Last year I wrote a surprisingly angry critique of TEDxZurich. (Today I honestly wonder how I mustered the passion, but hey …)


So it was with some reluctance, well maybe more something like reserve, that I went to TEDxBern, hell, I was even surprised I received an invite.

But I was very pleased to see that TEDxBern did everything right, that TEDxZurich had done wrong. This was a great event, held in the perfect location, with the right mood, an interesting lineup of speakers. The speakers were encouraged to speak in their native tongue, which meant that many talks were actually held in Swissgerman, Bärndütsch, with simultaneous translation to English, and this alone really helped to create a very mellow event in a great atmosphere. None of that that clumsy pseudo-californian English and tragically-trying-to-be-hipness, TEDxZurich seemed designed for people looking down their noses. TEDxBern avoided all that with a few simple changes, and TEDx as a format made much more sense this way. (Yes, I still have my questions about the invitation only model, which does not invite healthy criticism and/or debate. But when something is good, it has to be shouted out to the internetz *wave).

I hesitated when I first read the motto of the event – “I han es Zundhölzli azündt — Lighting the Spark”, about that first part taken from a song by Mani Matter. Mani Matter was my much loved uncle and I always feel a little protective, when his words and songs are appropriated (which is a silly sentiment, I know, but hey …). Well, I can give this my full blessing, and I am aware that my blessing means exactly nothing, but still, for what it’s worth, I thought the motto fit perfectly and the jingle with the match lighting up moved me to tears. Tears for the genius of my uncle to keep inspiring people with his great words, and for my hometown to keep things humble, fun, great AND real.

So good stuff, keep it real, TEDxBern. And I am not just saying that hoping to score an invite next year …

Highlights: Steff la Cheffe teaching the room how to human beatbox, Thömu Bingelli telling us how he sold his farmer parents flock of sheep to start his bicycle shop, Blackyard doing their “Zeichnungsroulette” (taking turns continuing each others drawings), and, the one I am still chewing on, the talk by Dr. Elham Manea with her passionate statement, that parallel societies should no longer be tolerated, if their values are not acceptable (but but but who are we to say … and who can be the judge which values are acceptable).

Böse Katze. Böse Katze. Böse Katze. Böse Katze. Böse Katze. Does anyone remember the other … how do you say “Eselsbrücken”?

Habi wrote short critiques of all the talks.
And Christian has more here.

About Jan Zuppinger

Jan Zuppinger has been writing this blog since 2002. He likes to grow vegetables. He likes to eat them too. He has opinions on everything, but sadly no one cares. Jan Zuppinger is not joking, just joking, he is joking, just joking, he's not joking. *click.