Over the weekend, I got to attend a Tedx event organized by DePaul University at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago with a good friend. The theme was Curators and Creators, which means that the presenters all talked about their own creations, their own businesses, their own project and their own ideas. It was great to hear from some of my Chicago neighbors and hear about their journeys. Here are some of my favorite moments from the talks:
George Aye, who founded the Greater Good Studio with his wife, talked about his work with the public transit system. What really stood out from his talk, however, can apply to everyone. He talked about a Kickstarter campaign the studio ran and how miserably it failed. While disappointing at the time, Aye talked about how freeing it was to fail. Your fear disappears after you fail, because at that point, you realize you have nothing left to lose. For me, there is nothing more inspiring than a great failure story from a successful person. Too often, we do not hear about the failures that lead up to the success.
Elaine Cherno, one of the founding members behind Quite Strong, talked about how her organization formed. She kept repeating that none of them really thought they had any merit to do what they’ve done, and yet they built a successful organization, put on successful conferences and finished numerous successful projects. Her advice was to follow your inclinations, don’t ask yourself ‘who am I to do this?’ but simply go for it instead.
Dan McComas, founder of RedditGifts, talked about why redditgifts works. The concept behind the website developed from a suggestion that the reddit community do a Secret Santa exchange. The response was so strong that the idea developed into a year round gift exchange cycle between complete strangers. McComas talked about why he thinks this works and referenced Michael Norton’s talk called ‘How to buy happiness’. In the video, Norton talks about how it is indeed possible to buy happiness, but only when you spend the money on others.
Doug Zell of Intelligentsia Coffee talked about company branding. What really stood out for me was when he talked about making choices deliberately and ignoring distractions. There are so many tempting shortcuts one can take in their business, Zell talked about resisting these temptations and remaining true to the beliefs that the company was founded on.
Overall, I was very happy to be able to attend the event. It was fun, informative and included wine, snacks and gifts :) (photo courtesy of MammothBooth)