Loads of people are excited about the famous TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference moving to Vancouver in 2014. There are a few good reasons for this: 1,200 attendees and their personal assistants can't be bad for the economy, and some of them will be the "world's leading thinkers and doers" and the "best TED speakers of all time".
For many of us, however, TED2014—and its satellite conference TEDActive 2014 in Whistler—might as well be taking place in Santiago, Chile. We'll just end up watching the TED talks that "curator" Chris Anderson and company deign to release on YouTube with everyone else, anyways.
You see, tickets cost US$7,500 for TED2014 and US$3,750 for TEDActive 2014. And that's not enough to get you in.
Yes, registering for a TED conference is worse than filling out a job application. Here's the questions that prospective attendees have to answer to just be considered for admission to TEDGlobal 2013 (US$6,000) in Edinburgh, Scotland:
In two crystal clear sentences: What is your principal occupation?
If a friend were to describe your accomplishments in up to three sentences, what would he or she say?
What other achievements would you like to share?
What are you passionate about? (work, creative output, issues, causes, communities…)
What do we need to know about you that we didn't ask? (Up to 300 words)
(Optional) Can you share a memorable anecdote from your life that will give us a further sense of what makes you tick?
(Optional) Have you contributed to the TED Community this year? If so how (e.g. helped on the TEDPrize, contribution to TEDFellows, hosted TEDx event, translating TEDTalks...)?
(Optional) What's your one great idea worth spreading about how to improve the conference itself?
Applicants are also asked to list up to three websites that say something about them (you are discouraged from choosing Google) and—get this—at least two references.
Registration for TED2014 and TEDActive 2014 opens on Monday (February 11). A parody Twitter account posted this tweet:
Torn whether to donate $7500 to build a village well in Guatemala or buy tickets to #TED2014? No contest: villagers can't network for shit.— TED Vancouver (@TEDcouver) February 5, 2013
I think that about says it all.