TEDx El Paso 2016

I am proud to say that El Paso hosted its own TEDx event in 2016. I had the pleasure of attending the September 20th event in a standing room only auditorium at the El Paso Museum of Art. Events like TEDx are a testament to El Paso’s growth. It’s a shoot directly at the “there is nothing to do in El Paso” mantra El Pasoans are oh so familiar with. I’d like to share a few observations from the day’s events and keep the conversation going with the people I met.

One of the best parts of TEDx was all the El Paso speakers. A majority call either El Paso or Texas their home. It is crucial that we get El Pasoans out on the global stage, and what better place to do that then a TEDx event? It was incredible to be introduced to El Paso’s local talent, many of whom I was hearing about for the first time. I can’t wait to see their presentations hit the web and share them with you.

There was an overwhelming focus on education, the second letter in the TED acronym. Two of the speakers were educators from EPISD. They focused on the lessons they learned in the trenches working with the children of El Paso. Woody Hunt used his speech to highlight how education can accelerate one’s earning potential and wants to double down on graduating students from high school and college.

I firmly believe that education is an important key to helping El Paso’s community flourish and grow. However, the role technology plays was glossed over. Technology is the first part of the TED acronym, but it was not at the forefront of the conversation.

Technology is a proven growth engine in many communities. Without tech leaders in the area the children we educate today will fly off to Dallas, San Francisco and Seattle tomorrow in search of better prospects.

Yes, there were talks that focused on technology and they were great. This is in no way an issue with the quality of the talks that took a technology angle. The problem was that these talks did not focus on Technology with a capital T. I am talking about speakers that are using tech to grow their business, shape their community and bring change to the globe. Call to actions are fine, but I want to see speakers who are using tech to take action. Who are the technology leaders, entrepreneurs, and pioneers in the El Paso area? Why didn’t they make it to TEDx? If there aren’t any what can the El Paso community do to help create these leaders?

Another strong indicator of the lack of tech at the El Paso TEDx event was the silence on social media. The event promoters announced the Twitter hashtag for the event (#TEDxElPaso) and got an underwhelming 10 tweets while the event was ongoing. Two of those tweets were mine!

Despite my issue with the lack of tech coverage, I still think the event was great. I met lots of interesting people who want to help shape how El Paso grows. I met students, entrepreneurs, and cancer researchers. I met newcomers to El Paso and those that have called El Paso their home their entire life. I hope events like this continue to happen in El paso. More importantly I hope that the people that met keep the conversation going and come up with even more ways to make El Paso amazing.

See you at TEDx El Paso 2017!!