TED Opens Up the Firehose of Data and Talks for Developers to Play [Exclusive]

TED Opens Up the Firehose of Data and Talks for Developers to Play [Exclusive]
[Photo: Flickr user]

TED announced today at SXSW that it is opening all of its online talks to the public. An application programming interface (API) will allow open access to all talks and associated data (topic, location, speaker, etc.) for developers who might use that info to build all sorts of tools and applications.

Speaking before her announcement at TED, June Cohen, Executive Producer of Media for TED, told Fast Company that in keeping with the organization’s promise of transparency, “The natural next step is to open up content to the developer community…. Every time we’ve allowed people to contribute, people have surprised and humbled and delighted us.” More to the point, she says, “We know we don’t have the monopology on good ideas.”

While the idea of an API is to uncover unpredictable uses of data, Cohen says at the “top of our mind are devices and platforms.” But she or a developer might see a cache of data and wonders: “Is there a visualization?” Or, perhaps some interactivity or connections that the speaker or TED hadn’t thought of? “Is there a community that we’ve overlooked?” Cohen asks.

In other words, this is a greenlight for developers to take the massive TED platform and be creative.

We’ll update this post after Cohen’s talk.


TED is looking to launch this “mid-year”. You can contact them at: jobs [at] TED (dot) com. Also, they are looking to hire developers.

Follow @FastCompany on Twitter. See our live coverage from SXSW.