February 24, 2010
By Cheryl Hall
Geoffrey Orsak is learning that success breeds challenges.
This time last year, the dean of Southern Methodist University's Lyle School of Engineering came back from the international TED Conference with the idea of putting on a smaller version of the high-octane thinkfest in Dallas.
His most daunting obstacle was that TED is revered around the world but was relatively unknown here.
"I didn't know if anyone would come to the party," Orsak says.
Orsak and organizers of the first TEDxSMU conference received three applications for every ticket they had to award. "We just did not see that coming," he says.
Last October's event was a rocket-paced, mind-bending experience that left people clamoring for an encore.
That created a predicament.
Everyone who attended in 2009 has the right of refusal for the second annual invitation-only TEDxSMU. Caruth Auditorium, its home last year, can hold 475 people.
So Orsak is moving this circus of the mind to the Wyly Theatre in downtown's AT&T Performing Arts Center. The Wyly can squeeze in up to 575.
"It would have been wonderful if TEDxSMU could have stayed on campus indefinitely," Orsak says. "But it's our responsibility to bring more people inside the tent."
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Related Information: TEDxSMU announces 2010 dates
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