Follow-up on TEDx Cluj

Well I got this nice note from Ms. Heidi Hoka about where the fees go when you attend a TEDx conference:

In calitate de TEDxCluj Ambassador, as fi vrut sa fac un comment pe blogul lui Sam cel Roman, dar nu s-a putut…:(. Vreau sa fac niste precizari de ce se platesc taxe de participare la conferintele Tedx, deoarece mi se pare exagerat ceea ce afirma dansul, si cred ca face asta din lipsa de cunostiinte sau poate altceva…..Ceea ce ma intriga mai mult este atitudinea “ca in Romania toate lucrurile trebuie sa fie GRATIS!.” Cred ca, trebuie sa invatam, incetul cu incetul, ca lucrurile gratis au niste limite, si daca vrei ceva de calitate este necesar sa faci o investitie.

Organizarea unei conferinte implica foarte multe costuri (mai ales de logistica–poate n-ai observat calitatea materialelor de publicitate, creatie acestora, clipul de promovare,care sunt Jos Palaria!!!). Calculul matematic, care se face incercand sa deduca cati oameni au fost este putin deplasat, mai ales, ca la orice eveniment–cunoscatorii stiu asta– ai invitati special, media, parteneri etc…i. TexCluj nu este un eveniment care sa se adreseze studentilor, ci dimpotriva, se adreseaza unui public care este constient, ca investitia in autoeducare are un Return On Investment (ROI) 200%.Nu stiu zau, cine ar fi putut sa-l aduca pe Alexandru Tomescu in Cluj si presteze precum el!!, de exemplu…

In concluzie: haideti sa nu mai fim ca in vremuri apuse, cand parintii nostrii avea multe lucruri gratis….. Inteligenta se cumpara, iar TEdxCluj este o investitie in educatie si in calitatea genelor noastre.

If you don’t speak Romanian, you can use Google translate but you don’t really need to as I’ll address the issues here below. Nor have I corrected the multiple misspellings and sloppy syntax and excessive exclamation points in the original post ;)

First, thanks for the kindly note. Sorry about the no comments policy but they were driving me nuts.

Secondly, yes I know the fee to attend the global TED conference at their annual shindig is extremely expensive. So what? That’s a professional production with speakers of the absolutely highest caliber, including former presidents and prime ministers. Some of those people normally charge 100,000 dollars to give a single speech.

The TEDx in Cluj is nowhere near that level. I found it informative and worthwhile, as I noted at length but come on now, Emil Boc (current PM of Romania and former mayor of Cluj) and other “big stars” were not on stage. The event in Cluj was a much smaller event. And as I duly noted as well, last year it was free to attend. So why in the world did it cost 170 lei this year and yet was free last year? Was there any major difference? I’m asking because I don’t know.

Third, what is this about how TEDx wasn’t for students? Not only were (university) students in attendance but I actually met one and spoke to him at length. He was an ordinary guy, not rich, studying in university full-time and also working part-time at a regular job. He scraped together the fee and paid it just like the rest of us did. This attitude of elitism has simply no place in what TEDx is all about. I, for one, am darn glad that students attended and I think they benefited just as much as all of the “elite” people in attendance did.

And last but not least, I still have no idea where the money went to. Did it go towards paying the speakers a fee? Did it go towards paying the guys filming the conference? Did it go towards food? Did it go towards renting the space that was used? I HAVE NO IDEA. I’m not implying someone funneled that money into their own pocket. I am simply stating that I have no idea where the money went to.

I also never said it should’ve been free. I said it was free last year and this year it wasn’t. Then I wondered where the money went to. Asking questions is what I do. Drawing hysterical inferences is what people who wish to comment on my blog do ;)

Again, I had a wonderful time at TEDx Cluj. I’m glad I went and I’m doubly glad all the Romanians, students or not, were able to attend as well. I definitely look forward to the next one but I still have no idea why we paid such a high fee to attend.