Written By Lior Zoref Date 15/2/2012 Time 7:26

Just two more weeks to go.

I’m so excited.

The TED talk is ready and I already done a few dozen rehearsals.

The process of creating my talk was fascinating and surprising.

It started with thinking about the structure of the talk, looking for crowd wisdom inspiring stories , receiving creative ideas to convey the message (like the ox, quotations and more), linguistic proof using Wikipedia, editing a video with the crowd, doing the dress rehearsal and more.

The 16 year old Or Sagy has created a diagram to present all the stages in the process by weeks. Here is the big picture:


Here is a link to a high resolution image.

Indeed it is a complex task which required a substantial amount of time.

But, during the process I have met fascinating people, I received amazing ideas and according to your feedbacks, the presentation (touch wood) is excellent. Thank you!

In two weeks I’m going to make my dream come true.

And then, when I will try to be the best I can be, toward the end of the presentation, I will say this sentence which concludes the journey I’m going through in the best way:

"Dreams are what guides us and what helps us to become the best thing that we could be. Dreams are what make us who we are" – Sir. Ken Robinson.

Written By Lior Zoref Date 9/2/2012 Time 7:29

imageLately, I have been approached by a lot of wonderful people wishing me luck, offering their assistance, showing their interest and asking lots of questions.

It happens not only on Facebook but also in the supermarket, at the Cafe and even at the doctor’s office.

Here are a few recent insights from the last few days.

The ox experiment

One of the questions that I have been asked frequently is "So, Lior, how much does the ox weight?"

A lot of people fear how the results of the ox experiment at TED will manifest. Why? In this modern day era (as opposed to a hundred years ago) people are not used to seeing an ox, let alone estimate the weight of a particular ox!

A very well-known professor, who I admire greatly, told me to watch out! The original crowd wisdom experiment which took place 100 years ago was performed using an audience of professionals, who knew how to evaluate the weight of an ox.

Five days ago I published photos of the ox that will be on stage with me at TED.I asked you to evaluate it’s weight based only on the pictures.

I received 250 different and diverse answers ranging starting by 1/5 of the real weight up to 4 times more than the real weight!

I opened an excel sheet and with great anxiety calculated the average. I will not expose the actual weight here (I will do that during my TED talk), but when I saw the results, my heart missed a beat. The calculated average is less than 1 lbs away from the exact weight! Amazing isn’t it?

That is crowd wisdom. It works today just as it did 100 years ago in a little English village.

Quantity VS quality in crowd wisdom

Finding the weight of the ox is a question simply calculated. You ask the crowd a quantitative question and calculate the average. But if you ask an open question, one that has a qualitative answer, what is crowd wisdom?

There are two ways to do this:

a. A question where you are looking for collective insight. For example, when we need to make a decision with limited possibilities as answers, the collective insight comes from the answers repeated the most, the average is the majority.

b. A question where you are looking for a creative idea. For example, when I was looking for an example to explain the crowd wisdom theory one of the suggestions was to bring an ox on stage. That idea was one of a kind. It is not an average , calculated by the answers. In this case the use of crowd wisdom is like searching for gold. You have to dig through all the ideas to identify the creative ones. If you use Facebook, these ideas will probably stand out, by the "likes" from other people.

Crowd wisdom as a tool for motivation and inspiration.

This insight I gained only today after having a conversation with my friend Shmuel Merhav.

Beyond the wise ideas and the feedback I received, the crowd has given me much more than just wisdom, the most significant being encouragement and motivation.

You can call it crowd cheering.

It started the day I told my friends about my dream and how many of them told me "you are worthy and capable, go for it". For me, those responses were the catalyst in deciding to pursue my dream. The encouragement has continued, with lots of kind words, and as a result, is pushing me forward with an intensity that I have never felt before!

Think of a soccer or basketball team about to lose a game. Then, the crowd starts cheering loudly. Imagine what power and motivation it gives to the team.

That is what I get from you in digital form. You push me forward! It’s just as important as the smart ideas. You know what? It’s even more important.

Thank you.

(19 days to go)

Written By Lior Zoref Date 3/2/2012 Time 9:35

Here is Teddy, the ox that will be on stage with me during my TED talk, in order to demonstrate crowd wisdom live.

He has kept me awake during last two nights.

