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Hacking the Red Circle

Storytelling Podcasts

Hacking the Red Circle is designed to illustrate what it takes to organize, produce, promote and create a world-class event. Veteran organizers share lessons so that first-timers can benefit from their expertise. Experience a behind the scenes view of the creation of a TEDx. Not an organizer (yet)? We hope to inspire you to get involved in a local TEDx event in your community. Enjoy the show.


United States


Hacking the Red Circle is designed to illustrate what it takes to organize, produce, promote and create a world-class event. Veteran organizers share lessons so that first-timers can benefit from their expertise. Experience a behind the scenes view of the creation of a TEDx. Not an organizer (yet)? We hope to inspire you to get involved in a local TEDx event in your community. Enjoy the show.






TEDxUCLouvain - Martin Nera - Organizer

Finding ways to be creative and stay connected to your TEDx Community during these challenging times of sequestering and dealing with a global pandemic can test even the most creative Organizers. When I read about our guest, Martin Nera of TEDxUCLouvain on the TEDx Organizers Facebook page, I was intrigued about their plans that involved virtual production, strategies to engage their Community - all while focusing on creating an experience. Their theme for the event was All-Knowing...


TEDxHyderabad - Viiveck Verma - Anthony Vipin Das - Co-Organizers

Alerted to an amazing TEDx's theater design posted on Facebook, we sought out the organizers of TEDxHyderabad to walk us through the fantastic video and tell us the story.. Please meet Vipin and Viiveck, the co-organizers of the event and a lively pair of conversationalists who told us that story and more. Ironically Facebook came up at the beginning of the show when they told me how they hadn't known one each other, and no one on the team had known one another until a post appeared asking...


TEDxGaborone - Gomolemo Lolo Madikgetla Organizer

TEDxGaborone - Gomolemo Lolo Madikgetla Organizer by Mark Sylvester, Host


Stefan Bucher TEDx Speaker - Reflections 8 years after his talk

In 2011 Stefan Bucher, an award-winning Designer, presented at TEDxAmericanRiviera (now known as TEDxSantaBarbara.) He recently spoke with Mark Sylvester about reflections of his road to the Red Circle. Stefan speaks to audiences large and small and travels the world talking about design, typically to designers. He remarks that stepping onto the TEDx stage is unlike any other event. For Organizers, hearing this conversation will help you understand the thinking of an accomplished speaker...


TEDx Founder Lara Stein

On the first day of TED2019, Randy Bretz joined the show as a guest host to help me interview the founder of TEDx, Lara Stein. My favorite quote from her was "there's so much innovation on the edges." Randy Bretz wrote an extensive piece on this interview on Medium. You can read it here: https://medium.com/@randybretz/lara-stein-founder-of-tedx-and-believer-in-the-open-source-movement-7f2c949c2eb


TEDxDonovanCorrectional - Mariette Fourmeaux du Sartel - Organizer

In five minutes of listening to Mariette Fourmeaux du Sartel talk about why she has spent the past couple of years going to prison every week to help create TEDxDonovanCorrectional, you will understand how her passion drives her to continue, overcoming obstacles every visit. Mariette deeply cares for the men at Donovan Correctional and taught me so much about the challenges she and the team face in producing the event. She quoted one of the men who told her, "In my 20 years of incarceration,...


TEDxCancun Monica Alba Organizer

Monica Alba is a force of nature and the perfect person to lead the team at TEDxCancun, located in one of the most beautiful places along the Gulf of Mexico. Cancun is only 40 years old, and unlike other colonial cities in Mexico, it is full of many nationalities, creating a diverse population. Monica is also the TEDx Ambassador for Mexico, and after the first few minutes of listening to her, you'll see why New York picked her for the position. She's sees the challenge of producing a TEDx in...


Mark Sylvester, Co-Organizer, TEDxSantaBarbara, Host, Hacking The Red Circle Podcast

In this special episode, recorded in September 2018 right after TEDxSantaBarbara, Mark Sylvester (me), the host of Hacking the Red Circle, is interviewed by TEDxLincoln's Randy Bretz and TEDxLaçador's Ana Goelzer. This podcast is the first time I've told my own TED story. I'm hoping it will give you a glimpse into how I think our event. Randy and Ana take a deep-dive into my motivations for producing a TEDx event here in Santa Barbara, since 2010. TEDxSantaBarbara has evolved over the years,...


TEDxLeicester Siddhi Trivedi Organizer

TEDxLeicester, located in the United Kingdom, is organized by Siddhi Trivedi, who has a unique story; she was born in Tanzania, educated in the UK and the United States and has lived and worked across three continents. Truly a global citizen. She started as the TEDxLeicester project manager in 2015 and is most proud of the work she and her team did in 2017, hosting the very first TEDx event inside a UK prison. The aim was to build collaborative partnerships to break the cycle of...


