Behind TED's Global Talent Search

Today we unveiled the video results of a round-the-world tour.  It's a wonderful collection of 293 talks and performances, most of them shorter than 6 minutes. 

TED's Content Director Kelly Stoetzel and I attended special salons in 14 cities on six continents hosted by our local TEDx partners.  Our goal was to find new talent to invite to California early next year for our TED2013 conference whose theme is "The Young. The Wise. The Undiscovered."  

Here's what typically happened:
- hundreds of people had applied online for each event, giving a summary of what they wanted to do or say, and including a one-minute youtube video application. 
- these had been combed through in advance and the best 20-30 selected for the salon.
- we arrived the prior day and began a series of rehearsals with each speaker.
- the Salons themselves lasted a couple hours, watched by a local audience ranging in size from 150-600.

Kelly and I were thrilled by the overall quality of what we saw. We were hoping that one or two people in each location would merit an invite to TED2013, and we ended up excited at many more than that. But the whole process has been an experiment in crowd-sourcing talent, and you now have a crucial role to play!

We're eager for as many people as possible to view these videos and tell us which ones you'd love to see more of.  Just to give you a sense of the variety here, they include:
- a virtuoso violinist
- the inventor of a water-less bath
- a lesson in Vedic mathematics
hiphop dancers who use sign language
- a cabbage-catapulting comedian
- a National Geographic photographer of dangerous animals
- a 13-year-old Masai boy who invented a lighting system to scare off lions

We suspect some of the above should get TED2013 invites, others probably not... but we're going to be reading every public comment before we finally make up our minds. And there are scores of other remarkable videos in the collection -- powerful personal stories, scientific discoveries, ingenious inventions, provocative ideas, gorgeous artistic endeavors and much more.

If you discover someone you really like, please share that link. If you do so on Twitter, use the hashtag #TEDTalentSearch. You'll be giving that speaker/performer a real gift.  (And if you come across someone you really don't want to see more of, it's good to share that too via the comment section.)

We'll make our final decisions on who to invite in September. Meanwhile, this video collection can act as its own generator of ideas worth spreading.