Ideas Worth Sharing at TEDxUbud

TEDxUbud is coming to town! For the fourth year running, the highly successful TED affiliate is setting up camp in pretty little Ubud, and we can’t wait.

Launched on May 6th 2011, TEDxUbud has grown and grown into the oversubscribed behemoth it is today. The event will take place at the award-winning Five Elements resort over a full day on the 6th September and will bring together some of the best thinkers around. There will be fourteen live talks and performances and two pre-recorded films. In true TED style, each talk will last eighteen minutes or less from speakers who are either inspiring Indonesia or inspired by Indonesia.


What is TED?

Billed as the most successful online lecture series, TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) clocked upward of 1 billion views from around the world throughout 2013. Since its inception thirty years ago, the non-profit organisation has allowed some of the world’s most forward thinking pioneers, entrepreneurs and freethinkers a world platform to showcase their skills and influence. The talks teach new ways of viewing life and encourage viewers to question current formats and ideals.

TED strives to bring together some of the best talent the world has to offer and hold them up in one room for a full day, in the interest of world-changing ideas. Often hugely interactive, with a handpicked audience, TED showcases lectures on natural phenomena, politics, education, charity, science, feats of endurance, sex, business, athletic and musical performances, dance, art, literature, large scale global initiatives, tiny local life-changing movements and even interesting takes on misdirection and magic. No subject is out of bounds, as long as there is an idea that is, as their slogan announces, ‘Worth Spreading’.

If you have never experienced TED, try streaming a lecture on a topic of interest with your morning coffee. It’s like WD40 for the brain gears.

What is TEDxUbud?

TED has become so popular in the thirty years since its inception that the demand for more of its juicy brain food has resulted in a huge worldwide following, keeping the online content highly subscribed. With such huge demand, a great many community based affiliates have also popped up around the globe. Backed by TED, these indie events celebrate the game-changers that have been instrumental in seeing the world progress while, importantly, progressing their own world close to home. From TEDxKrakow to TEDxDubai and all of the gaps in between, these fantastic events have been spreading the ‘TED-ing’ and making life a little bit better by leading the way, one community at a time. TEDxUbud is Bali’s contribution to the TED empire.

TEDxUbud favours

The event runs on the collective legs of an army of volunteers who dedicate themselves to beautiful presentation, fantastic entertainment and seamless organisation.

Last year, TEDxUbud brought us some fine performances to great ovation from the audience. A range of Indonesian musicians, a human-trafficking activist and even a world champion yo-yo performer took to the stage to make TEDxUbud 2013 an event to remember.

This year TEDxUbud brings together an eclectic range of thinkers and artists, crafting their Indonesian inspired labours of love and showing them off for our curiosity and pleasure. Whether designing the ultimate delectable dessert, composing the perfect jazz piece or shooting down injustice with stand-up comedy, this year’s speakers have dedicated all they have to the purposes of education, innovation, beauty and passion.

Expect eyes wide open, squeezed tight with laughter or fighting back tears, sometimes all within the same speech.

Why Ubud?

For a long time now, the name Ubud has been synonymous with art and culture. Home to some brilliant minds, the creative and entrepreneurial hive is always evolving as new ideas pass through or find themselves charmed to a halt and opting to stay for a while. These ideas float around, soaking up inspiration from the surroundings and the people that thrive in the hive, and often they come out stronger on the other side.

The event presents to a community at a crossroads of tradition and progression with an incredible thirst for knowledge. Ubud is the ideal host for forward thinkers and has thus become the perfect place for a TEDx.

The beauty of the surroundings and the fantastic community spirit all add up to an impressive package. Already home to the annual Writers and Readers Festival and the Ubud Jazz Festival, the endlessly charming town seems to grab hold of the minds and hearts of many brilliant and passionate people, and usually it doesn’t let go.

Nowhere is this more obvious than the relatively fresh community work hub, Hubud. Hubud is a co-working space with spectacular views, unmatched internet connectivity (quite a big deal in Bali) and, most importantly, free coffee. With weekly development workshops and a collaborative atmosphere that encourages skill sharing, Hubud is one of the big attractions that is bringing more and more great thinkers to one of the world’s homes of culture and creativity. Hubud alone boasts almost enough members to fill the TEDxUbud audience, regardless of the already longstanding local community of celebrated artists and artisans.

In 2012, TEDxUbud clocked 36,786 combined volunteer hours across the entire production and each year more and more volunteers from the community are honoured to sign up. The local enthusiasm is testament to the desire for learning that Ubud inspires.

