2012 Speakers

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TEDxAustin Beyond Measure Speakers

Michael McDaniel
Twitter: @mcdanyel Web: www.reactionhousing.com
Just days after Hurricane Katrina made landfall, designer, strategist and inventor Michael Daniel found himself gripped by creative obsession. The pictures of survivors forced to live with their belongings crammed under their cots, no personal space and no sense of privacy, disturbed him deeply. Soon, he had devised a Reaction Housing System that solved all of these indignities and kept humanity as its heart. It’s just one of a long line of achievements to Michael’s name. As a senior consultant at Frog Design, Michael and his interdisciplinary teams have created products and services for top name brands. His innovative work has been recognized with numerous awards and publications, and has led to several client-filed patents. Our problems are reoccuring, he says. How can we devise permanent, long term solutions?


Craig Hella Johnson: Founder + Artistic Director, Conspirare
Web: www.craighellajohnson.com
The Wall Street Journal doesn’t often praise a conductor’s ability to “expand the boundaries of choral performance,” but this is exactly what they’re saying about Craig Hella Johnson. At the helm of the multi-Grammy winning choir, Conspirare, Craig has fast become one of the most influential voices in choral conducting. With a Julliard degree and a Yale doctorate, Craig is classically trained and well-deserving of his 2008 induction into the Austin Arts Hall of Fame. He leads with an open heart as he explores the relationship and interconnectedness of musical genres, the classical and the popular, the sacred and the secular. Voice, he says, is our primal instrument. And he wants us all to embrace our own.


Chris Riley:  Founder, StudioRiley
Twitter: @studiorile Web: www.studioriley.com
When anyone can tweet a revolution, the world is no longer divided into media producers vs. consumers. Chris Riley, who headed strategy at both Wieden + Kennedy and Apple, now leads StudioRiley, where he and his colleagues explore the relationship between business and culture through brand strategy and communications design. He envisions an immediate future in which mobile and social media platforms continue to turn a monolithic media market into a pluralistic one. These are shifts Chris has witnessed firsthand as he’s traveled and photographed communities of all sizes, all over the globe. He recently returned from his first adventure to Antarctica.


David R. Dow: Attorney + Author
Twitter: @drdow Web: www.davidrdow.com
In the realm of today’s death penalty debate, few of us know how the system really works, and how much death penalty supporters and their opponents actually agree on.  A former death penalty supporter who has been representing death row inmates for more than twenty years, David Dow, doesn’t just know these things; he lives them.  As a respected legal scholar and one of the nation’s best known death penalty lawyer, David’s writing and published work shares with us the disturbing realities that are painful to confront, while also pointing to hope and common ground.  David encourages us to consider the issue from an expanded perspective. Make the problem bigger, he suggests. Redefine its beginning.  That’s how we’ll solve this intractable problem.


Todd Humphreys: Asst Professor, Aerospace Engineering + Engineering Mechanics, UT
Web: www.radionavlab.ae.utexas.edu
Imagine a digital League of Justice and you can imagine Todd Humphreys easily earning a seat. In 2008, he co-founded a start-up that hardens GPS technology by exploiting telephony signals from the Iridium satellite constellation. Most recently, he and his team at UT Austin’s Radio Navigation Lab have been studying defenses against intentional GPS spoofing and jamming that put our national infrastructure at risk. Not to mention our personal sense of well-being. Which all begs one question: where am I and who else knows?


Chris Bliss
Twitter: @iamchrisbliss Web: www.chrisbliss.com
As a successful comedian, juggler, and viral internet legend (did you catch one of his 80 million views?) Chris Bliss toured the country and found in his audiences a common theme: a feeling that we’ve lost our way. To Chris, it was an opportunity to galvanize around the binding principles that have united our strong-willed founders and guided our country for generations. It’s also what inspired him to start MyBillofRights.org, which seeks to install Bill of Rights displays in civic centers across America. Most people move to Austin for the culture, start-up scene or sunshine. Chris came here to launch his mission. And a whole new viral sensation.


Jeremy Courtney: Founder, Preemptive Love
Twitter: @JCourt Web: preemptivelove.org
Think it’s difficult to perform heart surgery? Try doing it in the middle of a war zone. When Jeremy and Jessica Courtney first visited Iraq, they were surprised to find a mounting number of children in dire need of heart surgery. And so Preemptive Love was born, recruiting non-Muslim doctors to work with a Muslim population and bringing more than one meaning to the word “mend.” Not long after, Jeremy was asked by the inaugural TEDxBaghdad to talk about the power of ideas to change the world. We’ve invited him back home to do the same.


