Non-profit Organization

Non-profit Organization



Sincethe introduction of the internet technology, acquisition ofinformation has become easy. Several websites and authors offer freeinformation published in personal blogs and the social media.However, the free information tends to be the opinion that ispublished by non-professionals. On the contrary, the majority of thecontent published by research professionals is available at a fee.Besides, the information tends to be based on a single subject.Richard Saul Wurman and Harry Marks observed the weakness anddeveloped a platform that could integrate knowledge in Technology,Entertainment and Design (TED) that led to the establishment of TEDTalks. The organization broadcasts specific conferences worldwide(Topo, 2009).

RichardSaul Wurman, a seasoned architect cum graphic designer, observed thattechnology, entertainment, and design fields converged at some point.As such, he planned a one-time conference that would bring togetherprofessionals in the fields. He partnered with Harry Marks toorganize the first conference in 1984, which included exhibitionssuch as the first AppleMacintoshcomputer and SonyCompact Discdemos. The main speakers at the first conference included famousdigerati members such as Stewart Brand and Nicholas Negroponte andmathematicians such as Benoit Mandelbrot. However, the event was afinancial fiasco. As a result, it took the organizers six years toorganize another event. Presently, the non-profit Sapling Foundationowns the TED Talks Company. Each year, TED Talks holds twoconferences in Vancouver (Canada) and Whistler (British Columbia)respectively. The slogan of the private organization is “IdeasWorth Spreading”.Speakers, who include influential people from across the world, havea maximum of eighteen minutes to present valuable information to theaudience using the most innovative approach possible (Topo, 2009).

Corporatename: Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) conference

Foundingdate: 1984

Foundingleaders: Richard Saul Wurman and Harry Marks.

Essentialevents and critical incidents in the company’s history

Oneof the essential events of the TED Company was the observation thattechnology entertainment and design meets at some point. Theorganization also began inviting the famous and influential people inthe society to address the conferences at a fee to meet the cost ofrunning the event. Besides, the organizers also worked to raise themoney needed to meet the expenses of the event. While the first TEDevent failed financially, the success of the second conference in1980 motivated the company’s pioneers to organize similar eventsannually (Bury, 2013).

Since1990, the fans of the conferences (TEDsters) increased drastically.Eventually, the event organizers had to relocate the conferencefacilities from Monterey, California to Long Beach, California in2009. The number of attendants had increased tremendously, perhapsbecause the organization evolved to incorporate other study fieldsthat were originally unacceptable. Diversification of speakersensured that the content could suit a wide range of clients (Hui,2013).

In2000, Chris Anderson (an entrepreneur and business enthusiast) metWurman to brainstorm on potential objectives and the development ofthe organization. At 65 years, Wurman was looking for a successor tothe organization. He sold the company to Anderson’s UK-based mediacompany- Future (Mathews, 2012).

In2001, Anderson’s non-profit organization, the Sapling Foundation,purchased TED from Future. As the curator of the company, Andersonshared the mission of the company – “Ideasworth spreading”.He steered its development until he had to relocate it to Long BeachIsland, California due to high attendance. Wurman delivered a TEDTalk in 2002 that aimed at explaining the direction of the company.He left the organization the same year after explaining hismanagement plan (Mathews, 2012).

Andersonestablished TEDGlobal in 2005. The conference is an internationallybased meeting that resembles TEDTalks. However, 20 speakers arechosen from a list of more than 100 influential people from acrossthe globe. Bruno Giussani from Switzerland is the manager of thesister company (Hui, 2013).

Similarly,TEDTalks established the TEDPrize. The branch offered three people aprize of $100,000 per year up to 2010. Besides, the winners wereallowed an opportunity to request a wish at the primary conference.Nevertheless, the reward was modified to just one winner so that TEDcan focus on delivering the promise him or her requests. Moreover,TED modified the prize to $1 million dollars in 2013(Hui, 2013).

