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TED Extends Itself to Boise

Friday, January 16


The Technology, Entertainment, Design conference, more commonly known as TED talks, began humbly—as a Silicon Valley one-off event in 1984.

Friday, Jan. 16, marks a similar moment as the TED brand comes to Boise Contemporary Theater. "TEDxBoise: Icebreaker" will feature a wide selection of Boise-area speakers, including Idaho Poet Laureate Diane Raptosh, motivational speaker Alejandro Anastasio, social entrepreneur John Michael Schert and many others. It started with a Facebook post.

"All we did was create a tiny JPEG poster and put it on Facebook," said TEDxBoise co-organizer Laura Hampikian. "It was shared over 200 times."

Hampikian and Thomas Lansing (of Carp Solutions Organic Fish Fertilizer) founded the Idaho Speakers Bureau, a project similar to TED. Together they negotiated the process for holding a TED-affiliated event: the license is for an "extension" (hence the "X" in "TEDxBoise"), which, for the first year, allows engagements under the TED banner for audiences of no more than 100. Because of the limited tickets, Hampikian and Lansing stressed exclusivity.

"We wanted a quality audience, so we made people apply for the opportunity to attend this event," Lansing said.

Interest in attending was high but demand was higher for the chance to speak, Lansing said. The five-person selection committee received about 200 speaker applications. Anastasio learned about the event from his friends, who encouraged him to apply.

"The day it was formally announced, a number of people who heard me speak sent me the info and said I should apply," he wrote in an email. "I planned to apply regardless. However the extra support made it more possible."

Anastasio, born without a left hand, is a noted public speaker. His talk, titled "Disabled Thinking," stresses the power of mind and character over perceived limitations.

"I have accomplished many great things in this one-handed life because of how I think about myself," Anastasio wrote.

TEDxBoise talks will be available online or can be seen at viewing parties across Boise. Find more info at