Tuesday, October 23, 2012


My friends and I attended TEDxSalford on Sunday. Such a great experience filled with inspirational and funny talks. It was one hell of a crazy day, we had to catch a train at 7:13 am and my alarm decided not to ring! Does it happen to anyone? They set an alarm but it doesn't ring? And yes I made sure its AM not PM. Anyways my friends woke me up and I rushed to the train station and caught the next train to Manchester.

We started our day with coffee from the Starbucks in Leeds' train station had a bit of a chat about random things till our train. We did a bit more talking and wishing we don't miss any of the talks especially Sir Ian Wilmut's as we basically decided to go because of him.
My name on my friend's latte. 
Tram ticket

We used the tram from Manchester Victoria to the MediaCity as suggested by the helpful people from @TEDxSalford on twitter. I liked how easy it was to find the right tram and the helpful points on each stop. The funniest thing about the whole day was the "r" on the stage that spelled Salford. It just didn't want to stand still and almost every speaker did something to it!

Morning Session A

Salil Shetty

We reached The Lowry in MediaCity just in time for the first talk given by Salil Shetty. He's a human rights' activist working for Amnesty International. He started off his talk by telling us how people told him not to be predictable and he decided to start off by dancing the Gangam Style. He did start dancing but he stopped after a few seconds. I REALLY wished he did dance but the few seconds he did were enough to get my full attention for the rest of his talk. He talked about his experience with injustice and how he dealt with it. He has a campaign going on with the hashtag #50shadesoffair (I thought it was a really catchy hashtag!) Join his campaign, share your story of injustice or someone you know.

Sir Ian Wilmut

The second talk was by Sir Ian Wilmut, the person we've all been looking forward to hear him talk. To those who don't know who he is then he's Dolly the sheep's dad. The man who cloned the first sheep. He gave an interesting talk on how they created Dolly the sheep. He is now working on developing new treatments for human diseases using stem cells. I found the talk interesting and easy to understand as I'm a geneticist but he got into too much details that maybe some people wouldn't have understood. All in all, it was nice hearing Dolly's story.

Felicity Goodey
The third speaker was Felicity Goodey, she gave a talk about MediaCity and all about it. I haven't payed much attention during her talk but from what I understood a LOT of work has been put to make the MediaCity the way it is. I remember during her talk thinking why don't we have something similar in Oman. It would be really nice to have something similar, an inspirational place to hang out in.

Louie Schwartzberg

Before the ending of the first session, a TEDTalk video was played that literally gave me goosebumps all through it. The way he talks, the pictures shown, everything about it was showing God's work on earth. The talk was by a photographer known as Louie Schwartzberg. You can watch the video here as I can't explain how much I liked it!

After the first session, my friends and I went to explore The Lowery Outlet Mall. Decided there is nothing good enough and went back for session B.

Morning Session B

Debra Searle
The first talk after the break was by Debra Searle, the woman who doesn't want to be known as the person her husband left her in the Atlantic. She's an adventurist who rowed the Atlantic solo after her husband developed an uncontrollable fear of the ocean. Honestly, this was the most inspirational talk in TEDxSalford. The woman spoke really well, taking us through her journey. I laughed and teared and I couldn't stop talking about. I also would like to mention she believed she could row the Atlantic, I believe I can make a unicorn (I actually tweeted that during the event :p)

Julie Meyer
Following Debra, was Julie Meyer who gave a talk on entrepreneurship. I felt like Julie came out of a Legally Blonde movie, she looks like a typical business woman! I have always admired successful women and Julie is one that worked her way up to her position. I really didn't enjoy the talk much as I'm not really interested in her field. It had too much details I couldn't care less about. I might regret this one day when I actually end up wanting to start my own project but I don't think its a problem as I can re-watch her video on the TEDxSalford website :p

Joseph Incandela
Joseph Incandela spoke next about Higgs boson. Too much physics, a subject I REALLY hate and he went into too much details as well. I couldn't keep up with it at all. Not my cup of tea.

