Collecting beautiful little things from the TED Community.

Many darks things in the news these last few weeks (perhaps months, at this point). While it was hard to block it out and re-center for a while, I found my peace in my communities. We cannot let the darkness win, so instead, let us celebrate the good we create together and the beautiful, little things. These are a few things from my community within TED that brought some light and healing into the week.

This week, I briefly caught up with a friend (and previous co-worker) who went to Baton Rouge a week ago to join the protests when we ran into each other in the Strand, unplanned. I was standing over a shelf of books, looking for Andrew Soloman’s newly published collection of essays,¬†but also taking my quiet moment of solace in my favorite of sacred spaces (bookstores). She was taking a break from her office, trying to digest everything that she had seen and experienced, while trying to integrate back into New York. We bought sought that moment of peace over a table of books. I looked up to see her beaming, even through her complicated thoughts and reflections. While it took me a moment to process who I was seeing in front of me, her warmth made my face involuntarily break into an easy smile. That was a moment I needed and celebrate, even while so much else was brewing in the background. Andrew’s TED2014 talk offers some moments of his own healing:

This talk from Adam Savage at TED2016 is a series of beautiful little moments in a very creative community. It was amazing to watch coworkers post this talk this week alongside pictures of their children creating their own costumes, memories from their own adventures in make-believe worlds, and artists sharing stories from their own creative communities.

I went to see Finding Dory this week in a movie theatre with my partner. I forgot how magical Pixar’s movies are. There are characters we’re joking about a week later and scenes I described to my mother, hoping she would go see it too so we could talk about them. It reminds me of the talk from TEDTalks Live this past fall where lighting designer Danielle Feinberg talked about the effect of color and light in animated stories.

I appreciate them even more than I used to, because we work so closely to the amazing animators behind TED-Ed’s Lessons.

This team puts so much love into their work. It’s visible in their work and their willingness to teach others about their craft. They regularly volunteer to do workshops in the rest of our community (and get extremely positive feedback, because they are amazing teachers!) and one animator even teaches art classes regularly in a school in her community!

A friend asked me to send her a talk that gave me hope, and I was grateful to return to this talk by May El-Khalil. Peace is a marathon… we have to build our endurance because in the long run, love will win.

I was also deeply inspired by our community this week. The TED residents gave talks about the projects they are working on, and my friend Sheryl, who is a TEDx organizer and immigration attorney, talked about the value of immigration and immigrant stories in the US. It was the perfect antidote to the waves of far right backlash in politics right now.

Sheryl Winareck, TED Residents talks, July 2016
Sheryl Winareck, TED Residents talks, July 2016

I am grateful to be part of this community today and every day. The optimism is infectious and the common belief holding us together is a share love for ideas, experiments, creative growth, and hope for a better future. We see the good, here and now, but we also see what we could become and we celebrate it.

I want to end with an essay written by TED’s CEO, Chris Anderson on the value of ideas. It was the hope in the dark we needed, just after the Brexit vote… Ideas matter, more than ever.

Why ideas matter … now more than ever

Email Footnoting (It’s more fun than it sounds)

Yesterday I helped a friend doing some user testing for the UI on an email application he is building for mobile. The colors and lay out are designed to help you sort through massive numbers of emails very quickly.

In the group testing this email option there were several different kinds of behaviors:

  • InBox Zero: the person who tries to answer and manage emails as quickly as possible and then tagging, archiving and moving on
  • Delete Nothing, Read 5%: the person who has 15,000 unread emails in their inbox. We all know someone…
  • Designated Email Time: this person sets aside a specific time block for reading and responding to emails. This means some days are rough and cannot possibly be interested in the time designated for the task.

I fall in the InBox Zero: read, reply, tag, archive. The only emails that stay in my inbox are either 1) Unread — these are either new or I have read them and need to set aside a time to respond to them or 2) Read, but in my inbox because I have responded to them and need to keep an eye on the project/idea/conversation for follow up, should the need for some prodding for a response arise.

I played with the app and its UI for a while. I don’t have enough emails for some of the primary functions on it (handling massive numbers of emails with tags and boomeranging them to a later date), but it was fun to talk through the UI architecture concept.

I was asked, what would you like to see in an email app?

I would LOVE it if I could add a notes section to my emails. Since the emails in my inbox have very specific reasons for being there… I’d love to be able to add a sticky or a comment bubble that reminds me:

  1. what I need to do before I respond to this email,
  2. what the next steps are with this email/project/train of thought,
  3. what we are waiting for,
  4. any other relevant notes to the project.

When someone makes this happen… can you let me know? Email footnotes would be extremely helpful!