Anti-Marketing: My Greek TEDx Talk

It’s all Greek to you, I am afraid.

When I was asked to give a talk at TEDx Thessaloniki, I had mixed emotions. While I am infinitely curious, and passionately share TED’s “belief in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world,” this time I hesitated.

The city which I left more than thirty years ago rings a special emotional connotation with me – about roots, country, family and heritage and somehow the responsibility loomed even larger. Traveling all over the world, it’s easy to get lost in the anonymity of strangers and crowds but this city is somehow mine. No strangers here – even if I have never seen most of them in the auditorium before in my life. Contradictions, conflicts, regrets, pain of separations, so many farewells and unfulfilled promises of the prodigal daughter return.

And along with the agony and creative struggle of formatting the ideas in my head – came the language dilemma. In my bilingual life, I primarily write in English – as Greek is a luxury language for the non-Greeks. But as a presenter, the speaker’s primary responsibility is to the audience. You honor them; you give the talk for them and not for you. So, it was the shortest lived dilemma to figure out that my talk would be in Greek.

And now that the talk is on YouTube and until and if/when it gets subtitles, so many non-Greek friends cannot watch it. Huge debate about the language of marketing on this one. And is the TEDx talk a marketing and branding exercise? Views and likes and thumbs up/down and all that paraphernalia, it’s all about the audience in the end. And in the end, they, my Thessalonikian audience made my day – and for that I will be forever grateful.


* As at the end of 2012, more than 16,000 talks have been given at more than 5,000 TEDx events in 1,200 cities in 133 countries.In June 2012, five TEDx events on average were being organized every day, in one of 133 countries.
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