I interviewed Richard Saul Wurman a few years after he started TED. Because TED is so important there is no need to explain what it is.
It is to Wurman that we owe a great debt of gratitude.
Wurman created TED and in its initial iteration it had a limited audience in a physical space in Monterey. As its popularity and importance grew the program was expanded to other rooms with the use of television and finally to other venues. Then to the world.
What has always been maintained was the genius that Wurman built in at the outset. TED talks are short, 10 to 15 min. long and heavy on graphics.
The shortness comes from the basic conception of the design world. ‘Most of the world can be understood in very simple sequential signals’. That applies to lectures, ideas and concepts.
I'm not sure why that happens to fit so perfectly with our world of Internet, Facebook and texting. But it does.
Richard Saul Wurman with his view of the world, a world potentially clearer and more understandable when it is explicated with graphics and simple language has opened up whole worlds of knowledge and understanding to all of us. Worlds that had previously been covered by verbosity and pomposity in the status relationships between the mentor and the students.