The Hack: Think about your event as a family gathering
Raashi Saxena, the organizer for TEDxKoramangala, in Bangalore, is an area packed with startups and provides a great mix of scientist, creators, and inventors.
One of the reasons that she loves TEDx is that it fulfills her desire to meet and work with interesting people. She says that she, "Loves TEDx'ing." This is the first time we've heard TEDx as a verb. I met Raashi at the 2017 TEDfest in NYC. She's gregarious and clearly enjoyed being around 500 other organizers on her first trip to the US.
Her focus on the event is clearly on making sure that the audience experience is optimized to meet new people and start conversations. With over 1,000 at her last event, we can imagine lots of new friendships were created.
I think the most important thing is courage."Raashi Saxena, Organizer
The Lightning Round
Tell us a bit about your background and your TEDx origin story.
TED came to Mysore, India in 2009 and started the TED experience for the sub-continent. That's when she first heard about it. In 2014 and 2015 she volunteered at TEDxBangalore because she knew the organizer. It was a lot of fun, and she managed to meet some interesting people. (That's how it starts folks.)
How many TEDx events have you worked with or produced?
Raashi's last event was at her University with 100 people at TEDxBMSIT, and then in 2016, she started TEDxKoramangala. She's attended a workshop in South Asia (Sri Lanka) and said it was "the best week of my life." (If you have a chance to attend a workshop, do it.) She's also been a co-organizer on TEDxYouth events.
What makes your TEDx unique?
Her town is known as the startup region of India (Bangalore is famous at the Silicon Valley of India and Koramangala is the actual center of that focus). This means she has access to a lot of talent, but she's keenly aware that there's a lot of 'me-toos' and 'app-developers' that don't have an idea worth sharing, so she's good at filtering them out and focusing on 'fresh perspectives.'
What’s your Superpower?
It's all about perseverance she says. Specifically, she's great at organizing and collaborating. She loves meeting and working with new people.
What was the biggest surprise while working on your event?
That even though TED has been in India since 2009, many still do not know about TED and much less about the difference between TED and TEDx.
Every event has its challenges, what was the biggest dragon you had to overcome?
Time. The other dragon is how to manage expectations with partners about controversial topics, such as sexual orientation, gay marriage, etc. (She's a force to contend with, having met her in person at TEDfest, so I'd love to be in the room to hear her fight for the ideas.)
What’s one piece of advice you have for veteran organizers? For first-timers?
The magic is in your team.
Looking forward to your next event, what excites you the most?
The curation and selecting speakers.
What’s a TEDx event that you’d like to attend?
TEDxSingapore because of Dave Lim. And TEDxBeaconStreet.
The show is called Hacking the Red Circle, so what's your best hack?
Think about your team and the audience as a family. Everything you do should go towards improving networking, making great friends, working together and falling in love with ideas.