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TEDxVilnius – I Wish You Could Have Joined Us

I wish you could have been with us on Feruary 22nd, 2014. Flash and I just returned from Vilnius, Lithuania. It was an amazing time. Working with the vast majority of the speakers for a couple of months ahead of time. Then working with all of them at the run through the day before. And all along the way, meeting many wonderful, dedicated people who are IN ACTION about what they love… It was awesome and inspiring. You’d have loved it. Being with people like this renews my hope for humanity. Our visit was given an especially poignant layer by current events in the Ukraine which are being closely and deeply felt in Lithuania.  It brought home to me, yet again, how much the world needs the kind of people TEDx events bring together. I’m so grateful that TED had the profound courage to share their brand with the world like this.

And, I’m so grateful that people who organize and attend TEDx events so often take further action on what inspires them.

The young and sophisticated curators of TEDxVilnius, Rūta Kruliauskaitė & Justina Stašelytė are, at the same time, very experienced and yet completely un-jaded and still in awe, as it if were their first event. The entire team that organized TEDxVilnius is definitely top notch. It was a tremendous pleasure to work with them.

Here is a link to the homepage: And a direct link to the speeches online:

Any of these talks that interest you will richly reward your time for watching them. I’ve got them playing over and over in the background so I can feel like I’m still hanging out with these lovely humans. Below this photo is a rundown.

John Bates and Flash
John and Flash waving at TEDxVilnius


Carl talked about inspiring kids about science and why the world is experiencing a deep deficit of teachers. Then, Vaiva ,Vytautas &  Julija gave us the first look at their formula for why teaching is such an awesome profession. The takeaway from these two talks seems to be an indictment of the current systems and a celebration of the people who take on teaching, in any form.  Paulius inspired us to go outside and do real experiments, Michael made us scream with laughter with children’s descriptions of scientists and Gabe, who’s been a hero of mine for a while, gave us a look at the power of Gamifying our lives to be more productive and have more fun, too. Amazing first session.

Carl Barstad | If You Want To Change The World, Inspire A Kid
Vaiva Vyšniauskaitė, Vytautas Miežys, Julija Ladygienė | Being A Teacher = Amazing
Paulius Lukas Tamošiūnas | Re-Open The Door To Your Science Lab
Michael Brooks | Release the Learners!
Gabe Zichermann | The Future of Creativity and Innovation is Gamification

Direct link to the speeches online:


This session opened with a great dance performance. Something TED events are known for doing. This makes a real difference in how the event feels and how well people retain the things they learn. It rounds things out. Then, Mindaugas talked about how actually being Green might just look Brown, using the city of Vilnius as a template. It was an interesting look at Vilnius for me, too. Then, Carlo talked about hacking the Automotive Indutry in one of the more surprising talks, for me. How did I miss this till now!? Wow? Koen then talked about another way to build cities. I guess it makes sense for a Dutchman to talk about floating cities! Imagine floating Olympic Stadiums right off Long Island!  Intriguing second session.

Liūdni slibinai | Musical Performance
Mindaugas Pakalnis | Future of Our Cities – Green or Brown?
Carlo de Micheli | OSVehicle – How We Hack The Automotive Industry
Koen Olthuis  | Top 10 trends Towards Floating Cities

Direct link to the speeches online:


In this third session Peter inspired us with his willingness to just keep on trying, and finally finding his way to both outer space and what you might call inner space, the depths of the Ocean! WOW. Ieva talked about her journey to being someone who brings sight to the blind using implants. Then, Sean talked about synthetic biology and the similarity of musical complexity and biological complexity which is how (besides just being a genius) he went from working with music to working with synthetic life forms. And, as if that wasn’t enough to blow your mind, Giorgio talked about making robots beautiful; the kinds of machines we’d want to welcome into our homes and lives. I guess it makes sense that an Italian would make this argument! Lovely! Finally, in a truly amazing mesh or Technology and Art, Tomas, a Lithuanian performer, blew our minds with his solo musical performance! A must see.

(Update! Peter Madsen at TEDxVilnius was featured at TEDxTalks:;Featured-Talks#)

Peter Madsen | From The Depths of The Sea All the Way to Space
Ieva Sliesoraitytė | Restoring Vision: Today and Tomorrow
Sean Ward | How Synthetic Biology Is Exploring Biological Complexity
Giorgio Metta | Robo Aesthetics: a New Breed of Machines
Tomas Dobrovolskis | Musical Performance

Direct link to the speeches online:

16:40-18:30 SESSION 4 | TO LIVE IN

Again, opening the session with a mind blowing performance, LowAir took us on a roller coaster with their absolutely lovely, emotional, amazing and athletically beautiful performance. Then, in one of the most viewed speeches so far, Eugenijus shared his expertise in the realm of relationship building and the first few months of life to let us know that all we need is love (or 2 years of psychotherapy! ;). Then, Peter talked about the real, big, and doable things we can do about global warming in a way that made sense and in fact demonstrated many other benefits, global warming aside! Finally, Kingsley talked about the power of Diasporas and how much of a difference they can make for their coutries [or, I would add, groups] of origin. I think that everyone who was at this TEDx is now a part of our TEDxVilnius Diaspora! A great ending to a great final session.

LowAir | Performing Arts
Eugenijus Laurinaitis | All We Need Is Love…
Peter Boyd | Solving Climate Change | Society’s Great Opportunity Masked As A Crisis
Kingsley Aikins | Diaspora Matters

Direct link to the speeches online:

All in all, it was a great honor to do my part in working with these speakers. The TEDxVilnius team is a group of absolute professionals who are all volunteers and who not only created an essentially flawless event, but who have impacted their entire country in the process. My hat is off to you, and all those like you, all around the world. You are making a difference. You are making it cool to care and being a beacon for others who care. I’m happy to be here on Earth, with you, now!

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