Chris Anderson (TED): A vision for TED | Summary and Q&A

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Chris Anderson (TED): A vision for TED


Chris Anderson shares his personal journey of success, failure, and rediscovery as he takes over as TED's new custodian, emphasizing the importance of curiosity, diversity, and the pursuit of knowledge.

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Key Insights

  • πŸ“ˆ Chris talks about his previous success in the business world, but then shares his experience of losing everything and feeling like a "loser" during the dotcom crash.
  • πŸ’‘TED has been a platform for people to share their ideas and experiences during times of transition and uncertainty, providing inspiration and support for its attendees.
  • 🌍 Chris discusses the interconnectedness of various fields of knowledge and the importance of understanding multiple perspectives to gain a comprehensive understanding of a topic.
  • 😊 Chris emphasizes the importance of happiness and the different ways it can be studied, including biochemically, psychologically, and in terms of its evolutionary origins.
  • 🧠 The TED conference offers a unique experience where attendees are exposed to a wide range of topics and disciplines, resulting in a stimulating and energizing effect on their brains.
  • πŸ› Chris discusses his vision for TED, assuring that he will not change its core values of truth, curiosity, diversity, and avoiding corporate influence.
  • 🎀 Chris plans to curate an exceptional lineup of speakers for future TED conferences, leveraging the community's vast network to attract interesting and compelling individuals.
  • πŸ“š Chris plans to extend the TED experience throughout the year with a book club, sending regular shipments of books and fostering ongoing conversations within the TED community.


This is your conference, and I think you have a right to know a little bit right now, in this transition period, about this guy who's going to be looking after it for you for a bit. So, I'm just going to grab a chair here. Two years ago at TED, I think -- I've come to this conclusion -- I think I may have been suffering from a strange delusion. I t... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: How did Chris Anderson's experiences during the dotcom crash impact his personal well-being?

The dotcom crash had a profound effect on Anderson, both financially and emotionally. He witnessed the collapse of his businesses, significant job losses, and a steep decline in his net worth. As a result, he felt a deep sense of disappointment and saw his self-worth deteriorate, causing immense personal anguish.

Q: Why did Anderson believe that reading was integral to his rediscovery and personal growth?

Anderson mentions that during a time of reflection, he rekindled his love for reading and realized that advancements in various fields had occurred while he was solely focused on business. This realization ignited a sense of excitement and curiosity within him, drawing him to explore new ideas and connect different areas of knowledge.

Q: How does Anderson intend to maintain the essence of TED as its new custodian?

Anderson affirms that TED's core values, such as truth, curiosity, and diversity, will remain paramount under his custodianship. He emphasizes that TED will continue to be a platform for genuine intellectual exploration, free from corporate influence and sales pitches.

Q: How does Anderson plan to extend the TED experience beyond the annual conference?

Anderson aims to introduce a TED book club, where attendees of TED2003 will receive regular shipments of books linked to TED talks. This initiative will foster ongoing conversations and allow participants to have a shared intellectual and emotional journey throughout the year, culminating in the following year's conference.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Chris Anderson reflects on his past success as a business owner and the subsequent challenges and failures he faced during the dotcom crash.

  • He highlights how his rediscovery of reading and the interconnectedness of various fields of knowledge led him to appreciate the value of TED as a platform for exploration and learning.

  • Anderson outlines his vision for TED, promising to uphold its core values, curate exceptional speakers, establish a TED book club, and use TED's proceeds to support impactful causes through the Sapling Foundation.

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