TEDxPortland highlights notegraphied

I used to collect quotes and carried them around in a day planner. That habit stopped when day planners went out of style. Recently, I discovered Notegraphy and it quickly became my favorite app for collecting quotes. After attending last Saturday’s TEDxPortland, I decided it’s time to put the app into high gear.

A morning of emotions

TEDxPortland started off with a bang by Aaron Draplin’s talk in light speed. He was spitting out words of wisdom so fast that I could barely get them written down in my notebook. I managed to capture the best one:

Aaron Draplin: Invent your life!

Nong Poonsukwattana was the perfect speaker to follow Aaron. Her personality is as big as his and her life story grounded all of us. She left Thailand to get away from her abusive father. She worked 7 days a week at Thai restaurants and then opened her own food cart. Her parting words for all of us are the simplest of the day:

Nong Poonsukwattana: Make it big!

The perfect inversion of D’Wayne Edwards was a talk full of awesome quotes. The adversity he faced as a black teenager growing up to become an influential shoe designer and losing his brothers and mother through the years was best described by this quote:

Bruce Lee: To hell with circumstances, I create opportunities.

The pros and cons of being an entrepreneur were dissected beautifully by Lisa Sedlar. One day, she was working as a cashier at her new grocery store and talked to a customer who is a mixed martial arts fighter. The guy asked if she practices MMA and she said no. After he left, she realized she has been taking punches like him through all the hardships of starting a new business.

Lisa Sedlar: I can take a punch

Speaking of fights, World War II matured Frank Moore in 15 minutes. He saw young boys of 11-12 years old fighting for Germany. The images of those kids haunted him when his son was born. Later, he struggled through the death of his daughter. His wife of 70+ years helped maintain his sanity and made him realize love is all that matters. There were few dried eyes in the room when we gave the two of them a standing ovation.

Frank Moore: Don't be afraid to receive love.

How to have fun with meaning

G Cody QJ Goldberg taught us the importance and equality of play through the story of building an inclusive playground for his daughter. It is another story about love.

Cody Goldberg: Play = Happiness = Love

According to James Keller, today’s digital natives could avoid becoming digital naive by a simple process:

James Keller: Question > Play > Learn > Repeat

The Jedi of creativity, Zach King made his way to Hollywood through new media – a path that few would think is possible a few years ago. The best lesson he learned when he toured the country was that his work motivated many others to become creative.

Zach King: Create to inspire

Technology meets humanity

The anti-Zuckerberg Jackson Gariety spilled out his talk like poetry. He is an artist that paints in codes.

Jackson Gariety: Art demands openness

Listening is tough work, Zalika Gardner told us. It requires us to give up certainty, quiet our own experiences and make room for others. After all …

Zalika Gardner: Everybody matters

Environmental journalist Andy Revkin made us realize more information does not unite us, instead too much information divides us. We become static when we celebrate great achievement. Our typical view of best practices prevents us from striving for perfection.

Andy Revkin: Get rid of best practices

Perhaps wireless electricity would be one way to solve global warming. Eric Giler showed us it is not merely a dream. The technology has arrived and it is safer to use than holding a cellphone against our brain. Typical household batteries are outrageously expensive compared to our ancient electric grid.

Eric Giler: Cost of Electricity: 10 cents / kW from the grid; $300 / kW from AA battery

Determination led Isaiah Holt to give up early release from prison in order to finish his studies to become a licensed electrician. We were wowed by how he turned his life around. Everyday, he wakes up and asks himself three questions:

Isaiah Holt: What do you want to accomplish? How long is it going to take? Am I doing what it takes?

A Q&A with Macklemore wrapped up a perfect day. Same Love is more than just a song but a declaration for the right to love.

Macklemore: All human beings deserve the right to love who they want to love and nobody has the right to tell them otherwise.

Thank you TEDxPortland. I hope to see you again next year.


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