Ideas taking flight… and landing!

The space between theory and reality in space travel just narrowed dramatically for humankind. Mere days after Erika Wagner spoke at TEDxRainier 2015 about space travel for the everyday person, we can now celebrate an historic feat in rocket science taking us one step towards commercial space travel!

In a test launch on Monday, November 24th in the Texas desert, Blue Origin (where Wagner works) sent a rocket 62 miles above earth, and then brought it back down in a perfectly safe vertical landing. A successful landing of a spent rocket leaps a huge hurdle for space travel, and Blue Origin plans to put this advancement towards one day sending civilian astronauts up into space to look down at their home planet, weightless from above.

This idea worth spreading has literally taken flight! Watch this incredible video of New Shepard’s successful landing below, and congratulations to Erika Wagner and the Blue Origin team!

Leading the conversation on education reform

Jesse Hagopian is leading the conversation on education reform both locally and nationally. A history teacher at Garfield High School, Hagopian led the 2013 boycott against common core testing, unanimously backed by Garfield faculty.

Hagopian has taken an active role in speaking out against standardized testing, appearing on NBC and in a recent feature on PBS Newshour. He and many other educators argue that excessive testing distracts from the actual goals of education – teaching critical thinking and giving students tools for success. Through his blog I Am An Educator, Hagopian works to educate parents and students about their right to opt out of testing, and just this past year over half of all Juniors in Washington state chose to opt out.

In a hopeful announcement, President Obama himself recently called for a cap on excessive testing, citing that kids need to enjoy learning, teachers must be able to teach creatively, and that the tools our students need in order to be prepared for their futures can’t be learned by filling in bubbles.

Jessie Hagopian will be sharing some of his experiences at this year’s TEDxRainier at McCaw Hall.

Back of the room at The Riveter as the audience watches TEDxSeattleLive on the large screen

TEDxSeattleLive: Watching TED 2018 "The Age of Amazement"


To introduce TED2018, TED owner Chris Anderson and TED Head of Curation Helen Walters asked the audience to complete a simple task: to turn to someone whom they didn’t know and state what, over the last year, the main emotion is that they’ve felt. In Seattle, the crowd that was gathered at TEDxSeattleLive followed suit. Strangers exchanged quick greetings and with just a few minutes for the exercise began sharing their hope—and fears—from the past year.  Looking from the back of the audience during TEDxSeattleLive 2018 held at The Riveter

While there was plenty of apprehension in the crowd, there was also hope for what the next year would bring despite an increasingly divisive global culture. Seattle has long been known as a city filled with forward-thinking innovation and passion for change, so it’s no surprise a day full of learning and inspiration was met with such an openness to how an idea can shape the future.

The event screened two different sessions over the course of the day: “Doom. Gloom. Outrage. Uproar.” then “Wow. Just wow.” Between the two sessions, the audience listened to topics ranging from the #MeToo movement by Tracee Ellis Ross, to how artificial intelligence can upheave the job market as we know it today by Kai-Fu Lee.

TEDxSeattle Announces Speaker Line-up for 2018 Event

SEATTLEJuly 31, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- TEDxSeattle today announced its speakers selected for the ninth annual TEDxSeattle event, taking place at McCaw Hall on November 17, 2018. Speakers and entertainers will take the stage to inspire and engage with the audience, creating a unique experience around the theme "Tall Order."

A tall order, by definition, is demanding. In today's landscape, humans encounter moments that may feel unattainable. This year's theme balances the sense that these are challenging times – but the challenges can be met. The speakers and topics selected for TEDxSeattle 2018 will identify and examine tall orders facing our communities and our society as part of the day-long event, encouraging attendees to explore the tall orders in their lives.

With more than 200 applicants, the speaker selection team identified a diverse mix of activists, researchers, artists, leaders and innovators. Attendees can expect to hear topics ranging from gender parity to stem cell research and the role of blockchain. The full roster of speakers includes:

  • Amy Ansel, Founder, Titan Bioplastics & Titan Hemp
  • Sam Dinning, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, King County
  • Kirk Grogan, Marketing and sales strategist
  • barry johnson, Multi-disciplinary artist, children's book author, editor
  • Anirudh Koul, Artificial intelligence (AI) researcher and data scientist
  • Colin MacDonald, Designer for Parkour Visions, play enthusiast
  • Mark Mueller-Eberstein, Blockchain expert, author, Adgetec CEO
  • Chuck Murry, M.D., Ph.D., Director, UW Medicine's Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine
  • Sara Sanford, Executive Director, Gender Equity Now (GEN)
  • Anastacia-Renee, Seattle civic poet, former Hugo House poet-in-residence, author
  • Judy Twedt, Climate researcher, atmospheric scientist, data sound artist
  • Jono Vaughan, Artist, transgender activist, assistant professor, Bellevue College

TEDxSeattle is made possible by volunteers and our sponsors. The Washington State Employees Credit Union (WSECU) will return as TEDxSeattle's lead sponsor for the fourth year running, this year as the 2018 Title Partner. Additional partners include KCTS, The Riveter, Edelman and SAP Concur. Learn more about partnering with us today.

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About TEDx
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a program called TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Our event is called TEDxSeattle, where x = independently organized TED event. At our TEDxSeattle event, TEDTalks video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events, including ours, are self-organized.

About TEDxSeattle
TEDxSeattle is a self-sustaining, volunteer-run, non-profit with a license from TED to independently organize a local TED event. What started in 2010 as TEDxRainier with an audience of 600 for a one-day event has evolved to TEDxSeattle with an audience filling McCaw Hall's 2,800-seat auditorium. Over the years, attendees have heard 130 speakers. Of those speakers, several have gone on to speak at TED Global while the videos of their presentations have received more than 15 million views. Learn more at

WSECU is a not-for-profit community credit union offering membership to anyone in Washington state, with a special focus on public employees and others who work to improve their communities. Learn more at

2019 TEDxSeattle Photos

2019 TEDxSeattle Photos