October 10, 2013 smz-blog

Five WOWS From TEDx Detroit


I attended my first ever TED event and it was a jam-packed day filled with highlights in the fantastic new Cobo Center Riverfront Ballroom.  Kudos to the program organizers on providing something for everyone from Poetry to Politics to Photography to Passion to Pancreatic surgery to one seriously Pissed off reporter.  And that was just the “P’s.”   The following are five talks that left a strong impression on me at TEDx Detroit 2013:

1.  Asia Newson – Super Business Girl

Ten-year-old Asia explained she wanted to make her own money so she started a business called Super Business Girl making and selling candles.  Asia’s smile and energy were infectious.  But her entrepreneurial vision for the future gave us great hope for the revitalization of Detroit.  Leaving the stage to a standing ovation; nobody held a “candle” to Asia Newson.

2.  Stephen Roginson – Nano Beer Co.

In his presentation, Stephen romanced the common language of beer.  He provided the audience with a history of the beer business focusing on the craft beer boom in Michigan.

3.  Greg Gage – Co-Founder of Backyard Brains

When I was younger I wanted to be a brain surgeon.  Now after 27 years in the advertising business, I’ve abused the phrase “it’s not brain surgery.”  Greg Gage came to the stage and made graduate-level neuroscience approachable for the TEDx Detroit audience, just as he does for primary school students.  Greg’s demonstration with South American cockroaches helped me understand the sounds of brain spikes.

4.  Jason Hall of Detroit Bike City

I’m a runner, but many of my colleagues are serious cyclists.  Jason talked about how their group ride Slow Roll grew from 103— which he thought was every cyclist in Detroit—to over 1,500 people every week.  This rolling community has grown into an annual bike show and a network of individuals who are getting physically fit while helping our city get fiscally fit.

5. Jacques Panis ─ President of Shinola   

Bikes and watches, both made in Detroit. Both by the same company.  I seemingly can’t pick up a magazine without seeing a story about Shinola.  I was really interested in Jacques’ story about questioning how things are made, what’s made, where they’re made, and who makes it.  Amazingly, Detroit became an answer to many of these crazy questions.

A special mention to the band My Pal Val who created a great sound.  These five individuals selected represented a lineup of over 30 presenters who delivered on the promise “Ideas Worth Sharing.”  I look forward to TEDx Detroit 2014.

Jamie Michelson, President





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