The event is tomorrow, and I cannot be more excited to connect, re-connect, and jump in headfirst into one of the most intense and immersive experiences. It isn’t a secret that I’ve been a huge TED fan for years, but this year, this post isn’t going to be about the actual event. It will be a LOVE letter. A LOVE letter to all those who taught me so much during my tenure on the TEDxAustin production team.
Being on the TEDxAustin production team is no easy feat. We are challenged regularly. We’ve gotten so good at creating experiences, spaces, and connections, that many on the team should probably add miracle worker to their list of occupations. Thank you to everyone on the team who contributes their time, energy, ideas, and hearts to this huge endeavor. Photos by OutboxMail.
I’m quite proud of my TEDxAustin 2013 project. Shawna Butler called with a question: how can we share the love? One of the things that Shawna and I talk about frequently are LOVE letters. When she says, “Write a LOVE letter,” I know the purpose is to connect, give thanks, and to show our appreciation to our partners.
I must give thanks, as well, to Shawna for teaching me about the art of writing LOVE letters. She tells me often that I’m pretty good at it, but my unspoken response is that I learn from the best. Thanks, Shawna. Thanks for being the glue that keeps our TEDxAustin family together.
This project never had an official name. I always just referred to it as the LOVE letters, and it came to me as I was driving to work, ruminating about our wonky phone systems at work. I was to call Evan at Outbox to discuss an interactive way to integrate their products into our experience. Somehow, the idea of mail, phones, and missing connections turned into this idea.
My idea was to send LOVE letters to our sponsors. I genuinely do love our sponsors – I’m pretty huggy around them. The plan was to have our attendees write LOVE letters to them at our pre-event, the Tuesday prior to TEDxAustin. I spearheaded the pre-event, so that was pretty easy. I invited a dear friend of mine, Lydia Fiedler, and amazing stamping queen to provide our materials. And I had Outbox provide a “mailbox.”
After the event, Outbox created a video of these LOVE letters to be shared with the world. We’re not particularly shy about our love and gratitude. At the event, these letters were stuffed into badges at random, and our attendees were given the following instructions:
“We’re about to start the day with words of wisdom, nuggets of insight, and catalysts for inspiration. As you go through the day, we also ask you to dive deeply into gratitude and share it in a letter that conveys appreciation to those who committed their time, talent, and resources to making this immersive experience a reality.
During our community catalyst event at TreeHouse, attendees were inspired to write LOVE letters. Through the magic of Outbox they’ve been digitally delivered and you can view these letters of LOVE at http://www.TEDxAustin.com.
We invite you to share our love. If you find one of these letters in your badge, please personally deliver the letter to its addressee. Spreading the love, as it were. Fearlessly.”
My wish for this project was to introduce the idea of LOVE letters – how can we show our love and gratitude to others. Now that it is done (you’re probably reading this after the event), we have documented our love, encouraged others to share declaration of our love to other attendees, and then to connect with our partners. Post event, we have videos and photos of these love letters to be shared far and wide.
Many thanks to Evan Baehr from OutboxMail, Lydia Fiedler from UnderstandBlue, Stacy Weitzner our TEDxAustin voice, and Shawna Butler for giving this oxytocin-filled project life. My heart is full thanks to you.