We are what we twEAT: Costas Voyatzis at TEDxAthens 2012

We are what we twEAT: Costas Voyatzis at TEDxAthens 2012

Translator: Weronika Wołłejszo
Reviewer: Chryssa Takahashi So, let me refresh your memory with one of the most
frustrating, obnoxious, yet glorious, inspiring and promising
sounds of the ’90s. Are you ready? Yes? Audience: Yes. (Touch-tone phone dialing) (Laughter) (Dialing and beeping of fax transmission) It’s getting wild. (Beeping and connection sounds) (Applause) Some of you remember
or associate this sound with a brand new world
that was opening up in front of you, full of new opportunities. It was a world where patience was really important. (Laughter) Back in the day, downloading a web page
and surfing online was so slow, that it gave us enough time
to prepare a snack, to go to the bathroom, to enjoy a cigarette, or even start reading a book. I remember when downloading a page, I was digesting every pixel
as it slowly appeared on my screen – the logos, the banners, the pictures. The pictures took forever! I remember my excitement and anticipation when coming back to my laptop and having the page completely
loaded on my screen. (Laughter) I was consuming every inch of it. And what about videos? I remember pressing
the play button to watch a video, getting dressed, going out with my friends,
and when back later that night, I still had to wait some time to watch it. Great times, huh? That was a world where time
seemed more plentiful than the world that we live in today. And surfing online was a real adventure. It would require a lot of patience. Today, my problem is not
the download speed or what to fit in my schedule
while surfing. When life and information became so fast, the problem that we are all facing is how to filter the vast amount
of information that is out there, and make the right decisions
about who to trust, to follow. What are the most trustworthy
sources to follow? There are so many opinions, comments
and choices available out there, that sometimes today, you forget
to speak with your friends. You forget to eat, to enjoy simple
and everyday pleasures. When you produce content for an audience, this abundance and speed
of information is a big challenge. Have you ever noticed what is the first thing
that you touch when you wake up? Any ideas? Whoa, whoa, whoa! (Laughter) So for those who require assistance
to wake up like I do, because I’m not a morning person, the first thing that we put
our hands on when we wake up used to be a traditional alarm clock. However, an increasing amount of people, maybe the majority, the first thing that we touch
when we wake up, if it’s not your boyfriend
or your girlfriend’s leg, is a cell phone. And there is a high probability that before you even get out of bed, you will start consuming
a digital breakfast – a breakfast which consists
of reading your emails, sharing something on Facebook,
reading news feeds, stock markets, or even start tweeting. And you know what? That’s my life today. My personal and professional
life is online. My digital and real-life
personalities have been merged. Imagine that some of my friends –
maybe all of them – they have stopped calling me Costas. I’m Yatzer. Even for them. Every day I’m trying to seek the best content I can
in the creative world. I receive, read and reply to many emails, I talk to my contributors and I’m doing my best to manage
what I consume for myself and for others. Every day, I survive
this information overload, and I try to beat this info beast. I’ve always been curious in my life. I’ve always tried to absorb
as much information as possible. From an early age I was obsessed
with the possibilities of digital life and the opportunities
that it had to offer. For me it was a window
to all my passions and desires. Even when life was really slow
and easy to digest, I faced a lot of dilemmas
on how to process information and make the right decisions. We all reach a point in our life where we have to make
a decision for our future, for what career path to follow. When I was in high school, my mind was full of ideas,
ambitions, recommendations. And I was overwhelmed
even back then by this info beast. The advice that my friends
and family gave me was to follow the path
of stability and safety. So, I was good at physics and it seemed like a good idea
to study it – “safe.” However, I was always
passionate about design. And that’s what I did. I got into the Physics Department
of the University of Athens in 2000. And it took me two years
into the university to realize that thermodynamics
and predicting the weather – because I was studying meteorology – was not me. So I got a job. I put myself through design school and I started filtering through all
the information around me, in order to pursue my true calling. And as you already know,
your dream job does not exist. You must create it. So I started working for a Greek
