Its 7am and I'm early for events today. Every morning so far there have been a variety of unpublished breakfasts on a wide variety of topics that you were supposed to RSVP for.
Lunch operates the same way. There's one 'community lunch' and then a number of sponsored public lunches, and other unpublished ones. It gives me the sense that within TED there remain layers of exclusivity.
I'm cool with it, and happy to be invited to the party at all.
The vertical lunches and breakfasts serve a nice purpose getting people interested in specific areas together for extended social interaction.
I love the diversity of the presentations at TED. Having a mix of live music, dance performances, technology demonstrations and permaculture presentations brings together a wide range of people and encourages cross disciplinary thinking. The breakfast and lunches provide a more focused counter point to that.
The organizers put effort into facilitating connections between participants. Before the confernce they send a bunch of emails encouraging people to fill out their profiles. They suggest people you might want to interact with at the event, and provide a book with pictures of all the attendees and their profiles as part of the bag of schwag they hand out during registration. As much as connecting me with specific people, reading thru the profiles helped convince me of the power of the community and to take the interactions seriously.
Its definitely been a great conference, and there's alot to learn from it in how to conduct events.
I'm looking forward to TED India Nov 5-7 in Mysore.