I am frightened… clip_image001

He’s HUGE!

I was thinking more about a baby ox, but the guys at TED do everything big clip_image003

To test how crowd wisdom works prior to my TED talk (and also to have a backup in case of a technical malfunction) I would appreciate it if you could take a good look at the ox and send your weight estimate. Thank you!

It is important to me, and essential for the experiment to work, that as many people as possible will participate (there is no need for personal identification). It will only take 10 seconds of your time.

So here he is, in all its glory, Teddy the Ox.




I will show Teddy and its real weight at the end of the talk (in 23 days, but who counts…)

If by any chance you are going to be at TED or knows someone who is, please don’t tell others about the ox. Let’s try to keep this a surprise :-)

please send your weight estimate here.

Written By Lior Zoref Date 2/2/2012 Time 11:39


Do you dream of giving a TED talk? Here is your chance.

As you know, my way to TED started in the TED auditions last year.

It was the first time that the TED team decided to do auditions.

The auditions were amazing and contributed a lot to the coming TED conference (in 3 weeks, god help me).

Next year, 14 auditions will be held in 6 countries!

A big part of TED 2013 will be based on crowd sourcing.

Here is a link to TED 2013 and here is the link to the audition program.

I would be more than happy to assist anyone who plans to audition. Update me if you are in this :-)

Written By Lior Zoref Date 24/1/2012 Time 8:17

imageMy TED talk is almost ready. Now it’s time to design the presentation and start rehearsing.

I’m glad to share with you the first draft of the designed presentation.

I have saved the slides as photos on facebook so you can feedback every slide by itself.

In addition, TED allows speakers to use the Shutterstock photos. If you have any ideas for other photos that can fit, you are more than welcome to search their collection and suggest your ideas.

For any idea that will be incorporated in to the presentation, I will add your name at the bottom of the slide :-)

Here is the link to the slides.

I’d love to get your feedback and ideas.

Many thanks  to Meital Chesner and Zohar Nativ Golan from Brando strategic branding studio for the help with the graphics. If you are looking for a design studio, they rock!

Thank you all!

Written By Lior Zoref Date 23/1/2012 Time 7:00

imageLately I’ve been learning in a whole new way.

In the past, when I was interested in learning about my area of interest, I would have put time and effort searching for sources to learn from. Starting with a search online, reading magazines, professional literature and looking for courses and specialists in the subject matter.

Today, I find myself learning in completely new way.

As you know, My research area is crowd wisdom.

Because you know this, many of you write to me and tell me about new studies, articles that relate to the subject and anything which in your opinion can teach me.

And so, I find myself almost every day with a new post on my facebook wall, a message on twitter or an e-mail from someone directing my attention to something I should learn.

For me this is a new way to learn. Instead of searching for the information, the information comes to me.

Here’s an example of an e-mail I got recently from the retired judge Avigdor Salton who has taught me the connection between crowd wisdom and the judiciary system in the USA:

From: Avigdor Salton
Sent: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 3:48 PM
To: Lior Zoref
Subject: Crowd Wisdom

Dear Mr. Zoref,

This morning I had seen channel 10 and so I got introduced to you and to TED.

On your site you had asked for proposals and comments, among others, to your TED talk.

Therefore, to support the idea of crowd wisdom I would like to take you to the legal world.

In states where the system is of judging with the aid of a Jury (such as England and USA), the basic idea is that the crowd (for our subject=the jury) is not less talented than a judge to test and determine facts (as opposed to determining the legal result of a professional judge who is familiar with the law which needs to be enacted on the concrete case), since a judge is a normal human being.

And so, the jury system still exists these days.

The Jewish American judge, Samuel Leibowitz, in the biographical book "Courtroom" written by the journalist Quentin Reynolds, tells that he use to keep records of the results of the jury in the criminal cases he was judging, and found that in most cases (if I am not mistaken – close to 95%) the result is same to the result the jury !

This is to teach you, that crowd wisdom is just as good as a professional judge.

I wish you luck in your journey,

Best regards,

Avigdor Salton.

Written By Lior Zoref Date 18/1/2012 Time 7:37

I am about to finish the presentation and it’s looking wonderful Smile

There is nothing more worthy in my opinion than to let you, everyone who helped me build my presentation, to be part of my TED talk.

