TEDxSydney Founder & Licensee Remo Giuffré reflects on his long and ongoing career as a content curator and community builder, and tells us what he’s focused on curating NOW that he has wound back his day-to-day involvement with TEDxSydney.
I vividly remember the conversation that I had with my wife Melanie when TED approached me with the opportunity to take on the licence for TEDxSydney back in 2009.
At the time we were struggling to make ends meet running a small online REMO retail business from a tiny shop front in Bondi; and, as is often the case for entrepreneurs and small business owners, we were skating at the edge of the abyss.
Over dinner that night, here’s how it went down: “So Darling … TED have set up this new programme, and they want me to be the TEDx licensee for Sydney. They regard me as a safe pair of hands for the Asia Pacific region. It will involve creating a cultural organisation from scratch, building a crack team, and delivering a world class event. It’s going to involve hundreds (maybe thousands) of hours of work … and, by the way, it can’t make us any money by definition. What do you say Honey?”
It was a fairly crazy idea for us at the time, but we agreed that it made personal sense for me to do it. I was not far away from turning 50 … and maybe it was a good time for an old dog to learn a new trick … by shifting my curatorial focus away from the THINGS that the REMO General Store had been presenting since launching in 1988 to the worthy IDEAS that TED was committed to spreading. The “T Shirt Guy” reinvented as “The Ideas Guy.”
It all went better than anyone could have imagined … and before too long TEDxSydney had become Australia’s leading ideas forum and the world’s leading TEDx event.
It’s been a wild ride for me personally … and a terrifically rewarding one ticking all 3 of my long time “C” word boxes: Content, Curation and Community.
Having been-there-done-that with TEDxSydney for 13 years, and although I happily and proudly continue forward as Licensee and a Director, I stepped aside as CEO last year … so that I could focus on a NEW idea involving those very same 3 C’s. REMORANDOM will be a biannual book series launching later in 2023 that will manifest a curation of snack-sized facts, stories and ideas designed to inform and entertain a global community of curious readers. Uncommon knowledge. Everything interesting.
So my next curatorial focus will involve a search for INTERESTING stories … and I really look forward to taking everything that I’ve learned about the curation of ideas and people, and applying it to what I feel could be an exciting and timely new publishing endeavour.
As Chris Anderson, the Head of TED, said when I showed him the idea: “Ah print … I remember thee well.”
My life of curation continues.