I used to watch TED talks fairly often, but that stopped a few years ago. I have been thinking as to reasons as to why this happened. In the past couple weeks (in part due to the recommendations in this thread), I have watched a few. It has occurred to me that I may have stopped due to their increased pervasiveness in some weird places that you wouldn’t expect. Is this perhaps an unacknowledged hipster mentality I adopted (“TED talks are now too mainstream”), or did I stop loving the format (“what can I really learn in that amount of time”), or something else.
Watching these lately with this analysis (which isn’t for everyone), it strikes me that the reason that TED talks are loved and hated is that the format is simple, clean, and distills down to the core essence of what presentations need. Other, less well known events are adopting this approach. If you aren’t picky about topics, PechaKucha host nights all over the globe. We even have Nerd Nites in my city that have adopted the TED format as well.