Richard Saul Wurman (RSW) the founder of the TED conferences (and former dean of the College of Environmental Design at Cal Poly)
is about to give gave a rare public appearance at Cal Poly Pomona this evening (tweeted as #RSW_ENV). I’m going to live blog his talk. This post is a (mildly) edited live transcription of his talk.
Richard Saul Wurman – information architect
RSW: Lovely to be back in a place that rescued me from bankruptcy, had the job for a year then was fired. Loved all the students, the president was terribly gracious. Taught one class that was open to all students – ‘Passion in Pomona’ what his friends were passionate about. Francis Crick, Frank O. Gehry, a kite maker – the collection of odd people was a continuation of my curiosities – I’m not very bright, but shallow, and broad looking into lots of connections. Didn’t want hyperbolic introduction.
Dean Micheal Woo: Tonight we’re having a dialog between me and Mr. Wurman, then open it to audience questions. [Continued on verbatim repeat of the email sent out about the event]:
I first learned about Mr. Wurman in the early 1970s, when he published a series of books which attempt to explain the physical environment and explore the ways in which people understand how cities and designed environments work [Our Man-Made Environment — Book Seven (1970); Making the City Observable (1971); The Nature of Recreation: A handbook in honor of Frederick Law Olmsted, using examples From his work (1972); Yellow Pages of Learning Resources (1972)]. He was educated as an architect at the University of Pennsylvania, where he worked with Louis Kahn and later co-edited The Notebooks and Drawings of Louis Kahn (1973).
This is like interviewing Charlie Parker or Robert Johnson for a music lover. [ Gave away a book to a student that rsvp’d via facebook]
RSW: I write about things that I don’t know about. As a 76 y.o. I needed to know about the medical system so I wrote about it. Wrote about children cause I have several… Singular passion to learn about what he doesn’t know and wants to learn about. Sold TED it in 2002. Reinventing several conferences about innovation. Defining innovation differently – need to do more than that. Incremental change – nobody invented a car – it was a bunch of additions and combinations. TED was subtractions: got rid of suits, panels, long speeches, silos around disciplines… like Passion at Pomona.