TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds. Since then it has become a nonprofit organization and its scope has become ever broader.
The annual conference now brings together the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes).
Our mission? Spreading ideas.
We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. So we're building here a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world's most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other.
TEDTalks began as a simple attempt to share what happens at TED with the world. Under the moniker "ideas worth spreading," talks were released online. They rapidly attracted a global audience in the millions.
Today, TED is therefore best thought of as a global community. It's a community welcoming people from every discipline and culture who have just two things in common: they seek a deeper understanding of the world, and they hope to turn that understanding into a better future for us all.