TED Talk Idea Pitch in Shark Tank Style at Willis Tower

Technews Writer
Sat Mar 31, 2018

TEDxIIT has an unprecedented opportunity to experience what ideas are worth spreading.


TEDxIIT founder and curator, Amy Lee Segami, invited the TEDxIIT 2018 Planning Team to volunteer at a TED Talk Idea Pitch hosted at the Metropolitan Club in the Willis Tower. 


Not a single member of the planning team had ever been to the Willis Tower before, much less an actual business event. Everyone was very excited. The team was immediately starstruck upon arrival. Sixty-six stories up off the ground in an exclusive area often seen only by the elite, they couldn’t help but to admire the area. The grand view of Chicago from the top. Open modern co-work space with eccentric furniture. Several people were conducting what looked like important business. It was inspiring. After marveling at the architecture, the team eventually found Segami in the event room giving directions to fine tune the setup. 


Seeing that the team had finally arrived, Segami immediately set everyone to work. Chairs were rearranged to fit the shark tank-style event. Designated seating was marked, devices were connected and set up for checking in all guests. Most importantly, a team photo was taken. With the room finally put together, roles were assigned. Greeters both at the elevator and the front-desk, photographers stationed strategically around the room; everyone was tasked with something that would allow them to connect with the guests. In fact, guests began to arrive an hour before anyone was expecting them.


Photos were snapped and names were exchanged in the excitement leading up to the actual event. With the room filling up, many of the TEDxIIT members began to interact more closely with the guests.


Special Event Chair, Monique Washington, a real estate agent worked one-on-one with many of the team members to document the event in real-time in social media. She was so impressed with the efficiency and professionalism of the team that she asked if they could help her with the social media for her own real estate business. 


As the room continued to fill with more people and food, excitement began to fill the air. Soon, it was nearly time for the event to start. Just before 5:30 p.m., Segami took the stage to warm up the audience and the event was commenced. 


Fifteen speakers pitched 15 completely unique ideas to three Sharks: Amy Segami (TEDxIIT), Ryan McHenry (TEDxNorthwestern) and Jessica Lederhausen TEDxChicago. These seasoned panelists not only have curated their own independently organized events, they also have attended TED organized events and familiar with the TED culture and expectation.


With two minutes each, everyone heard a variety of ideas concerning many different things. People spoke about automating habits, using AI to curate relationships, teenagers having new ideas, as well as a plethora of other ideas. It was mesmerizing. Each speaker was given feedback by the “Sharks.”


After the pitch, TEDxIIT speakers, Tim Rhode and Charles Faulkner, were invited on the stage to join the “Sharks.”


Fueled by adrenaline and equipped with the newfound knowledge on how to pitch a talk to a TEDx event, the crowd had an opportunity to ask questions.


Many of the speakers connected with the TEDxIIT team to learn more about how they could come speak at the main event of TEDxIIT 2018. Words cannot fully describe how exciting it was to be in a room filled with ideas intended to be worth spreading. The only advice one can offer is to immerse in the experience. 


With the gained experience from the TED Talk Idea Pitch, TEDxIIT is planning the Pre-Event to provide the best experience for everyone who attends. 


Besides presenters like John Kennedy, a consultant who specializes in improving brain performance, there will be dancers, singers, and so much more.


Join us on Sunday, April 8, from 1-5 p.m. to have a day of enjoyment, networking, and free food. To receive your complimentary ticket, please register now at TEDxIIT.Eventbrite.com.




We look forward to seeing you. You will thank us later.

Appears in
2018 - Spring - Issue 11 (April Fools)