In2006, TED congregation paid $4,400 per person. However, the companyaltered the policy to an annual membership fee in 2007. Consequently,members pay $6,000 fee that caters for club mailings, conferenceattendance, conference DVDs and networking tools (Taleb, 2010).

In2005, Anderson hired June Cohen in the capacity of the TED MediaDirector. June proposed establishing a television show based on theTED shows. Nevertheless, numerous networks declined the proposal. Sheresolved to acquire “Creative CommonsAttribution-NonCommercial-NoDerives 3.0” that would allow thecompany to distribute selected shows in public media free. The firstvideos uploaded in iTunes, YouTube, and TED website. The popularityof the videos encouraged the company to invest in a website – – that it presently uses to display popular conferencespublic at no cost (Taleb, 2010).


Originally,TED was a conference website that targeted professionals based inTechnology, Entertainment, and Design. The founder, Wurman was agraphics designer and an architect. He had observed that theknowledge in the field converged at some point despite beingdifferent. In particular, he intended to promote the sciencedeveloped in the Silicon Valley (Taleb, 2010).


Nevertheless,Chris Anderson introduced diversity in 2000 after he met Wurman. Hedescribed the objective of TED as spreading valuable information thatcan influence humans to explore their best achievement. Subsequently,he began drawing the speakers from a wide range of academic, culturaland scientific fields (Taleb, 2010).

Besides,the company has introduced a wide range of extra customer-orientedprograms. One of them includes a website ( where millions ofviewers can access that conference online. The payment for attendingthe meetings was revised to an annual membership fee that is open toeveryone. Prior to 2005, the programs were only available to a groupof about 800 people. Furthermore, the congregation had to part with$4,400 to appear at the conferences (Lacy, 2010).

TEDhas also developed numerous other services that targets to expand thenumber of people who can access the information. Wurman’s modelcompany was a for-profit business, but Chris Anderson converted itinto a not-for-profit business.

Anotherservice that TED offers includes TEDGlobal. The event is aninternational conference held in different locations across theglobe. Its intention is to spread motivation to the highest number ofpeople possible. The TEDPrize is a grant, presently of one million USdollars, that one of the presenters achieves at the main conference.The winner makes a wish that the company promises to deliver (Lacy,2010).

Finally,the video and audio TEDTalks is a program that advocates the releaseof the best videos and speeches. The development of the programmotivated establishment of the “The Open Translation Project(OTP)”, which translates the talks into other languages for thebenefit of the people who are not understand English (Lacy, 2012).

Theevolution of new products

Thenew products and services TED offers resulted from the necessity ofthe program to reach a big number of people. After The SaplingFoundation had acquired the company, its mission changed from gainingprofit to influencing as many people as possible. As a result, theorganization hired June Cohen to manage the media branch. Sheattempted to collaborate with the televisions to acquire space tobroadcast the best shows unsuccessfully. Finally, the enterpriseresolved to develop the, a website that allows viewers toaccess the best TEDTalks online at no cost (Lacy, 2012).

Entryinto new business lines

Onthe other hand, the TEDGlobal offers worldwide replica conferences atvarious destinations across the globe. The TEDex branch offerslicenses to autonomous people, corporate or countries that want toarrange events that resemble the TED programs. The TEDxYouth targetsyouths between seventh and twelfth grade. The TEdMed conferencesfocus on health and medicine while TEDWomen discusses women issuessuch as reproductive health and gender issues. Similarly, TedEd Clubsmentors young people to share their innovation ideas while TEDBooksare publications based on the influential authors. The objective ofthese new business lines is enhancing the availability of criticalinformation to the target clients (Lacy, 2012).


AlthoughTED has expanded successfully in the last two decades, theorganization faces serious issues ranging from criticism of itscontent delivery management. The conferences receive thousands ofapplications that have to be evaluated and reduced to four overdifferent stages. Tozi (2012) describes the process to win a positionat TEDTalk as almost impossible. He compares the application processto submitting the same application repeatedly (Lacy, 2012).