And it’s not just a good platform. Ubud itself benefits from the regular celebratory events that are dotted throughout the calendar. Keeping the Ubud community at the peak of their game by constantly enriching their minds helps to keep the town on top. Events like TEDx raise Ubud’s reputation on the world stage, which begets further encouragement and funding for potential future projects.

Besides, there aren’t many places in the world that you can host a sell out event amongst lush jungle and rice paddies. Ubud is all heart and no high-rise; a pretty little town, full of ideas worth sharing.

Who’s going to be there?

This year, TEDxUbud has one of their most exciting line-ups to date. Fourteen big names, either from Indonesia or significantly associated with Indonesia, will be presenting. InBali is excited about all of them, but below is a small sample of what we can expect.

Sakdiyah Ma’ruf

Sakdiyah is making waves on the comedy circuit around Indonesia as one of the first female Indonesian Muslim stand up comics. Her career choice has seen her scrutinised and criticised but not defeated, in a country where women’s rights are not easily publicly addressed.

Sakdiyah uses her uncompromising comedy to fight the moral fight, stand up for women’s rights and highlight injustice across Indonesia. Equal parts wit and wisdom beyond her youth, we can’t wait to see her shred the unjust and slay a few naysayers when she takes the spotlight in September.

Cindy Gallop

Cindy’s career has seen her develop several very successful businesses and be awarded Advertising Woman of the Year. She currently ranks highly in the 100 most influential tech women on Twitter.

The self-confessed fan of taxidermy, Tokyo, martinis and younger men is the founder of IfWeRanTheWorld and MakeLoveNotPorn. IfWeRanTheWorld is a hybrid social networking and marketing enterprise with aim of changing good intentions into actions. The site encourages the individual to change the world through a sharing of microactions in the movement toward a greater good. Similar to crowd-funding sites, users band together and pledge to perform actions, requesting help from others in the online community, toward whichever goal they deem worthy, no matter how great or small.

MakeLoveNotPorn is a porn alternative network that allows its users to spend and make money on homemade sex videos, sans cheesy porn dialogue and pizza boy plot lines. Subscribers rent the real sex videos, and see a profitable return from those who rent their own. The movement encourages users to keep it real, in the interest of changing the face of modern pornography for the better.

Both sites focus heavily on user interaction and social networking to develop organically, and Cindy’s successful business model is now taught as a case study at Harvard Business School.


Elizabeth Pisani

Scientist, author, journalist and humanitarian, Elizabeth Pisani, has previously graced the TED stage with years of research and anecdotes that make for compelling and thought provoking viewing. Armed with her razor wit and change-making ethos, Pisani has traveled the world extensively and refuses to simply accept the injustices she experiences.

Her TED presentation in 2010 is a wonderful, often dryly comic call to arms. Pisani appeals to her audience to understand the logic and rationality that governs the decisions that lead to the contraction of HIV. The talk is well worth 18 minutes of anyone’s time.

Will Goldfarb

A widely celebrated and critically acclaimed chef with a penchant for pastry preparation, Will Goldfarb left his home in Manhattan five years ago in favour of the life-giving and plentiful island of Bali. Educated in Paris at Le Cordon Bleu, Goldfarb has since worked in a long list of world famous restaurants.

His current work at the restaurant KU DE TA in Seminyak is a labour of intense artistic devotion. On the second floor of the restaurant Goldfarb has created the high-tech food laboratory Mejekawi, where he and a team of devoted trainees dedicate themselves to the progression of food preparation and, ultimately, the creation of the perfect dessert.

TEDxUbud Volunteers

As if these four alone weren’t exciting enough, TEDxUbud has lined up a whole host of other brilliant, inspiring minds:

Nancy Margreid, Chika Asamoto, John Taylor, Sayan Gulino, Duncan McKee, Rizal Abdulhadi, Jennifer Croes, Elora Hardy, Emoni Bali and Annabel Teh Gallop

We will be there to cover the whole event, keeping you updated with any new information and developments in the coming month.

If you are lucky enough to already have a ticket, then we will see you there! If not, unfortunately tickets are now sold out as capacity is limited to three hundred. But keep an eye on the official website because there will be a waiting list for people who want to sign up for any extra tickets that become available.

For those of you who just want to experience the magic of these brilliant minds through your digital windows, the lectures and performances will be available online in the near future. Remember to keep coming back to InBali as we will be posting a review and meeting some of the talent on this list, one on one.

TEDxUBUD photos