Expectations were high before the first TEDx event in Puerto Rico. Many people shared their anticipation when I talked to them before the event. Most simply stated that they were there because it was a TED affiliated conference.
There was a limited audience invited for the conference. Only 100 candidates were selected, of the over one thousand requests. This is a limitation that TED Conferences imposes on all new TEDx events. This barrier caused many local social media users to express their disgust with the process and the exclusion it caused.
Failure to Scale = Success
I'd like to make one thing clear to everyone. Pissing people off because they couldn't register for an event is a great problem to have. Let's reframe this. 900+ people in Puerto Rico wanted to attend the TEDx San Juan Conference! People are hungry for ideas. What a optimistic signal!
Yes we are hungry for ideas. We're also looking for leaders. We need daring and passionate enthusiasts who pick out a cause, or the cause picks them and they willing accept all of the sacrifices and consequences in making the impossible happen.
Failure to Share = Epic Fail
A conference about ideas is about freedom. As more than one of the speeches reminded us, our education requires great sacrifice, but it demands freedom. Conferences like TED, are about freedom to ideas. We want to be told stories that inspire us. We want to organize around those ideas.
Unfortunately, many people, I think, may have jumped to the wrong conclusion. I would excuse them if they did reach the wrong conclusion. It is our nature to fill in our information gaps with the worst possible thing imaginable. It could be a tiger!
We need to tell the story of TEDx San Juan. Why are the organizers investing all of their volunteer time to make this event happen? However, part of being able to tell that story, we must tell them what the rules are. According to Jono Bacon in "The Art of Community", one of the basic foundations of communities is trust. We have to be as open as we can to give them the whole story.
I talked to one of the organizers and we agreed that, if nothing else we celebrate TEDx San Juan for having told us this one story: I am not alone. You are not alone. They are others. And they're here and in many different places around the world. Many speakers talked of transformation, to becoming fueled by passion. Recently, George Lucas shared this about Steve Jobs
"He believed in something that no one could see, and he followed that path wherever it led him, against all odds and against all doubters."People like Steve are in all of Puerto Rico's municipalities, reaching for their star, to quote Justo Méndez, who kicked everything off yesterday. He set the tone for day of wonderful stories, passionately told. Well done.