TEDxMidAtlantic – David Troy – Organizer

In Curating, Marketing by Mark Sylvester


The Hack: As the host, your job is to make the audience feel comfortable and confident

David Troy has been producing TEDxMidAtlantic with his co-organizer Nate Mook since 2009. That’s eight years of experience which is evident in this episode.  His own talk on TED.com has been seen over 1.3M times. He’s been asked to speak globally, including a talk at TEDxIstanbul. David said that working on TEDx adds a lot of value to his life.

As a host, he loves working with the speakers and helps curate with Nate.  Together they craft the event as if it’s a concept album, with a narrative flow that covers the two-day event.

TEDxMidAtlantic is a Level 2 show. This year’s theme is Superpowers, which is one of this podcast’s favorite topics.He says each year’s theme puts a frame around the current zeitgeist represented by the speakers. Over the years the team has grown to 275, with 50 active on any given event and 25 on the core group.

I found my tribe at TEDGlobalDavid Troy, TEDxMidAtlantic, Organizer

David’s TED Talk – over 1.3M views

The Lightning Round

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

    David started listening to TED Talks in 2007 on an iPod. He attended a TEDx in Shanghai in 2009 and was hooked.

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

    For a few years, they produced the event in Baltimore and DC and switched between them – hence the name MidAtlantic. They’re now exclusively out of DC. He’s spoken at TEDx events, and his team has produced Salons in addition to the main event each year.

  • What makes your TEDx unique?

    They produce a Level 2 event which gives them the opportunity to have a lot more speakers over the two days. David says that they focus on creating a vibe and cultural ethos. At the heart of the political scene, they’ve had many well-known names on their stage.

  • What’s your Superpower?

    Curating and Marketing. I’d add that the conversation would suggest that he’s also very gifted at team-building. He talks about building capacity to distribute the load and focuses each year on adding to the team of over 275 people.

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

    How open the community is. They’ve created a TEDx community of peers.

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

    Money. (Where have we heard this before?) “What do we have to sacrifice?

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

    Focus on the speakers first. This leads to a theme, which puts a frame around the zeitgeist. Each year will be different. Try to put your finger on the feeling.

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

    As of the day we recorded, they had ten confirmed speakers, still working on the other 20+. The theme, Superpowers, is fascinating and inspiring to work with.

  • 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?

    Your job as the host is to make the audience feel comfortable and confident. And make sure the show runs on time.

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