickerson, Susannah Drake, Farai Chideya, Laurie Cumbo and Brian Meece, who covered topics from urban regeneration to gentrification and crowdsourcing funds for scientific endeavors such as Bio-Archaeology.
Personal highlights included Jullien Gordon and Chad Dickerson. Gordon, a Purpose Finder and CEO of the Department of Motivated Vehicles, asked us to literally redefine the concept of "success." He argued that concepts and words are merely our way of interpreting the world around us, and that as the world around us has changed, shouldn't we be employing a new lexicon rather than just inheriting the definition of "success" handed to us by our parents? He tasked us to take authorship of our goals by systematically (re)defining the concepts/words most important to us and then directing our actions to best realize these newly minted measures.
Chad Dickerson, the newly installed CEO of Etsy, opened the door to Hacker Culture. Although Dickerson has a tech background, having been CTO of Etsy and led the Advanced Products team at Yahoo!, he doesn’t view hacking to be a technological enterprise. For him, and many others, hacking is an attitudinal pursuit and somewhere between libertarianism and the mindset of being in perpetual beta. He encouraged us to be explorers and maintain a healthy skepticism to the way things are, as there are always new methods and combinations in everything we do.
-Yin Chung, Associate Director of Digital Strategy, Doremus New York