Good to finally meet you – Michael Highland.

March 14, 2007 — Leave a comment

Just got back from this years TED conference. (Amazing as always.)
Last year I spoke about video games, and decided to play a video I’d seen during press tour in New Zealand of all places. I arrived in Auckland (a stunning place by the way) at about 5AM and figured sleeping was pointless, and so I had some breakfast and rummaged around in my bag. I found a demo DVD. I was so impressed I actually called back to the USA (no idea what time it was) to ask if I could be the first to show this video to the TED audience.
The author turned out to be Michael Highland and he agreed.
Problem was, it was way too long for my 18 minute talk (TED is a very very high download rate of info.) So I worked with Michael and Scot (his producer) to get it down to about 8 minutes.
I then went to TED and despite being horribly ill (perfect timing) I gave the speech and showed the video before going back to die in my hotel room.
It was risky as the video was pretty edgy, and I liked that. I didn’t just want a bland meaningless talk, I wanted to make people think, that’s what TED is all about.
The immediate response was completely random, some good some bad. I sat down by Meg Ryan shortly after and she wasn’t too happy about it, she was thinking of stopping her kids playing games (which I hear she didn’t do – phew!) Others loved it. Many contacted me looking for copies after the show. People were still talking about it a year later!
The coolest part was when I finished my talk, the host of the show said, “Who made that video?”. I told them it was Michael Highland, a student. The host said, he’s invited to the show in 2007.
Now I can’t tell you how tough TED is to get a ticket for. People pay to fly from all over the world, I’ve seen Bono speak there, and if it’s any indication 2008 was sold out at $6,000 a seat before 2007 even happened.
But they did it, they followed through and gave him a free pass.
It was great to meet Michael in person, I imagine he was the youngest person there, yet he amazed me with how good he is at networking. Totally confident. Every time I saw him he was chatting away to someone new. (I had expected him to be a little nervous, but forget about it!)
We also got a fantastic photo together (with Louis Castle from EA), so I’m hoping TED will publish that soon so I can add it to my blog. Had a great time hanging out with Louis this year also.
This is the kind of stuff going on in the room while we were chatting…. (A converted segway, driving around talking to people.)
Anyway I just spotted a post by Michael, so you can read his account: CLICK HERE.

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