Second,the membership fee is so high that only the elite in the society canafford. Lacy (2010) also supports the view that the conferencedeliberately charges high annual fees as a way to keep away the poor.Furthermore, people who are not famous receive cold treatment despiteparting with huge entry fees (Debunking TED myths, n.d).

Third,the company has to cover a wide range of topics. According to itsFrequently Asked Questions Forum, some people accuse the managementof blocking some topics such as GMOs and food among other supplies.Nevertheless, the management remains adamant that the company isimpartial (Debunking TED myths, n.d).

Fourth,the company is a woeful political tool. Consequently, the managementneeds to use extra precaution to avoid airing controversial politicalsubjects that one can mistake for favoritism. Besides, allocatingbroadcast space on the and other public media remains a bigissue since the organization has to choose the best content withoutmaking it appear as if they prefer person or topic A to B (DebunkingTED myths, n.d).

Onvarious occasions, the TED organizers have clashed with the speakers.For example, Chris Anderson (a TED organizer) used his Twitter handleto object Sarah Silverman’s (a 2010 speaker) statement that shetalked about adopting “retarded”. Subsequently, they engaged inTwitter war (Arington, 2010).

Taleb(2010) asserts that TED converts high-level thinkers, philosophersand scientists into amateurish entertainers. His allegation was onthe fact that TED ignored his research and warning speech against thelooming financial crisis in U.S.A. Subsequently, he accuses thecompany of mistaking him for an entertainer instead of an expertgiving critical observation on the United State’s economic status.

Finally,Nick Hanauer (the Seattle multimillionaire investor) also trashes theapproach TED uses to choose the speakers. He contends that the richare neither the primary creators of jobs nor the brains behindsuccessful businesses. Instead, the rich often overshadow themajority of the innovative and intelligent people. TED considered hisview extremely political and controversial such that they refused torelease the speech on their website (Mathews, 2012).

Giventhe controversies, the accusations, and the alleged marginalizationtactics that TED Company uses, one may question the credibility ofthe information the organization releases to the public. The fansfear that it could be biased to favor the elitist world. Perhaps thecompany may need to do away with the elitist mentality andincorporate people based on their intelligence instead of wealth.According to Hui (2013), the TED conferences are not just for theaverage person or the upcoming innovators. A speaker must give atleast three website references, their professional interest, andmajor achievements. Therefore, the website advocates for elitism asit uses the prominence of the speakers instead of searching for thecreativity the individuals can introduce. The observation has someelement of truth considering that that the application fees to attendthe TED conferences cost $7,500 for regulars, $15,000 for donors and$125,000 for patrons.

III:Research Question

SinceTED operates on the principles of elitism, has the tendency led toindiscriminate bias in the selection, broadcast and communication ofconcepts?

SectionIV: Hypothesis

  1. The economically rich tend to be famous and the most influential in the society. Does this mean that economically disadvantaged people are not as intelligent as the wealthy?

  2. Nick Hanauer trashes the elitism TED practices by arguing that it should streamline their policies to incorporate the ordinary people (Mathews, 2012). Does this mean that the rich are not the primary providers of innovation and employment opportunities?

SectionV: Research Significance

Thesignificance of this research would be determining the pros and consof elitism. TED only allows exclusive access and honing of innovativeminds of the people who are financially incapable. It has establisheda rigorous vetting technique that aims to exclude the economicallydisadvantaged and the non-influential people from presenting theirviews at the conferences (Lacy, 2012).

Second,it will define the people who drive the economy. The dominance of theelite makes humans think that the affluent are the primary providersof employment. Nevertheless, The Seattle billionaire and venturecapitalist argues that the workers at the bottom are the mainemployers. For a long time, the paradox of the rich versus thelower-income economy influence on the provision of employment hasremained unexplored. The outcome of the research will help to solvethe issue for the last time (Arington, 2010).

