TEDxFargo – Greg Tehven

In Curating by Mark Sylvester


The Hack: Build a great team.
Share the spotlight.
Love others.

Greg Tehven, the Curator of TEDxFargo, has an infectious enthusiasm for his town and community. He loves finding ways to make the Speaker experience world-class. His mantra: Build the Community You Want to Live In.

There's a lot to learn from Greg and his approach to his event. His emphasis is how to have the most impactful use of time and money while creating a compelling event.

His origin story included rallying the town to fight a flood and was introduced to the world of TED with the Malcolm Gladwell TED Talk about spaghetti.

Listen as he recalls three stories about Speakers who launched ideas on the stage and what's become of them since their Talk was delivered. These stories clearly illustrate what can happen when everything comes together to propel an idea into the Universe.

TEDxFargo is our love letter to the Community."Greg Tahven, Curator

The Lightning Round

  • Tell us a bit about your background and your TEDx origin story.

    In 2011 Greg gave a talk at TEDxTC (Twin Cities) and in 2012 went to work on TEDxFargo. He was introduced to TED in 2007 when someone introduced him to Malcolm Gladwell's talk on Spaghetti

  • How many TEDx events have you worked with or produced?

    They've done eight so far, will do nine this year and looking forward to their tenth in 2018. The 2016 event sold out in 9 minutes.

  • What makes your TEDx unique?

    They've focused on deeply integrating the City's agenda with the focus on the Talks and Ideas on the TEDxFargo stage. The TED City2.0 project influenced Greg's thinking about how to jointly work with City leaders to foment change. He also believes that there's a lot of energy and excitement in Fargo and he wants to bring that to the world stage.

  • What’s your Superpower?

    Curating. He's got a point of view about how to work with Speakers. He knows how hard it is convincing people to come all the way to North Dakota, so he's made sure that every interaction with Speakers is world-class. He knows that they can't get paid, so he looks for other ways to compensate them. His answer; get them involved with local leaders beofre, during and after the event. If the idea involves education, have the Speaker meet with local educators while in town. They also have a Concierge, Story Coach, Slide Coach and pretty much anything else that the speakers could need to prepare the talk of their lives.

  • What was the biggest surprise while working on your event?

    That people would question his motives. They'd ask, "What's the catch?" They wouldn't believe that the event was entirely run by volunteers and that it's not a money-making endeavor. The other surprise is why Education is still giving lectures in front of classrooms instead of dipping into the TED Talks library for course-coutent.

  • Every event has its challenges, what was the biggest dragon you had to overcome?

    Raising money and selling tickets. (Note: remember his event sold out in 9 minutes, so maybe he was worried after 8 minutes? ;-). The current challenge is how to manifest his dream for 2018, which is bringing all 150 alumni speakers back to Fargo.

  • What’s one piece of advice you have for veteran organizers? For first-timers?

    "Count Yourself In." You're good enough to pull this off, even if it's your first event." Find your X-Factor. There's always a 2% extra effort that will yield a 90% return. What is that for your event?

  • Looking forward to your next event, what excites you the most?

    Creating 50 high-impact events for the 2018 Alumni Reunion with local leaders in the public, private and educational sectors.

  • What’s a TEDx event that you’d like to attend?


  • The show is called Hacking the Red Circle, so what's your best hack?

    Build a great team. Share the spotlight. Love others. With abundance thinking, anything is possible.

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