Recap: TEDxVolcano

April 18, 2010

I’m at The Hub incubator space next to London Kings Cross station this evening. I’m attending a spontaneous entrepreneurial event called TEDxVolcano that has been set up in 24 hours by Nathaniel Whittemore of AssetMap and with the support of TED, TEDxLondon, Sandbox Network and many others. The wonderful MC was June Cohen of TED Media.

Video of the event is now up at

The amazing line up of TEDxVolcano speakers were:

Videos shown:

There were also three wonderful musical performances by Sushella Raman.

Here are some funny or especially noteworthy quotes:

“Money doesn’t really matter when you’re stuck by a volcano. You could have a private jet, but that just means you’d get to die alone.” – Cara Mertes

“This is the generation that has to decide whether we will actually have a civilization” – Cara Mertes, Sundance

The name of the volcano Eyjafjallajokull in the local Icelandic dialect actually means Goldman Sachs.” Matt Bishop, Philanthrocapitalism

“It is difficult to have an intelligent debate today on many critical issues like capitalism and on climate change without people immediately taking sides.” – Matt Bishop, Philanthrocapitalism

“Thank you to the British allowing us colonials to stay here for an indefinite period of time.” – Jim Hornthal

“How many people are stranded. You’re screwed. So, what’s the best thing to do when you’re caught in a trap. Eat the cheese!” – Peter Greenberg, CBS Travel Correspondent

“Today in Kenya, 400 tonnes of flour (or flowers?) in Kenya was thrown out because it is rotting. Think about the economic impact.” – Peter Greenberg, CBS Travel Correspondent

“For every day we’re not flying and air cargo is not flying documents aren’t being delivered, produce is not being delivered, medicine and organs aren’t being delivered.” – Peter Greenberg, CBS Travel Correspondent

“Even in the best of times, airlines lie. If they were running the shipping business they would have listed the Titanic as on time.” – Peter Greenberg, CBS Travel Correspondent

“We all have watches, but we have no time.” – Elizabeth Lindsey

“Perhaps this time is essential for you to consider, are you going to upgrade your impact” – Elizabeth Lindsey

“We wanted to keep our friends here after Skoll. Do you know hard it is to fake a volcano. Damn the volcano, let’s have a ball.” – Jeff Skoll, Skoll Foundation

Here was the TED Blog post on the event.

Volcano Causing Entrepreneurs to Be, Well, Entrepreneurial

April 18, 2010

I’m stuck in London for a few days due to the Eyjafjallajokull volcano eruption in Iceland.

I’m looking outside my hotel window at a calm Heathrow airport. It’s filled with parked planes, but nothing and no one is moving. All of the UK and much of European airspace is closed.

Here’s a concerning part–the last time the Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted in 1821 the eruption lasted for two years. Oh my! This volcano could affect European air travel for quite some time. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said airlines are losing about £130m per day in revenues.

Fortunately the forecast is calling for a storm toward the end of this week that should make it safe to fly again, at least for a time.

I’ve looked into taking the 7 day Southampton to New York cruise home (people are actually considering this!) or getting a ferry to Bilbao, Spain and then a train to Lisbon, which is currently open for most flights, but it would take at least three days to even get to Lisbon from London at the moment as the ferry services are mostly booked up.

So I’m going to get comfortable and get some work done. It looks like iContact’s European headquarters will be opening tomorrow :-) .

In the meantime I’m attending TEDxVolcano tonight in London which looks fun! A few hundred entrepreneurial attendees of the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship and OxfordJam remain stranded as volcano refugees–so Nathaniel Whittemore has in 24 hours organized this event to bring us back together in true entrepreneurial fashion.

Also entrepreneurial is a ‘rescue mission’ set up by a local TV host here who is taking Britons stranded in France back to the UK by boat.

Some here are suggesting the UK, French, and US militaries need to get some transatlantic boat services running to get people stranded on both sides of the oceans home and back to work and their families. A lot of people here would take a guaranteed 7 day return at this point.

Anyone have any creative ideas on how to get back to North Carolina?