@Wraith - I guess I'm a little colorblind in the "non" profit end of the spectrum.
I have been ever since TV Ministries, hospitals, well-heeled universities and colleges have all had that legal distinction conferred on them. Like so many other charming things of the past (i.e. 'public' broadcasting) I don't really think the designation 'non-profit' means much beyond tax treatment these days. Especially now that political action groups can also be non-profit "educational" organizations.
But I think we're getting a little away from the earlier point made by Renegade who was saying the TED talks
are something the world would be better off without.
To clarify my position, what I'm saying is: regardless
of the organization behind the talks, or the possible motivation of its sponsors (motivations which I suspect are both numerous and varied) this does not take away from the fact that there is considerable value in continuing to have such a venue. And that a deal of good (intentional or otherwise) comes out of it.
I'll neither attack nor defend the Sapling Foundation, the organization or policies behind the TED conferences
, its corporate sponsors, or the issue of what a "real" non-profit organization should or shouldn't be. That stuff is what it is. All I am interested in - and will speak in favor of - are the presentations or talks themselves. I'm only interested in what (some) of the presenters have to say. Because in most cases I would have never heard about them except
So I'm willing to put up with whatever may or may not be going on in the background. FWIW - if it's "wheeling & dealing" ...well...that's gonna go on regardless of whether or not the venue continues. The real movers, shakers, and makers (along with the takers, and fakers) all know each other, and can (and do) talk to each other even when TED isn’t in town. So it's not like they need some excuse to get together since they could just as easily pick up the phone. Because that's how the tech world works.
The TED Conferences (as opposed to the actual presentations) remind me of this 'foxhunt' around where I live. It's a pretty exclusive country club sort of thing with all that implies.
A few times a year this place opens its grounds to the general public for an event. Usually for some local charity. If you go you'll see the usual invisible dividing line that separates the club members from the rest of the world. It's not an overt thing. But it's there just the same. Because these people know
each other. They do business
with each other. They speak the same language and generally dress the same. Their kids go to school and play with each other. So the average event visitor
stands out like a sore thumb.
Does that mean they're a bunch of elitist snobs? Well...some
of them are to be sure. But most are very polite - unless unduly crowded or put upon.
The TED Conferences are a lot like that. Much, in fact, like a major film festival: there's an "in" group - and there's everyone else who's also attending. That doesn't detract from the films being shown - just what private parties you'll be invited to afterwards. If that's the sort of thing that offends you, then you're better off staying home. Because that's pretty much how the world works about 90% of the time. And TED is no different.
I'm happy to skip all that nonsense and just enjoy the actual show.