Davide Swarup
The last performance in the morning session was a musical one played by Davide Swarup. He played a weird looking instrument made in Switzerland that looked like a Chinese wok its amazing how that thing was able to make so many different sounds. The piece played was something you'd hear while meditating or thinking about stuff. I personally thought of 2 thinks while he was playing: success and my father! It was interesting to begin with but I felt there was a lot of repetition and at some point it got too long and wished it will end.

During the lunch break my friends and I had lunch at Burger King and then went out to snap a few shots of the lovely place, it was sunny so double thumbs up!!!

Evening Session A

Ken Shamrock
After the lunch break, the first speaker for the evening session was Ken Shamrock a former WWE wrestler, he's been titled "The World's Most Dangerous Man". He gave a talk about his childhood and how his father has helped him to be the man he is today. He is working on a project making a foster home for kids to be able to guide them in the right way. 

Etienne Stott
Ken was followed by Etienne Stott, a canoeist who won the gold medal in the London Olympics 2012. He gave an interesting talk about his journey to the gold medal that he showed around with pride. I was lucky enough to take a picture with him and held the gold medal which was surprisingly heavier than I thought it would be. He's a really nice man with a great big smile!

Paul Zenon
Following Etienne was Paul Zenon the most HILARIOUS man I've heard speak. He's a magician but the talk he gave wasn't about magic tricks. He talked about Security and Reasons. Told us a bunch of funny things he does in airports and some logical things about laws that don't really make sense. For example, putting your liquids in a clear bag. Why does it have to be in a clear bag if its going to get x-rayed anyways! Funny funny talk!!

Jim Al-Khalili
Jim Al-Khalili spoke next about quantum biology, a very detailed explanation about how mutations in DNA occur. I knew some of the things he mentioned from my modules but it was fun listening to something I actually know about and understand. Funny thing happened with this man, my friends and I wanted a picture with Jim the host (Jim Dickinson) and whenever we ask people we want a picture with him they send us to Jim Al-Khalili. We finally managed to take a picture with both Jims after some awkward moments :p
Pranav Mistry
Following Jim's talk was a TEDTalk given by an Indian student, Pranav Mistry. This guy is AMAZING. The things he has done were beyond amazing I still can't believe such thing could happen. Take a look at the video here!

Evening Session B

John Robb
The last session started with a talk by John Robb a punk rock & roll singer. The first thing he did that shocked EVERYONE and you could hear gasps and laughs was break the "r" that no one stopped tweeting and talking about. He then continued his talk about how you should go out and do your own music without waiting for approval from someone. He dissed the Xfactor and everything to do with that show. He talked about needing a revolution for people to start making their own music and brining back life to rock&roll. Good hair cut I must say :p

Next was Geoff Burch, his voice was HILARIOUS. I really thought he was making that voice and it wasn't his normal one. He's a business guru that looks at business success. I really don't remember what his talk was exactly about but I remember him using animals as examples, dodos and pigs. I still laugh whenever I remember his voice. May I add that he's one of those people who wear shades indoors. Just because he's funny I'll let that slip
Ray Hammond
Following Geoff was Ray Hammond a futurist. His talk was about how in the future computers will be as capable as humans. He talked about evolution and how we reached life so far. How numbers and letters brought us till today. Such stuff I felt bored somewhere while he was talking maybe because its not something I'm interested in.

And finally, the last talk of the TEDxSalford was by the rapper AKALA. He gave us a history lesson about rapping and where it originated from. He was trying to tell us that rapping started a LONG time ago and was a cultural thing back in Africa. It has moved to the states as well as around the world after africans started immigrating to the states and the rest of the world. In the past, there were certain people in society that spoke on behalf of people through poems sharing their views about political matters as well as other things. Those people would memorize a LOT of LONG poems for such things. It was a good talk and learned a lot from it.

I must say the host Jim Dickinson made everything perfect with his funny comments, gotta love the man!! Spending the day at the TEDxSalford was an amazing day full of mind blowing inspirational talks. I'm definitely looking forward to attend more TEDx events and learn a bit more.

You can follow TEDxSalford through Facebook, twitter and their official website that will have the videos from the day up sometime soon!