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Speakers Cover Range Of Topics At TEDx Airlie

By Vicky Janowski, posted Mar 31, 2016
TEDx Airlie brought nearly a dozen speakers to Thalian Hall’s stage on Thursday to give talks on topics ranging from building a tech culture in a community to why paying top dollar for talent isn’t always the best thing for a company.
 
The event was an independently and locally organized event under the TED brand. It drew a sell-out crowd at Thalian Hall – only 100 tickets are allowed sold – as well as watchers at remote viewing stations at tekMountain and Ironclad Brewery. The talks also streamed online.

Sandra Bates, who wrote The Social Innovation Imperative, spoke on “The Innovation Wave: Survival is Optional.”
 
She said the area can do things such as attract more capital and create infrastructure to encourage innovation.
 
“If we don’t put these things together, we end up with ideas that kind of go in fits and spurts. They take a really good leap off the cliff and then they go splat,” she said during her roughly 15-mintue talk.

Later, Matthew Magne, global product marketing manager for big data and data management for SAS, talked about how companies can “transform data professionals into data rock stars.”
 
One way is to treat data is as a strategic asset; another is to empower non-tech employees. Those are some ways organizations can make data-driven decisions, said Magne, a musician who capped off his talk with a guitar-riffed song.
 
Kimberly Paul, vice president of outreach and communications for Lower Cape Fear Hospice, covered the importance of end-of-life planning and the reluctance many have in talking about it.
 
“When time is limited and death is imminent, they usually gravitate to the one thing we’re all called to do, and that is connect to each other,” she said.
 
Talking with family and health care providers about end-of-life and health care decisions early on is a key conversation, she said.
 
And though Paul’s talk wasn’t centrally focused on technology, she pointed out that its downside can be when real conversations are replaced by texts and social media.
 
“In this busy and crazy world that we live in, we rarely have the time to collect our own thoughts,” she said. “And when we do, we don’t want to talk about death, especially our own.”
 
Speakers, capped off by Sandy Carter, general manager for IBM’s Cloud Developer Ecosystem and Startups, are slated to continue speaking through 5 p.m. and can be seen live online here.
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