It’s 7:30 a.m., and early risers nearby the corner of H and 20th are rubbing the sleep and disbelief out of their eyes as they watch a shiny, VW bus drive (carefully) into The Urban Hive, a modest brick building that houses offices and coworking spaces for small businesses and entrepreneurs. The VW has an unusual agenda; it exists solely to serve up “Volks Waffles,” Belgian-style waffles made from dough shipped straight from Belgium to the bus.
On this particular day, the bus is feeding attendees of the inaugural TEDxSacramento Morning Salon, where River City dwellers will get a dollop of community; idea-inspiring TEDTalks; and mind-motivating nourishment including coffee and the above-mentioned carb-loading.
It’s now 8:00 and a line is forming outside the building. At 8:07, the train rumbles by and guests take their seats to soak in hand-picked TEDTalks from around the globe, which they watch on a movie screen inside the Hive. The life-sized speakers touch upon essential topics like: work-life balance; sex; envy; baby unicorns; career snobs and how to avoid becoming one; and how small changes in a person’s life can transform society as a whole.
The speakers tell us that if we can change our brains, we can change our level of happiness. They tell us, too, that those who see stress as a challenge – versus a threat – are those who will succeed in the workplace and life in general.
Meet the TEDx Community… Passion to the Power of X
At a break in the program, conversations spring to life from every corner. We weave our way through the room and snag a seat next to Dan Rogers, who tells us deadpan while sipping coffee that he follows TEDx as his profession. “I’m an enthusiast and I wanted to see who else would be here.”
Well, for starters, Terri is here. She’s a curiosity-seeker who quit her corporate job three years ago to follow her dream, which is now manifested in reality as the Art of Toys in the Handle District. “People still call me to come back to work and I say… ‘not quite yet.’ ” She loves the organic way that people interact at the Salon and has already marked her calendar for the next event.
While most “TEDx Heads” are from Sacramento proper, there is a growing contingent willing to travel for their X fix. Take Kris Plachy, for instance, who motored from El Dorado Hills to make Friday's soiree. A leadership and life coach, she is here because she believes that people should always challenge the way they think.
Need even more passion? Check out this blog post from attendee Kevin Schaefer. Warning. It might bring a tiny tear to your eye. Have a hanky and the good ol’ allergy excuse at the ready.
A High Note…
After the last TEDTalk, local guitarist and songwriter Spencer Hoffman from the band Honyock perches on a stool in front of the audience with sunglasses on and starts crooning to the crowd. His vibe steers us somewhere between the world of Tom Waits and Jackie Green, and unexpected chord progressions and lyrics dig a little ditch in your heart. “My pupils become huge…on the ocean,” he sings.
His voice isn’t the only eye-opener.. In its second year, the TEDxSacramento community now totals about 7,000 strong, up about 5,800 from last year. So, for those of you who went straight to your regularly scheduled programs on Friday instead of the Morning Salon, you might be wondering why you didn’t get the memo.
Don’t fret. Here’s your invitation to our next Evening Salon. What’s an Evening Salon, you say? No spoiler alerts here, so you’ll just have to see for yourself. We earnestly suggest pouncing on saving a spot sooner rather than later as tickets to the Morning Salon sold out in just two days. Really.
In the words of TEDxSacramento Curator Brandon Weber: “Feed your soul, feed your mind. That’s the reason for the Salons.”