Finally,the findings help the TED Company to view its policies from theperspective of observers with no bias therefore, they would be in aposition to streamline the management to include everyone in thesociety with capacity to enhance innovation. For over three decades,the conferences are highly censored and often accused of partiality.This way, the research will improve the survivability of thecontroversial laden company (Lacy, 2012).

SectionVI: Purpose

Thepurpose of the current project research is to develop evidence-backedproof that TED needs to improve its management policies and becomeall-inclusive because it ignores an important part of the societybased on people’s financial incapability. On the same note, theresearch will help to end or decrease extensive criticism that hashighly weighed down the organization for many years. Elitismconsiders the rich as the primary employers and the force behinddevelopment. Nonetheless, the wealthy people often overshadow thebrains behind development in the community. On many cases, the richand famous do not provide employment because they delegateresponsibilities to junior managers who are specialists in theirrespective fields and then give them capital to establish businessand hire employees. According to Bill Gates, “Discrimination has alot of layers that make it tough for minorities to get a leg up”(Bury, 2013).

Presently, the conferences have been helping the rich to advancetheir development plans. However, a review of the regulations of thecompany will help the ideas shared on the website to boost thecreativity of the economically disadvantaged people. After all, thepurpose of the programs is to help the economically successful andthe intelligent persons to inspire the ordinary people to come upwith strategies that would help them compete with the elites. In thepresent management approach, TED Company knowledge benefits thewealthy. It is helping to create an economy of a few thousands ofmillionaires and billionaires and millions of poverty-riddentaxpayers that lack motivation in life (Bury, 2013).

Section:VII: Data Collection/Research Methods

Theproject utilizes a qualitative data collection method. The scope ofdata collection ranges from the date the first TED conference washeld in the 1984 to the present date in 2015. Qualitative data willbe sorted to ensure accuracy and relevancy (Arington, 2010).

Easeof applications

Theproject analyzes the various commentaries by individuals on the TEDwebsite with the aim to obtain the available information on thenumber of applications received and how many are processed. The aimis to demonstrate the hardship faced to win a position, especially inthe TEDTalks. The project shall further demonstrate the processesbehind the evaluation techniques used by the management with an aimof revealing the complexities behind approvals (Bury, 2013).

Projectfee data

First,the project aim is to identify the donor finances for the projectsince it began. Second, the project membership fee will be analyzedfrom when the membership fee was revised to annually in the year2005. The majority citizens will present a full analysis of thevarious project fees to illustrate the variation and affordability.


Theproject analyzes the questions as per the frequently asked questionpage of TEDTalks to evaluate the various topics that the managementallegedly blocks. The project will develop a table containing thetopic and the frequency of blocks. The management`s approach towardsthe frequently asked questions will further be analyzed to identify,beyond a reasonable doubt, whether the obstruction is intentional ornot (Topo, 2009).


Theproject evaluates the various past discussions On TED Talks toidentify any politically motivated discussions. Besides, the projectwill provide information on the political affiliations as well as thecandidates supported during the various selected conferences. Theproject will avoid bias by providing information on efforts made toreduce the idea of political preferences among the viewers. Theefforts include the availability of viewer warning messages tellingthe viewer that the opinions expressed in the show are not theopinion of TED Talks but purely those of the participants in thediscussions (Bury, 2013)..


Theproject aim to evaluate the number of times conflict has emergedbetween TED organizers and the main speakers. The analysis shallinclude the various media where conflict emerged and theconversations that led to and after the conflict added as evidence(Bury, 2013).

Selectionof speakers

Theproject analyzes the processes involved by TED to choose the variousspeakers for their shows. In addition, various materials such asjournals will be accessed to access the various processes and anycriticisms (Bury, 2013).


Theintroduction of technology has made it easy to acquire information.There are websites that offer free information while others charge afee. TED- Technology, Entertainment, and Design is a platformdeveloped to integrate knowledge. It led to the formation of TEDTalks organization whose aim is to broadcast specific conferencesworldwide. Saul Wurman- a seasoned architect and graphic designerformed the TED organization. The first conference held in 1984included various exhibitions such as those of the Apple Macintoshcomputer and Sony compact disc demos (Bury, 2013).

