By providing software for startups and small teams, we’ve been hoping to facilitate a little more innovation. With this goal in mind, Atlassian was proud to sponsor TEDxSoMa, an independently-organized TEDx event. I had the pleasure of representing Atlassian at the event and wanted to share my experience.
So, what is TEDx?
The TEDx program was created by TED, the nonprofit well-known for it’s annual conferences with inspirational and oftentimes iconoclastic speakers, from Tony Robbins to Daniel Pink (the latter of which cites Atlassian’s 20% time for our developers). In TED’s words, “TEDx is a new program that enables local communities such as schools, businesses, libraries, neighborhoods or just groups of friends to organize, design and host their own independent, TED-like events.” The TEDxSoMa event was co-organized by The Institute for the Future and the pariSoma Innovation Loft and was the second TEDxSoMa, after a successful innagural event earlier this year.
The one-day event featured speakers from Intel, BoingBoing, Twilio, Quesada Gardens, Universal Giving and several others. The organizations comprised a diverse mix of industries, from technology to charity microfinance to community organizing. Despite the breadth of sectors represented, one common thread could be found: the transformative power of technology.
For example, take Nicole Lazzaro, Founder and President of XEODesign, Inc., who has twenty years of expertise in Player Experience Design. Nicole has studied how different interactions create different emotional states during play to help design games that maximize enjoyment. Lazzaro thinks that work places could be better designed to have more fun, “If most workplaces were zoos, the Human Society would close them down in an hour! They are so poorly designed for what they need to accomplish.”
Or take Pankaj Kedia, Intel’s Director of Global Ecosystem Programs for Mobile Internet. He cited the example of the Rwandan Ministry of Health providing thousands of cell phones to rural areas to help health workers improve consistency and quality of healthcare services. It’s inspiring to learn how big and small organizations around the world are using technology to be successful, grow and flip the status quo on its head.
You can view the entire event recording on Justin TV at the below two links. Nicole Lazzaro’s presentation begins 61 minutes into the first video and Pankaj Kedia’s talk begins 12 minutes into the 2nd video.
Video 1:
Video 2:
Interested in more startup lessons?
We’re putting together our very own startup event Starter Day, this June 6th in downtown San Francisco with speakers from Pandora, Boxee, Aardvark, Redfin, ScoutLabs, HubSpot and more. Join us and register for the live-stream of the event. (unfortunately, tickets to the actual event are sold out)

TEDxSoMa: Startup Innovation Is Alive and Well