interior design magazine and planning my next moves. And it felt like I was taming this beast. And then, I got drafted in the army. Suddenly, all my goals
and all my passions were put on hold. I missed the beast, and I was so afraid
that all my sacrifices, all the work that I had done, would go to waste. I was cut off and starved
for both the information world and the ability to share it. During this dry period of my life, there was a lyric from a song
stuck in my head: “Love is to share, love is to share,
love is to share.” By the way, it’s from
Sebastien Tellier – “La Ritournelle.” I don’t want to sing it now. (Laughter) I said, I was so in love with design. And it seemed like that
was what I was going to share. My motto became: “Design is to share,” and that’s my motto ever since. The Internet world showed me the way. I started slowly blogging in my time off, in order to keep myself in tune
and in touch with the world that was no longer
easily accessible to me. Blogging is like cooking. I love cooking and I love inviting my friends
and offering them a good meal. I choose a tried and tested recipe. I gather the best ingredients. I add the correct spices. And I do my best to cook
something delicious for my friends. However, that’s exactly
what bloggers do as well. In order to become a good blogger, you have to maintain and offer the best, most delicious, most unique
and freshest news you can. That’s not easy when you
have to face this info beast day in and day out, because month by month
it becomes bigger and bigger, with more and more information and speed. Plus, there are other cooks out there who offer more elaborate meals,
faster and in a bigger quantity. It’s not an easy job. When you produce and share content,
you are defined by it. So what you have to do is to find the most suitable data
and make it yours, because we are what we twEAT. What we choose to share
defines who we are. Even if it’s not our creation,
even if it’s not our project, even if it’s not our inspiration,
it shows who we are. When you share content with an audience,
that’s your only connection to it. And if you get it wrong
or do not find the appropriate material, the life span of your blog will be short. All you have to strive for is to maintain
the appetite of your audience. Because slowly, day by day, you build
a close relationship with them, which through time, can turn into trust. So how do you do that? How do you become a digital breakfast,
lunch or dinner for someone when there are so many choices out there? My recipe in order to build trust
is you have to be very selective. You should never lower your standards. You should always seek for quality. And you should always take responsibility
for what you produce. But most of all, you have to be honest. You have to be true to yourself,
to your audience and to your vision. The trust of your followers is the only
way to maintain their appetite for more, even if the “menu” you have
served a particular day is not the best you have served. The trust of your followers is like a drug that keeps you awake and obsessed
to find the best you can, in order to combat this
information overload for them. And the trust of your followers
is a gift that you have to [earn], that you have to be thankful for. And you should [earn] it
day in and day out. This summer, I was reminded how special, unique and how rewarding this trust is, because in 2011, I created
a Pinterest account. I have never used it before this August, which means that for one and a half years it was inactive. After the big bang
of Pinterest this summer, I said, “OK, you have an account,
so let’s see what’s going on there.” So I logged in, and I realized that five thousand people
were following an empty profile – (Laughter) an inactive account with my name. And I said, in my opinion,
that is called unconditional trust. I did my best. I started pinning in order
to show my gratitude to this trust. And now, imagine that I have more
than 2.2 million followers on Pinterest. That for me is a beautiful example
that when you build trust, trust follows you. Throughout my digital life, I have appreciated the work
of many designers, architects, artists, photographers, creative people, and it’s a blessing that my selections
have been appreciated by more people than only me. And in the digital world, when you build and maintain
the trust and the appetite of millions, this is interpreted as success. So, all you have to do is build trust, and they will click. And I thought that this
was an idea worth spreading. Thank you. (Applause)

5 thoughts on “We are what we twEAT: Costas Voyatzis at TEDxAthens 2012”

  1. VanX-IInX 2012. Learning about the elite and taking people to be exposed to what the world really is like.
    (Like) – Preposition

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