All you have to do is record a short video saying: "Clever minds think together" and send me the video.

Here’s the explanation how to do it:

Remember to count to 5 before you say it, and try to say it in a normal rhythm, same as I did it.

Please send the video by e-mail to ted@liorz.co.il by Jan 22nd 2012.


Written By Lior Zoref Date 12/1/2012 Time 12:46



One of the most important things in the process I’m going through are the decisions what not to do.

When I was looking for examples which I will use to demonstrate the implications of crowd wisdom, and among others I thought about Kutiman.

If you don’t know him, Kutiman is an Israeli artist which uses video segments to create extraordinary music. I really like his work and I thought it would be a wonderful example of the use of crowd wisdom, since he takes a lot of music segments from people around the world and turns them into a masterpiece.

Here is his most famous piece:


I wrote this status and asked for your opinion.

In addition to all the compliments which he rightfully deserves, some of you wrote that it is not crowd wisdom since he is the brain behind the piece and not the crowd.

That is why I have decided to give up this part of the presentation. But, I’ve was fortunate enough to get meet Kutiman and appreciate his work even more.



Today I spoke with Prof. Dan Ariely, one of the noticeable Israelis who have presented in TED.

He was very nice to me and gave his advice towards my presentation.

One of his tips was to build the presentation thinking of the internet viewers, as much, and even more than the audience in the theatre. There will be 2,500 people in the theatre, but what is that compared to hundreds of thousands viewers online…

In any case, this is a great opportunity to showcase his presentation, so for those of you who haven’t seen it yet:


Today I got another insight on the use of crowd wisdom.

A week ago I asked your assistance in choosing the photo I have to send TED’s team for a poster they are printing for each of the presenters.

My question was pretty simple, which photo of the 8 options should I choose?


My question was which photo to choose, but the answers I got were much wider.

Many have offered ideas to make my photo more impressive.

Among all of them, the proposition by Yaniv Katan, who has offered that I replace all the small circles around me with the profile photos of the people who have helped me build this presentation.

That’s the beauty of crowd wisdom – when people are asked to think, they do not limit themselves to the exact question asked. They think out of the box and offer much greater ideas than the question itself.

Here is the result:


(Link to the comments, link to a high-res version)

Thanks a lotto Meir Pinto the talented photographer, Yaniv Katan for the idea, Maor Chen and Shay Sapir from Eucalyptus for the graphic help.

Written By Lior Zoref Date 11/1/2012 Time 17:12

imageToday the full schedule of TED was published, including all the presenters.

Here’s the link to the program guide, and this is a link to the detailed schedule.

The event is 4 days long. My TED talk is on the second day of the event, Wednesday, February 29th, at noon.

I am presenting after LinkedIn founder, Reid Hoffman, god help me.

Among others, you can find the director of DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), the chairman of Singularity University and the most technological wizard there is, Marco Tempest (which if you have not seen his last TED talk, here is the link).

The text for the presentation is ready thanks to dozens of you who have fixed and improved it. I have taken it down from Wikipedia to save some of the element of surprise for the TED participants.

I’m now starting to build the PowerPoint presentation (anyone want to help with the design?) and rehearse.

Now officially my heart beat rate is up by 50%.

Written By Lior Zoref Date 3/1/2012 Time 10:00

Update: Thank you for everyone who helped me to improve my talk. I’ve removed the text from Wikipedia in order to leave some room for surprise :-)

imageA few months ago I met with Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia. Wikipedia is the most impressive example I know of crowd wisdom. He was very interested and enthusiastic about the idea that I was going to present at TED.

At the end of the conversation he said this: “listen, why don’t you try and publish your TED talk text on Wikipedia? Allow the crowds to edit and improve your presentation!”.

Actually, a wonderful idea.

Over the last few weeks I have built the presentation with your help. It contains examples, sentences and even jokes I got through the wisdom of the crowds, your wisdom.

Now I am proud to present the first and full draft of the text as a Wiki page in Wikipedia.

[The link was removed]

You are welcome to edit it as you wish. Fix mistakes, add, erase and/or anything that can make the presentation better.

Until now the crowd wisdom has brought me to create a presentation based on your ideas, now with crowd wisdom we can learn how crowds can contribute to improve the presentation.

In addition, if you have any general comments or new ideas, you can comment here.

Thank you.

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