Save the Date!
By Faye Penn
Photo Credit: Michael Brands/Courtesy of the Company
February 25 March 1, 2013, Long Beach, CA
WHAT IT IS:Annual confab of innovators, game changers, and sages who, in a series of 18-minute talks, share "ideas worth spreading." For this year's theme young, undiscovered geniuses TED conducted a worldwide talent search. Jealous yet?
WHY GO: Because you subscribe to magazines like GOOD and Harper's, eschew cable, and are toying with the idea of ditching your day job for a career in microlending.
COST: Not cheap $7,500 to attend lectures at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center, and be warned that it's notoriously tough to get into. Only 1,350 applicants are approved each year. (Hopefuls must answer six lofty questions and cite two personal references.) At the entry-level TEDActive, held simultaneously in Palm Springs, pay just $2,500 and watch the panels via live simulcast. Here again, you must be selected, but the bar is a bit lower. The trade-off: You don't get to hobnob with the big fish.
WHO YOU'LL MEET: From big thinkers like Malcolm Gladwell to comics like Reggie Watts. Sheryl Sandberg, Isabel Allende, Oliver Sacks, and Melinda Gates are among past presenters.
ACTION PLAN: Ponder topics like "how bacteria talk"; wish you were onstage instead.
LODGE HERE: TED has special rates at the Hyatt Regency, The Renaissance, The Westin, and Hyatt the Pike. Stay elsewhere and risk missing out on a late- night lobby cocktail with Jamie Oliver.
HUNGRY GIRL: The convention center's in a foodie hub, with 100 restaurants nearby. Some picks: Asha for modern Moroccan or La Traviata for continental glam.
DRESS CODE: The focus is content, not couture, so keep it classic with a Jason Wu sheath dress. Stand out in a sea of cerebral "thought leaders" with a pair of killer pumps.
MUST-HAVE GEAR: IPhone or iPad uploaded with Words With Friends to play during cellular migration lecture.
HOOKUP PROSPECTS: Strong, especially amid the heady aphrodisiacal whirl of theoretical robotics and an endless open bar.
PRO TIP: Each year, 20 qualifying TED Fellows attend for free. All you have to do is be a young "world changer" who has shown "unusual accom- plishment" and "exceptional courage." Preferably you reside in a developing nation. Barring that, write a best seller featuring the phrase "how the brain works."