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Five+ Years
of Diverse

TEDxHouston & TED

The stories behind the Events

Back in the early aughts, Culture Pilot principal, Javier Fadul invited the team to watch inspiring videos on Friday afternoons. Little did we know, this was our introduction to TED Talks and the foreshadowing of our years to come.

In 2009, Culture Pilot team members applied to become the first licensees to bring TEDxHouston to life. Over the following five years, and with unparalleled help from our industry peers and volunteer teams, Culture Pilot led the curation of TEDxHouston live events and served as mentors to regional TEDx city event curators.

Our inaugural event provided a stage in one of the most diverse cities in the country, and a production which opened with Brené Brown's The Power Of Vulnerability, now among the top, most-watched TEDx talks in the world.

Additional TEDxHouston speakers also became featured on and graduated to the global TED stage, including Dan Phillips and David Eagleman (more below). A combined passion for high-quality event experiences was the catalyst for recognition.

For our live events, Culture Pilot developed organic methods of in-person engagement based on fully-branded annual themes. The speaker curation, data visualization, and experience design were influenced directly from our custom audience polling models, allowing the audiences to feel even more closely rooted to each event production.

Beginning with a new theme each year, we built out each component of marketing, from the collateral, to the information design and in-person activations. The branding and city culture were woven together to play a crucial role in the audience experience each year. Below is a small sampling of past year's event themes and outcomes.

Expanding Perceptions

Our inaugural event: Expanding Perceptions aimed at introducing TED to the internationally diverse city of Houston, Texas, while introducing the world to Houstonians forging a path to the future.

Where Do We Go From Here?

In response to year one came the the next theme: Where Do We Go From Here? This event was branded with a geographical theme through interactive, location based content that acted as a catalyst, a call to action, and a plea for change and activism.

The Other Things

50 years following JFK’s famous speech at Rice University, stating — We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do The Other Things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard… — this year we explored our ambitious moonshots, changing the-world-as-we-know-it, and what other things are still left unturned.


By exploring contrasting relationships and dichotomies, the Resonate brand was born. This year was about comparing simplicity and complexity,  searching within, and imagining without. And once again, highlighting a full spectrum of the diverse voices that resonate around us and potentially beyond.


Simply branded as FIVE, this year's theme provided an opportunity to celebrate five years of the TEDxHouston platform of innovation and creativity. What learnings and insights from the past five years might influence the five years ahead? Five is a powerful number recurring in many facets of international culture. This year, we invited our audiences to explore these digits and their connected meanings with us.

Honoring The TED Stage

The amount of hard work and dedication that goes into producing a TEDx event, from the production itself to the practice and passion of the presenters, is simply immeasurable. And in response to those well-executed, receiving an invitation to present upon the global TED stage is an honor that only a few can put into words.

At TEDxHouston, several Talks had the privilege of being selected as features on The late Dan Phillips discussed Creative Houses From Reclaimed Stuff, and two other speakers – Brené Brown and David Eagleman – were individually invited to the annual TED stage.

Brene Brown joined the global TED community in 2012 with her Talk – Listening To Shame – to continue the message from her renowned 2010 TEDxHouston Talk. And Culture Pilot worked hand-in-hand with David Eagleman on his presentation for – Can we create new senses for humans? – which became the first TED Talk of 2015 to be featured on

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