Moira+I spent today at Colston Hall listening to some 16 speakers (and six previously-recorded TED talks from around the world) on the subject of “Failure”. I must stress here that we didn’t attend because we thought we were failures… (of course not!).Although it proved to be a fascinating and interesting day, we both came away feeling rather disappointed. I had watched several TED talks on-line and had invariably been highly impressed. Yes, I realise that the majority of those high-calibre speakers will probably have been well paid for their efforts and that this Bristol version inevitably showcased a range of rather more local, not-so-well-known contributors, but it was all something of a disappointment.
There were certainly SOME original and entertaining speakers (eg. Paul Archer’s around-the-world-in-a-black-cab talk and Sophie Mather’s passionate presentation on sustainable textiles) but, overall, we came away feeling a little tired of the much-repeated message of “failure breeds success” from entrepreneurs, life gurus and people who simply seemed to be there to promote their own businesses in one form or another… as Moira observed “failure can be more subtle than that”! It also seemed geared towards a scientific and/or technological audience (actually, that’s probably a little unfair!). In our view, none of the speakers had impressed us as much as any of the “Bristol Festival of Ideas” talks we’d attended (eg. Richard Holloway or Julia Unwin).
There were, however, a number of plus points: a) we only paid a concessionary rate of £10 for an entire day’s talks, and b) the event attracted a wide age range, particularly from 20-30 age group.
A good day… but one that didn’t quite live up to our expectations.
Photo: the Bristol TED talk stage.