Speakers and Performers @ TEDxSanDiego 2014

Chain Re·ac·tion

Chain Reaction, explores the ways in which a person, idea or technology
is able to affect the lives of many, thus changing the fabric of our society.

Check out the event photos on Flickr!

James Altucher

James Altucher is a successful entrepreneur, chess master, investor and writer. He is the author of the WSJ and Amazon Best-Sellers “Choose Yourself” and “The Power Of No” as well as ten other books. He has started and run more than 20 companies, and sold several of those businesses for large exits and failed miserably at all the rest. His book “Choose Yourself” explains how he rose from repeated failure to find success. He has also run venture capital funds, hedge funds, is an active angel investor, and currently sits on the boards of several companies.

San Diego School of Ballet

The San Diego School of Ballet’s Pre Professional Program educates some of the most talented young dancers aged 13-16 and offers them an opportunity to express themselves through dance. Many of its graduates have gone on to dance professionally with American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, Houston Ballet and many other famous domestic and international ballet companies.  Maxim Tchernychev is Ballet-master of the San Diego Ballet Company and the principal instructor at the San Diego School of Ballet’s Pre Professional Program.

Rabbi Laurie Coskey, Ed.D.

Her almost 30 year career has been marked by a commitment to issues of social justice. Since 2001, she has served as the Executive Director of the Interfaith Center for Worker Justice advocating on issues that impact the working poor, immigrants and the marginalized. Secretary Treasurer of the San Diego Convention Center Corporation Board of Directors and Rabbi in Residence at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral, she completed her undergraduate studies at Stanford University, was ordained at Hebrew Union College, and earned her doctorate in Leadership Studies at USD.

Janet Crawford

Janet Crawford is Principal of Cascadance and Founder of the Women and Innovation Lab.  Combining insights from neuroscience, evolutionary biology, and experimental psychology, she helps leaders build productive, innovative and collaborative corporate cultures.  With two decades of experience coaching and consulting for Fortune 500 companies, her client organizations span the who’s who of Silicon Valley and beyond. Janet holds a Masters from Stanford University and a BA from U.C. Berkeley.

Opera Exposed!

Opera Exposed! is San Diego Opera’s community engagement program, designed to bring opera to communities and neighborhoods who haven’t had the opportunity to experience it. The singers are undergraduates or recent graduates of local university music departments whose major area of study is voice or opera. Soprano Christen Horne is a recent graduate of Point Loma Nazarene University; baritone Anthony Whitson Martini is a senior at PLNU. Pianist Nicolas Reveles is the Director of Education and Community Engagement for San Diego Opera.

Kevin Faulconer

Kevin Faulconer has adopted innovation and opportunities as a fundamental policy platform. As Mayor, his goal is to raise San Diego’s profile as the most innovative city in America. Since his election he has worked to bring opportunities to all San Diego residents and helped bolster the City’s reputation as the best place to launch a startup by promoting pro-small business policies and cutting red tape for innovative companies and disruptive technologies. His leadership has contributed to the success of local companies in a wide variety of innovation sectors.

Greg Horowitt

Greg is the Founding Partner and Managing Director of T2 Venture Capital, a seed and early stage venture fund and advisory services firm focused on high impact enterprise and the ecosystems that support them. He is the co-author of the bestselling book, ‘the Rainforest: the Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley’ which examines the dynamics and drivers of innovation ecosystems; drawn from firsthand experiences designing, implementing, and monitoring the innovation ecosystems of more than a dozen regions around the world.world.

Brian Keating

Professor Brian Keating is an astrophysicist with UCSD’s Department of Physics. He and his team of 17 students, and postdocs develop instrumentation to study the early universe at radio-, microwave- and infrared wavelengths. He is the author of over 100 scientific publications and holds a U.S. Patent. Professor Keating co-leads a collaboration operating the POLARBEAR telescope in the Atacama Desert of Chile. He is also a private pilot with single and multi-engine instrument ratings.

Nuvi Mehta

Widely considered one of the finest speakers on classical music, San Diego Symphony Special Project Director, Nuvi Mehta, has a gift for capturing minds and hearts. The L.A. Times likens him to a young Gary Cooper, saying, “… His old-fashioned Hollywood charisma extends to an eloquent and theatrical way of speaking that is almost entirely lost today.” Mehta’s multi-media Symphony Exposé concert series, combining drama and education with symphonic music is building a new generation of classical music lovers. His pre-show talks draw up to 1000 patrons a night.

Jennifer Nacif

Jennifer Nacif studied for a degree in International Relations at the University of Colorado, but found her true calling after reading books on psychology and human behavior.  Jennifer is an acclaimed speaker as well as a major radio and television personality.  More than eighteen years of research and teaching workshops to companies led her to understand the needs and motivations of the workforce.  Her broad experience spans the corporate world where ideas and psychological knowledge resulted in her book The Four Secrets of Business.


Renga is a thousand-year-old Japanese tradition of “shared writing,” One person writes a line then passes it to another, who contributes the next line, and then to another for yet another line, and so on.  Renga in this context is the shared artistic vision and co-creation of a unique musical and visual work in the same manner. Steven Schick, Kate Hatmaker, AJ Nilles, and Jory Herman share the stage for a musical and visual performance to demonstrate this ancient collaborative artform.   Renga is a chain-reaction of ideas, visions, and sounds.

Pepe Romero

Pepe Romero has been honored by kings, heads of state, and major institutions-the encomiums continue to pour in. But to Romero, his most important contribution has been reaching the common man. He has communicated the richness and beauty of the classical guitar to millions of people throughout the world. He has, indeed, become an ambassador of classical music, and, correspondingly, of the classical guitar.

Gabi Ury

Gabi Ury, a 16-year-old high school junior, is the world’s planking champion (female), as certified by the Guinness Book of World Records. Born with special needs that affect her spine, feet, and gluts, she decided to break the world record in order to raise money and awareness for the Children’s Hospital Colorado where she had most of her fourteen major surgeries. She doubled the existing the world record for holding the abdominal plank, a core strengthening exercise, with a time of one hour and twenty minutes.

William Ury

William Ury, cofounder of Harvard’s Program on Negotiation, is one of the world’s best-known and most influential experts on negotiation. He is the coauthor of Getting to Yes, the bestselling negotiation book in the world, and has taught negotiation to tens of thousands of people, has consulted for dozens of Fortune 500 companies, and has served as a consultant to the White House. An internationally sought-after speaker, he is also the author of seven other books, including two New York Times bestsellers, Getting Past No and The Power of a Positive No.

Bradley Voytek

Bradley Voytek is a new Assistant Professor of Cognitive Science and Neuroscience at UC San Diego. In his other lives he’s a data scientist for Uber and is the world’s expert on zombie brains (seriously!). With his zombie co-conspirator, CMU professor Timothy Verstynen, he has published the book Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep: A Neuroscientific View of the Zombie Brain. In his real research, he studies the role that neuronal oscillations play in coordinating communication within the brain.

Xiao Xiao

Xiao Xiao is a Chinese-Born, American technologist, interaction designer and artist currently a PhD student in the Tangible Media Group of the MIT Media Lab. A life-long pianist, she applies insights from the art of piano playing to human-computer interaction, with designs that elegantly bridge the digital and the physical. She has presented research at various conferences and television programs around the world. Xiao received a bachelor’s degree in computer science with a minor in architecture, and a master’s in media arts and sciences, both from MIT.