Currently,TED introduced a wide range of customer-oriented programs. Theyinclude that contains online conferences. The fees wererevised into an annual membership fee basis. Before the year 2005,the programs were available to 800 people who were charged $ 4,400 toappear at the conferences. The organization has been transformed fromWurman’s for profit organization into a not for profit organizationby Chris Anderson (Bury, 2013).

Someof the services offered by TED include TEDGlobal, TEDPrize and theTEDTalks, TEDex, Youth, TEDMed, TEDWomen, TEDEd clubs mentors andTEDBooks. There are even translation services to translate thelanguage for individuals that are not native speakers (Mathews,2012).

Despitethe exponential growth of the organization, it faces variouscriticisms. It is the mission of this project to evaluate the typeand validity of the criticism on TED organization. The variouscriticisms include the supposed delivery of biased content in theform of selection of speakers. Second, the conferences charge highfees that are only affordable to elitists they exclude and alienatemajority of citizens. Third, the application process is cumbersome,and the majority of applications rejected lack proper explanations.Fourth, the conferences are accused of being politically affiliated.Finally, the organization has been claimed to result in conflictsbetween the organizers and the main speakers (Topo, 2009).


Thereare various organizations similar to the TED organization such as 99percent, The feast, School of life, Oprah`s Master class and captureyour flag. INKTalk is similar to TED. In contrast, INKTalk is morelenient. The fans describe the INKTalk shows as more diverse. Theshow hosts various talks from both the United States and India.INKTalk has a better public relation and web presence (Topo, 2009).

Similaris PINCtalks based in Netherlands that hosts a variety of talks fromNetherlands and the United States. Onion Talks is yet another showthat has the aim to satirize the TEDTalk show. As opposed to the useof websites, the Oniontalks uses other media such as YouTube andmakes their videos available to everyone. Second, Onion talks providea variety and volumes of videos. The shows produce new content perweek on Wednesday. Further, Oniontalks are created like a series thatmakes the audience follow episode after episode. The shows areneutral political and are non-discriminative (Bye, 2010).


TEDcan achieve its goals by capitalizing on its strengths andopportunities and minimizing on weaknesses as it counteracts thethreats. First is planning that serves as strength. Specifically, itis quite a plan to be open in the ways that matter. TED managementhighly plans on the various items released to despite havingmore than 25,000 TEDx talks, only 1% is distributed. It is a plan forthe organization to be selective enough when posting its content.Organizing serves as strength Ted has an organized management thatcan handle crowds and allow various contributions to identifyingareas of required changes. Leadership serves as the strength for TED.The leaders sent the TEDx community a letter explaining thatpresenting rogue science ideas on TEDx stage were enough reason torevoke licenses. The letter served as a reminder of what TED is fromwhat it is not. The idea was to provide to the audience the type ofcontent considered appropriate by TEDx (Bye, 2010).

Amongthe weakness is controlling. TEDs management tendency to respondrapidly to the crowd’s online critics by designing new policies isa sign of lost control and a possible threat. There is dire need toredirect the mob. Crowds are unmanageable via transactional exchangesor economic incentives. Instead, control is enhanced by indicating tothe crowd the purpose of the organization and making them share thepurpose (Debunking TED myths, n.d).

Thefive forces model as applied by TEDx is of great benefit. First, thecompany faces great threats from new market entrants. The competitionfor online shows is on the increase, and the popularity of TEDx is atstake. New entrants emerge from every corner of the world and presenta shared audience. TEDx requires taking advantage and develop newservices to attract customer loyalty (Arington, 2010).

Secondare the forces from the bargaining power of the audience. TEDx needsto be creative enough to understand the changes in audiencepreferences to make appropriate changes. A simple disregard of theaudience brings the potential unpopularity of the organization(Arington, 2010).


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