TEDxBrighton CupcakesFriday, as anyone who follows me on Twitter will be aware, was TEDxBrighton. It’s my second TEDx event (the first was TEDxTuttle a few years back), and the only one I’ve been involved in organising – although just as a storyteller (which in this case, essentailly means blogger). And I had a blast. After a few technical hitches with the sound in the opening minutes, it ran very smoothly indeed. Feedback from friends who were there was largely positive – most thought the speakers were a mixed bag, but there didn’t seem to be universal agreement about who were the good ones and who were the bad ones, which was a good sign of diversity amongst both the audience and the speakers…

I, sad to say, got virtually no time to network, as I was busy either liveblogging, or editing photos or video to add to the liveblog. You can find all the liveblogging over on the TEDxBrighton site. My thoughts about the contents of the talks are percolating, and I’ll post more about the day in a little while.

In the meantime, I’d just like to highlight these:

TEDxBrighton cupcakesThe format of a TEDx event is rigorously – and I mean rigorously – controlled by the TED organisation. Fair enough. It’s their brand, they’re sharing it, and they’re entitled – sensible, even – to protect it. But the area outside the main event is where the organisers can really cutomise it. Natalie Lloyd did a fine job of bringing in lots of Brighton organisations and bodies into the main mingling space outside the Corn Exchange, to give the event a pretty multi-generational feel:

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But the only part of these I had actually time to experience were the wonderful cupcakes baked – in a 13 hour baking marathon – by this cake-baking lady:

Emma Jane, baker of Brighton cupcakesEmma Jane was also one of the few people I didn’t already know I got the chance to chat with. I was obviously delighted to discover as well as being a cupcaking creation fiend (and they were a great source of sugar for a energy-sapped liveblogger…) she’s also an avid blogger at Cakes and Catwalks. She’s even blogged about the experience of the day – which was something of a mixed bag for her, sadly:

I love TED and really enjoyed the talks again this year, I also met some really lovely people and very much appreciated the ‘thank you’ I received in person from many of the delegates and team – also the tweets that people sent me and seeing photos appearing of my cakes across social platforms was very rewarding. But I had to request that delegates were told a)- that there were cakes and b)- where to find the cakes. I guess I kind of assumed that having asked me to bake 350 cupcakes (which were branded for TEDx), that people would be encouraged to enjoy them.

Which brings us back to the brand control aspect of TEDx events. What you can and can’t say about sponsors (and indeed, the various behind-the-scenes folks) is pretty limited. It’s a tricky balance – but I think Natalie did a pretty fine job in her first outing organising an event like this.

Thankfully all 360 cupcakes were consumed in the end. Here’s Flora Koska, speaker at the event, choosing one of them:

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