Reverse engineering the perfect (or worst) TED talk

Want to write a TED talk that everybody loves? Whatever you do, don't cite the New York Times—but feel free to fake intellectual capacity through liberal use of "Etc, etc", and do use lots of lavender in your slides.

Sebastian Wernicke, an engagement manager at Oliver Wyman and former bioinformatics researcher, did a statistical analysis of all the publicly available TED talks and used it to create tedPAD—a TED talk generator that draws on the common phrases & keywords from popular talks to help you create the perfect TED presentation. Or, alternately, there's tedPAD Black, which does the opposite. Here's my tedPAD Black talk:

Of course, you're going to have to adapt it for teenage girls who like the ocean. Now you're even more amazed than them. So maybe I don't have to know more about the issue. I just need to make sure that there's enough oxygen because otherwise we'd be in deep trouble. I don't understand why this is not recognized in the project so that in the future, we've got all the answers. It is vital to our economy that we tackle this problem such as we have never faced before. Now you're even more desperate for a design I did not know about. Then again, I don't have to know about these things. So that story played out mainly in the New York Times. It mainly revolved around a computer program that has got all the answers. And all the boys and girls that have access to what I can't have. This doesn't need much oxygen because otherwise we'd be in deep trouble.

Via Flowing Data


  1. In the days before I got the Jabberwock Quark XTension (a long time ago, in a galaxy..), I used to type passages at 300+ wpm that sounded just like that to fill space in ashcans and working dummies. Very stream-of-consciousness and it wandered all over the place. This post made me chuckle with nostalgia.

  2. I know….semi off-topic; Any idea when and if they’ll ever post video of the Sarah Silverman TED trainwreck session? Me wants.

  3. The PDF chart is kinda scary. It’s like if a robot could see his own source code “Wow, that’s all I am?”

  4. Oxygen, girls and aircraft…
    That was my favorite scene in Spielberg’s 1941.

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