TEDxLaval Gildo Conte Organizer

Gildo Conte is the Organizer of TEDxLaval, located on an island next to Montreal, in Quebec, Canada. His passion and energy are infectious, and I bet it's great fun being a part of his small, five-person team. His first brush with TED was when his kids said, "Dad, do you know about TED?" He says that it was a magical moment for him. He's purposely kept the event small, 150-250 people with nine speakers in an evening event. I love that he serves cocktails before the show. His biggest surprise...


TEDxTarrytown - Kymberly Marcus, Organizer

Kimberly Marcus traveled the path to the Red Circle first as a speaker then made her way to Organizer of TEDxTarrytown in 2017. She made the trek to TEDFest in Brooklyn to remove the population cap off her event. She went to Brooks Institute (originally here in Santa Barbara) to study photography and moved to the east coast in 1987, where she's a Children's book writer. If you're not familiar with Tarrytown, it's one of the river towns along the Hudson River, north of New York City. If...


TEDxBeaconStreet John Werner Organizer

John Werner is the Organizer of TEDxBeaconStreet, one of the top TEDx events that other Organizers would love to visit. In this episode, you'll learn why John and his event have been so successful, over 86 million views since 2010. John's very generous towards everyone that has helped him build a staggeringly connected community. John's been producing TEDx events since 2010 and is deeply integrated into the TEDx Community. He's on the TEDx Board of Advisors, was the original creator of TEDx...


TEDxWilmington, Ajit Mathew George, Organizer

Ajit George is the organizer of TEDxWilmington, located in Delaware. He is a bundle of energy, as evidenced by the fact his tribe produces 12 events a year, with 172 speakers and 164 talks. It takes an incredible amount of organization to manage the sheer volume of speakers and attendees. They've had 7.4M views of their talks since they starting producing their event in 2011. I learned so much from this conversation, as will you. Ajit talks at length about how they plan their event and...


TEDxShekhawati Masarat Daud Organizer

How do you prepare an event for 7,000 people in rural India from 4,100 miles away in London, and don't hit the ground running until a week before the event? In this episode, we talk with Masarat Daud, the Organizer of TEDxShekhawati, located about 150 miles west of New Dehli. There were so many challenges producing this event that you'll not want to miss a minute of this compelling conversation. Masarat grew up in Dubai and has lived in London the past seven years. She and her family produce...


TEDxPittsburgh Chris Daley Organizer

Chris Daley is the Organizer of TEDxPittsburgh and is part of a regional TEDx ecosystem with ten events within a short distance. Pittsburgh is a large region, but a small city, so the challenge of colliding events and keeping an identity for each TEDx is something Chris and his team think about. He started as an attendee when the event was called TEDxGrandViewAvenue, then volunteered, became a part of the core team and in 2015 took over the lead organizer role. His background is in...


TEDxECUAD - Scott Mallory - Organizer

Scott Mallory is the lead organizer for TEDxECUAD. This is a university event held in Vancouver at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design. This year was their second event, and the interview was just a few days after the event concluded. Scott talks about how art and design permeate everything about the event, so much so that Will Davis took many of the ideas presented and put them into his 2017 Innovation talk that he took on tour last year. Specifically, the Coloring Book (seen above)...


TEDxAmsterdam Paul Rispens Organizer

I'd been looking forward to posting this conversation with TEDxAmsterdam's organizer Paul Rispens for some time now. I'd heard such great things about the event, and it's on the list of TEDx events other organizers would like to attend. Paul has been involved with TEDx since 2009 and works with a core team of 30. This episode is a lively conversation with someone who believes that their event is a perfect blending of the best of TED with the best of Amsterdam. I thought it was interesting...


TEDxBuffalo Alexandra Opiel Organiser

Alexandra Opiel started at TEDxBuffalo as a volunteer, eventually replacing the original license holder and has run the event for the past three years. By days she's a project manager for a local Buffalo real estate development company, which is a perfect skill set to bring to the role of a TEDx Organizer. She naturally seeks out more responsibility, and it was this attitude that led her into the leadership position. Alex explains that they go about selecting a theme a bit different than...


TEDxAugusta – TEDxGeorgiaTech -Grace and Chloe Belangia – Mother Daughter Team

This was the first mother-daughter podcast we've done. Mom is Grace Belangia, organizer of TEDxAugusta and Chloe Belangia, her daughter, is the organizer of TEDxGeorgiaTech. It was great to meet them in person at TEDFest and have the opportunity to enjoy the family dynamic in action. You'll love the back and forth between these two energetic TEDsters. Both are highly accomplished in their fields and bring a lot to the table with skills that help them produce their events. There was a lot of...


TEDxPrague Samuel Titera

Samuel Titera came to TEDxPrague through the route of being one of the four original Czech translators for TED talks. When he learned that TEDx was being organized in Prague for the first time, he offered help as a volunteer and soon became one of the core organizers. His first brush with TED was Barry Schwarz's talk on the Paradox of Choice. Nowadays he focuses on supporting team communication, finding and preparing speakers and organizing TEDxSalons with scientists. Samuel now lives...