Richard Saul Wurman has just been invited to the stage for a conversation with Chris Anderson...a remarkable TED moment. Surrounded by a Sputnik satellite, Guttenberg Bible and other artifacts from Jay Walker's library, RSW, or Ricky as he's known to many long-time TEDsters, began with some tears, then described how marvelous it was to take the stage as part of a session dubbed "is Beauty Truth?"
RSW's return was particularly poignant as he and TED curator Chris Anderson had participated in some bitter feuding over the conference for more than half a decade after Anderson acquired it from its creator - a feud RSW announced had recently and finally ended - and also because Anderson has announced he's pulling TED out of Monterey next year, determining the ever-growing audience to have outgrown the facility here.
"It is true we've had an acrimonious relationship the last four to five years, and we don't now, and that's beautiful" Richard Saul Wurman said.
RSW has often described the TED conference, which he began in 1984, as "the ultimate dinner party" he always had wanted to have... and while he and three others in the audience were there at that first TED, it has created a huge following and inspired both a year-long community of attendees and a slew of TED "Wannabe" conferences.
Richard said he had realized much of the period of acrimony resulted from misunderstanding, and he only recently came to learn how may attendees had come to believe that TED had changed their lives (for the better!). Many had attested to Richard that TED had given them license to engage in wondrous new undertakings in their lives.
In the meantime, RSW had launched a one-time rival, called eG, the entertainment gathering, in the Los Angeles area. MIT's Michael Hawley revived in a second edition of eG last December, and now promises to make it an annual event.
The TED conference is now doing some collaboration with eG, and is expected to distribute some of the eG presentations as part of its "TEDtalks" offering of past conference presentations.
Adobe - Illustrator and Photoshop and Acrobat were all announced from this stage, as was (Sun Microsystems Inc.'s) Java (programming language), even before it had a name, RSW recalled.
"This is the best conference that every happened, and the clones are nothing... well the clones, they are interesting, too, and they give people license to do other things..." he said.
Anderson and Wurman embraced, and said they were collaborating to create the 25th anniversary conference next year, which will be staged at a larger theater in Long Beach, California, under the theme "The Great Unveiling".
"The picture has already been taken," said Chris, at Wednesday night's opening gala, when your co-respondent commented this was a picture that needed to be made! Nonetheless, they were willing to mug again, and RSW could be heard praising the excellence of what he'd witnessed at the opening sessions - welcome words not only to Chris Anderson, but to all tedsters, young and old.