QuoTED 2013

Our favorite nuggets of knowledge from the insightful speakers at this year's TED conference

While in the audience at last week’s TED conference we kept the tweeting to a minimum and instead used the old-school pen and paper to capture some of our favorite moments. After reviewing them all, here are the quotations that hit us the hardest.


“‘Smart’ simply means you’re ready to learn.”

Freeman Hrabowski on the difference between intelligence and access to education.

“Texting is fingered speech.”

John McWhorter on the new linguistics of today’s mobile youth.

“Knowledge is a big science, but ignorance is a bigger one.”

Stuart Firestein on the importance of ignorance for scientific discovery.


“Baxter will do the mundane factory tasks no one in America wants to do, thus promising the return of manufacturing to the US.”

Rodney Brooks on how robots will change the workforce.

“Technology is not destiny, we shape our destiny.”

Erik Brynjolfsson on technology changing the workplace.

“We are moving to a future where the factory is everywhere and the design team is everyone.”

Alastair Parvin on the roles of 3D printing and crowdsourcing in design.


“Solar will be the plurality of power in less than 20 years.”

Elon Musk on the advancement of sustainable power.

“The earth grows our food. It should also grow our homes.”

Michael Green on why we should be building with wood.

“It’s the life struggle, not the artistic process, that inspires people.”

Liu Bolin on his artistic perspective.


“What is the sense of journalism if it doesn’t benefit society?”

Anas Aremeyaw Anas on his role as an activist and undercover journalist.

“The power of the people is so much stronger than the people in power.”

Bono on data-based activism.

“The drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys.”

Ron Finley on fast food in South Central LA.


“There’s something really poetic about using nuclear energy to propel us to the stars.”

Taylor Wilson on using decommissioned nuclear weapons to power space ships.

“We have a crisis of imagination; unless we do something about it we’re doomed to repeat ourselves.”

Lesley Perkes on the philosophy behind her art-based activism.

“Couch surfing and crowd surfing are the same thing. They’re falling in to the audience and trusting.”

Amanda Palmer on connecting with her audience.


“The product hasn’t thought about the problem.”

Leyla Acaroglu on the wasted energy from an electric tea kettle.

“The waste of human waste is that we’re wasting it as a resource.”

Rose George on the benefits of poop.

“Humans have made a huge hole in nature so we have the obligation to repair some of the damage.”

Stewart Brand on cloning and de-extinction.


“We thought we were building a system to connect machines together, but we’ve realized we’ve created a system to connect people together.”

Vincent Cerf on creating the internet.

“The difference between seeing an image and imagining an image is 0 in terms of brain activity.”

Mary Lou Jepsen on her discoveries around digitizing neural signals.

“In living her experience publicly she made it impossible for us to look away.”

Lakshmi Pratury remembering Jyoti Singh.


“Without the hypothetical it’s impossible to get the moral conversation off the ground.”

Jim Flynn on intelligence.

“Enough about Mars and Venus, men are from Africa and women are from Africa.”

Christopher Ryan on human sexuality.


“If you’re mindful of what you do not have you can be truly mindful of what you do have.”

Joshua Prager on the accident that made him a quadriplegic at age 19.

“We need first to be limited to become limitless.”

Phil Hansen on how his disability opened up true artistic opportunities.

“This is what happens when we confuse morality with frugality.”

Dan Pallotta on why not-for-profits need to spend money to raise money.

Images by James Duncan Davidson for TED2013