Ellie Audet: Student and Destination ImagiNation champion
Blog: www.ellieaudet.tumblr.com
When Ellie Audet encounters a piece of paper, she’s not thinking about what to write, she’s thinking about what to wear. Her designs combine technical expertise with unbounded imagination to produce unexpected creations of delight and surprise. Her resourcefulness has been honed through her years working with Destination ImagiNation, a creative problem-solving contest that challenges motivated teams to think, create and do. Her design aesthetic captures her youthful exuberance, insight and precocity.


Taryn Davis: Founder,  American Widow Project
Twitter: @taryndavis Web: www.americanwidowproject.org
Taryn Davis was a lucky young woman who found and married her soulmate at an early age.
Looking forward to college graduation and a long future together, one day it all dramatically changed. Seeking answers and solace, she set out filming stories of military widows who knew the trauma of sudden lost. Along the way, she created an organization that unites and comforts young widows everywhere. Not surprisingly, Taryn has been recognized as L’Oreal’s 2010 National Woman of Worth and one of 2011 Newsweek’s “150 Women Who Shake the World”. We couldn’t say it any better.


Paul Miller: aka DJ Spooky
Twitter: @djspooky Web: www.djspooky.com
WARNING: talking with Paul Miller/DJ Spooky for too long can make even a TEDster feel like a dimwit. So says New Zealand’s Sunday Star Times“Brainy as a Mensa meeting, sharp as Zorro’s sword, funny as Falstaff. He is Einstein with a better haircut, a streetwise Tolstoy, a revved-up renaissance man for the digital age.” Paul’s latest venture takes him to Antarctica, which he uses as an entry point for considering humanity’s relationship with the natural world. The result: an unexpected manifesto on the physics of ice, compositional strategy and graphic design. Information aesthetics and contemporary digital media: that’s signature Paul.


Jason Roberts: co-founder, Better Block Project
Twitter: @mannytmoto Web: www.betterblock.org
You know that old eyesore that’s been languishing around the corner for the better part of ten years? What if you could change it overnight? Arts activist, Jason Roberts, and urban planner, Andrew Howard, show us what can be done and why. Using their living charrette model (read: urban guerrilla design), community members seize 48 hours to create an urban intervention that inspires improvement and makes change feel tangible. They build, they paint, they break through inertia and pessimism. One block at a time.


William (Bill) Eggers: Global Director, Public Sector Research,
Twitter: @wdeggers Web: www.WilliamEggers.com
Between a paralyzed Congress and the most recent budget standoff, not many people are optimistic about Washington’s ability to solve problems these days. Fortunately Bill Eggers, one of the country’s best known authorities on government reform, is a voice of optimism as he travels the world to advise governments of all sizes. Author of the best-selling (and required White House reading) If We Can Put A Man on the Moon . . , Bill believes government can activate entrepreneurism and innovation not only within society but also within its own walls. That is good news.


Tanya Streeter: world record free diver, ocean activist, mom, and “TBD”
Twitter: @TanyaStreeter Web: www.tanyastreeter.com
Tanya Streeter shouldn’t be able to do what she does. There are more obvious candidates who better fit the mold. And yet she has delved the depths of our oceans and broken just about every free diving record in the world by pushing far past the limits of physiology. And she hasn’t stopped there. As an activist and adventurer, Tanya is living proof that the greatest risk is not being what others expect of us. And that we must all honor our full talents and appetites. As her daughter recently told her classmates about her mum: “She’s a mermaid. And right now she’s off playing with lions.” Go mama, go.


Penny de los Santos: Photographer
Twitter: @pennydelosantos Web: www.pennydelossantos.com
Penny de los Santos began photographing as a way to understand her own diverse cultural background and identity. From the historical all-male dining clubs of the Basque Country to Jerusalem’s most suicide bomber beseiged markets, photographing culture has been at the heart of Penny’s work. It has influenced the subjects she picks and the way she uses her camera to tell the story. Her recent evolution into food photography has allowed her to explore and celebrate culture, history and community through the lens of food. She’s traveled throughout the US and to over 30 countries to make the photographs that make the food and travel magazines so delicious.




Jeff Lofton: Trumpeter & Jazz Advocate
Not every musician gets a day devoted to him, but that’s exactly what happened to trumpeter Jeff Lofton in 2009 when Austin’s mayor honored him for his contributions to the jazz scene in the “live music capital of the world.” Both a virtuoso and a tireless advocate for the form, Lofton is the Miles Davis of our day. In 2010 he graciously welcomed our attendees as they rode up the elevator. This year, he’s lighting up the main stage.


Ballet Austin

There’s being classically trained, and there’s being classically innovative. Ballet Austin is firmly the latter. Their credo: Dance with innovation and creativity. Preserve and evolve the rich tradition of classical ballet. Teach the next generation of artists. Encourage lifelong health and well-being. Honor the diversity of the human experience. Enrich community. Dance.




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