The who-what-when-where-why-how of TEDActive 2013


The TEDActive conference will be underway in just a few days! Hosts Kelly Stoetzel and Rives have always set a fun and engaging tone and vibe, which is carried throughout all aspects of the conference.

They recently interviewed each other about the changes their looking forward to at this year’s TEDActive. Below is the condensed version of their banter filled conversation on the who, what, when, where, why and how of TEDActive 2013.

Rives: …Let’s do this like a nice, official, grown-up journalist. Let’s do who-what-when-where-how. Let’s start with the ‘where,’ because that’s the big news. We’re moving.

Kelly: That is the big news. We’ve moved down the road just a bit. It’s still greater Palm Springs but it’s at the La Quinta Resort, in the town of La Quinta. It’s beautiful. You might remember that last year we had a party there on one of the evenings that was outdoors with that great band, Las Cafeteras. But, you didn’t get a chance to fully explore the property then. It’s big with a lot of grass. An old California-style venue. I think it makes us really think about what we can do differently as we put the conference together.

Rives: Nice. So, let’s do the ‘who.’ Who is coming to this desert oasis?

Kelly: You are going to be so excited about all the people coming!  Lots of friends — lots of familiar faces. The mix that we like to have is about half veterans and half newbies.

Rives: This is a more or less carefully calibrated formula to get people acclimated. Anyone who is a veteran of TEDActive knows how easy it is to meet people. So when we do that half-virgin, half-veteran thing, by the end of day zero — definitely by the end of day one — nobody’s a rookie anymore.

Kelly: There are so many different cultures, so many different types of people, so many different ages, so many different fields of work and study. That creates this amazing level playing field. Everyone there, the thing that unites them, is that they are really excited to connect around ideas. That starts happening from the moment that people step on the property. There’s this warmth and openness and curiosity among everyone. It’s exciting to be a part of.

Rives: What I’ve always liked about Active is that you literally can go up and talk to anybody. That is probably the most important part of the TEDActive culture. As a newcomer, you aren’t going to be left in a corner at a party. Like it or not, the person sitting next to you — possibly in a beanbag chair — during the sessions is going to lean over and not just start talking with you, but engage you in a conversation. I can say this on the record: at every TEDActive, I have met somebody who changed my life. I’m not talking in a big grandiose kind of way — not marrying someone new who I’ve met every year. But literally, my life would be different if I hadn’t met that person…

Rives: So we’ve got the ‘where’ and we’ve got the ‘who’ — let’s do the ‘what.’ What are we going to do at TEDActive?

Kelly: I’ll tell you, but I’m not going to tell you everything because we like surprise. We’re going to take over the property and use it like a campus. We’re creating a hub around the main theater room. Then there will be another room we’re calling “The Lab,” where there will be lots of hands-on exhibits and also more simulcast seating — some great seating pods and workshops and things happening in there. We’re also building out the parking lot and creating a TEDActive world that’s going to be the center of everything. We are taking over a bunch of houses and have special things going on in them throughout the day, too. And there are a couple of big pools, too.

Rives: And, of course, we’re watching every session live.

Rives: Let’s see. We did ‘where,’ ‘who,’ and ‘what.’ Let’s do ‘when!’ Just so that folks know what to wear. I think it’s a surprise for people coming from other places to sunny California to note that it is freaking cold at night in Palm Springs!

Kelly: Yeah, it can get cold. Last year, when we had that party, it was windy. You’ve got to be prepared for anything with weather. The key is layering, because it could be 80 Fahrenheit during the day and 45 Fahrenheit during the evening.

Rives: I think it’s time for ‘how.’ Let’s go over the particulars.

Kelly: People can either fly into Los Angeles or Palm Springs. We’re going to give you transportation information and make arrangements with a shuttle to keep the cost down. It’s further from the airport than the Riviera [where we were last year].

Rives: And let’s see — ‘who,’ ‘what,’ ‘when,’ ‘where.’ How about just ‘why?’ Why, why why?

Kelly: Because it rocks!

Rives: I can’t hear you, Kel.

Kelly: Because it ROCKS!

Look out for even more changes to come with next year’s conference in Whistler. We’ll be sure to get Kelly and Rives’ take on what they’re most looking forward to in 2014.

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