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What Amanda Palmer's #ninjaTED event taught me about Community and Connection


Last week I was involved in musician and Kickstarter master Amanda Palmer's #ninjaTED event which featured an all-star TED line up of performers such as Neil Gaiman, Imogen Heap, and Bowie singing astronaut Chris Hadfield.

I didn't know who Amanda Palmer was, but I saw a need and reached out. The rest is a story that has reminded me, and others, that we must be generous with our willingness to help others. Amazing things happen when you do.

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  • Ben Goldhirsh

    this is so inspiring. I was at the conference, didn't make it to the show that night, but shared an elevator with someone who did, who said it was the best part of the week by a country mile. what an awesome thing to have helped manifest.

    • Sarah

      so awesome to hear that feedback about it. it was a pretty incredible night, and i'm excited about the things that are being thought of and planned for next year. would love to hear what you thought of the TED conference!

      • Ben Goldhirsh

        I thought it was a total jam. And I thought vancouver was super valuable to the whole experience. My first ted was their last year in monterrey, and it felt small and special. the next few years were in long beach, also awesome but maybe big in a way that allowed everyone to splinter off and not see each other. Vancouver felt like a great home for that event, and it's a reminder how valuable space is. That Amanda and folks had the bright and logical concept to integrate more with the city is so cool, and you get the feeling that it will effect how the conference evolves because it seemed so smart and right and beautiful. it's also just cool when a participant in something becomes a leader in it.

        • Sarah

          Hey Ben! Are you coming to TED again this year?

          • Ben Goldhirsh

            Hey! I'm not going as I'm on sabbatical (hell yeah) but I think my co founder is heading your way. Should I connect you guys? If so, what's the best email to get you at? Hope you're wholly awesome beyond all this!

            • Sarah

              Yes, please connect us! Best email for it would be Life is grand and I'm super pumped to continue to find ways to do amazing things in 2015. Enjoy the (I'm sure well deserved) rest. Sorry you won't be in Vancouver in March.

  • Alessandra Rizzotti

    Sarah! She gave you such a huge shoutout! PROPS! You're amazing!

    "and this wonderful angel from out of nowhere, sarah shandl, raised her hand on twitter the night before just asking if i needed stage management help. ARE YOU KIDDING? i said. and in the next 24 hours, we exchanged over 100 texts and emails and lists…
    she handled the guests. then made sure the late-arriving TED-speakers could get in. she did a quick conference call with the venue and the food bank.
    she arranged backstage drinks and food. she was an instant life-saver from out of the fucking blue. i was like: this girl is the ultimate fan. she must love my music a fuckton to take an entire day out of her life to do all this crazy shit. she even roped in a friend of hers, cristy (thank you!!!) to help with the crazy guestlist of TED people.

    it wasn’t until three days later, when we took her out to lunch to thank her, that she made her confession: she’d never heard of me.


    or my music. after i roped her in, she googled.

    and she was like, cool.

    she just saw that someone was putting on an event and needed help.


    i thought this was, quite possibly, the best thing i had ever heard in MY WHOLE LIFE.

    sarah: people like you are…miracles.

    fyi, especially if you’re a vancouver-lover, sarah runs the twitter feed @vancwelove and here’s her website.
    it’s a sort of a shirt-crowd-smash site that does beautiful things to connect people, and vancouver-love. go see.
    people order these vancouver shirts, to prove their vancouver love, then upload them to the site from all over the world."

    • Sarah

      yeah, it was a pretty awesome experience! shows just how easy it is to make an impact on people simply by being willing to lend your time and talents. thanks for the kind words :)