Part 2: Understanding the world. #TEDxRdam


The second part of TEDxRotterdam started out really impressive and really emotional for some of the people in the audience. This is actually not helping me in understanding the world. Not. At. All. Instead of a speech we started with an interview with Steven van der hoeven. Steven, unlike all the others, spoke in Dutch due to his history. Due to his history he did not manage to finish any more education then secondary school / high school. His story about abuse was both impressive due to the way that he dealt with his history as it was due to the simple fact that he was there, on stage, telling his story to a 1500 piece audience. The first time he spoke in front of a crowd ever since primary school when he spoke about Egypt in front of his class. For those interested, his book, about his life (Je ogen verraden je) can be bought here (click).

Steven gave the advice to fight your fears and anxieties and your limitations. If you do so, you will be able to get to the realization of your goals, your dreams (free translation).

When Steven left the stage, I was still blown away by his courage as the next performer was already on stage. Marjolijn van Heemstra put together a great speech about leadership in the form of a poem. Though I did not agree with her on the part where she says that we have to “forget about leaders, it is the followers we need”, I loved her performance. She managed to inspire, criticize society and make me wonder at the same time. She put things into perspective: Sharing, sharing, sharing: It will help people group up, be strong, not feel alone; but will it create leaders; and how to guide this group of sharing individuals; do we need to guide? Do we need to lead this group? And from another perspective, or we who we follow? Are we defined by who follow us? Are we defined by the digital social crowd we are a part of?

From sharing to avoid being alone, to a great innovation that actually helps people to get rid of anxiety disorder.  A virtual reality exposure therapy (VRET) that can actually help us in understanding our fears and eventually conquer them. This is what Willem-Paul Brinkman talked about. He even demonstrated the concept on stage. The problem I had with the concept is that the virtual reality in the program is animated in the style of a modern comic. Not real enough for me, but who am I to judge. If this system actually can help people overcome their fears, I am all up for it! The speech of Willem-Paul did make me wonder again about the effect virtual reality will have on our lives, on the way we look at the world…

Next speaker up on stage was Marijn Berk. His speech about wireless power, about a world without power outlets installed in our homes, actually didn’t really get me enthusiastic. We are already too much relying on energy, on power supplies… His innovation might make life a lot easier in the future, here, in the western world, but also in countries where people are charging their mobile phones at special charging stands in villages that might be half  a day travelling… But what effect will it have on society? Will that actually enrich our lives or will it cause more destruction and more wars? Again… questions…

Talking about war… Masterpeace is an initiative by the founder of Dance4Life, Ilco van der Linde. Masterpeace is another initiative to bring people together and activate people to do something good for the world, combining music with a vision for a better world. A very rational speech about acting from the heart. The story didn’t really get to me, though I know this initiative probably will be huge, just like Dance4Life, due to great marketing. It is great that someone is setting up something like this, don’t get me wrong. I just don’t know how to react on the way Ilco promotes his event. It gave me the feeling he is not really taking into account that there are thousands of volunteers and activists who are actually working on this type of ideas for years now but lack the marketing skills. Maybe marketing is a key element to changing the world?

Haiyan Wang was the last speaker for this part of the day. A story put together well, about the shift in dominating economies in the world from the US to a multi-domination including Asia. In my opinion this shift has already taken place and might even change into a shift to Asia actually being just as dominant as the US once was. The future will tell. Haiyan states that for globalizing a company there are three key elements that a company needs to take into account: Deepen knowledge, one company culture and a globalization of the corporate brain. More food for thought.. Does a leader needs to be at the company ‘s location or can he be leading the company from a distance? Does a leader need to have global experience or can he globalize a company with mere local knowledge? What effect does diversity have on doing business internationally?

Last up before lunch was Patrick Verwijmeren. He gave a little speech about the importance of emotional intelligence in business. His message came down to the importance of understanding the needs and wishes, the thought patterns, the ways of others, in order to be a leader.

Time for lunch and mingling with the others of the hearing crowd at TEDxRotterdam!

Part 3 and 4 will follow tomorrow…  Thanks for reading and…

…for those who want to listen to some music that was played during the day during the breaks, you can still go to to listen to some tracks until midnight today.


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