The event is tomorrow, and I cannot be more excited to connect, re-connect, and jump in headfirst into one of the most intense and immersive experiences. It isn’t a secret that I’ve been a huge TED fan for years, but this year, this post isn’t going to be about the actual event. It will be a LOVE letter. A LOVE letter to all those who taught me so much during my tenure on the TEDxAustin production team.
Being on the
production team is no easy feat. We are challenged regularly. We’ve gotten so
good at creating experiences, spaces, and connections, that many on the team
should probably add miracle worker to their list of occupations. Thank you to
everyone on the team who contributes their time, energy, ideas, and hearts to
this huge endeavor. Photos by
I’m quite proud of my TEDxAustin 2013 project. Shawna
called with a question: how can we share the love? One of the things that
Shawna and I talk about frequently are LOVE letters. When she says, “Write a
LOVE letter,” I know the purpose is to connect, give thanks, and to show our
appreciation to our partners.
I must give thanks, as well, to Shawna for teaching me about the art of writing
LOVE letters. She tells me often that I’m pretty good at it, but my unspoken
response is that I learn from the best. Thanks, Shawna. Thanks for being the
glue that keeps our TEDxAustin family together.
This project never had an official name. I always just referred to it as the
LOVE letters, and it came to me as I was driving to work, ruminating about our
wonky phone systems at work. I was to call Evan at
to discuss an interactive way to integrate their products into our experience.
Somehow, the idea of mail, phones, and missing connections turned into this
My idea was to send LOVE letters to our sponsors. I genuinely do love our
sponsors - I’m pretty huggy around them. The plan was to have our attendees
write LOVE letters to them at our pre-event, the Tuesday prior to TEDxAustin. I
spearheaded the pre-event, so that was pretty easy. I invited a dear friend of
and amazing stamping queen to provide our materials. And I had Outbox provide a
After the event, Outbox created a video of these LOVE letters to be shared with
the world. We’re not particularly shy about our love and gratitude. At the
event, these letters were stuffed into badges at random, and our attendees were
given the following instructions:
“We’re about to start the day with words of wisdom, nuggets of
insight, and catalysts for inspiration. As you go through the day, we also ask
you to dive deeply into gratitude and share it in a letter that conveys
appreciation to those who committed their time, talent, and resources to making
this immersive experience a reality.
During our community catalyst event at TreeHouse, attendees were
inspired to write LOVE letters. Through the magic of Outbox they’ve been
digitally delivered and you can view these letters of LOVE at www.TEDxAustin.com.
We invite you to share our love. If you find one of these letters
in your badge, please personally deliver the letter to its addressee. Spreading
the love, as it were. Fearlessly.”
My wish for this project was to introduce the idea of LOVE letters - how can we
show our love and gratitude to others. Now that it is done (you’re probably
reading this after the event), we have documented our love, encouraged others to
share declaration of our love to other attendees, and then to connect with our
partners. Post event, we have videos and photos of these love letters to be
shared far and wide.
Many thanks to
Evan Baehr from OutboxMail,
Lydia Fiedler from UnderstandBlue,
for giving this oxytocin-filled project life. My heart is full thanks to you.