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TEDxDetroit: No More Excuses

So, I told you last week that I was attending TEDxDetroit at Lawrence Tech University. It was an amazing day filled with inspirational talks by a diverse group of presenters and artists. The attendees were just as diverse.

I’m not going to give you a complete overview of the day as I think that has already been done well. Read here for highlights from Chris Spiek and Philip Lauri gives his experiences here.

What did I get out of TEDxDetroit?

I’ve been mulling this over since the event and three themes keep running through my mind. 

Action, Connections, and Inspiration


Dr. Gary Gabel kicked off the event with these staggering words, “Your time began running out the day you were born.” It’s a heavy way to begin the morning but we all waste valuable time. He went on to say that positive thoughts will move you forward in life. Negative thoughts, or negathoughts as he called them, disable us.

Later in the afternoon, Dan Izzo of Bizdom U charmed the audience with his explosion of F-bombs. It certainly got our attention. His main point was to, “Turn Dreamers into Doers.” True creativity, he said, lies in doing. 

Charlie Wollborg, of Curve Detroit, ended the day with this whopper, “excuses don’t change the past, they delay the future.” His slideshow pictures showing his young son growing up cemented the thought that we must, “do it now!”


Lee Thomas, entertainment reporter for WJBK Fox 2 news, gave an honest an emotional talk about how his weakness became his strength. But he said one thing near the end that pulled at me, “we need each other, it’s true.”

The master of networking and builder of relationships, Terry Bean, spoke on the Six Degrees of Connectedness. “We are all connected,” he said. But he also reiterated something that is close to my heart, “who cares what side of 8 Mile you’re on?” I’ve been trying to get people to realize that the people of the city of Detroit and the suburbs need to work together. We can’t exist without each other. We are all Detroiters.


Chazz Miller is the man behind Public Art Workz (P.A.W.Z). He works closely with Blight Busters and his murals can be found around the city. But he’s also educating kids and creating a community. His fanciful and creative ideas delighted the audience. Wouldn’t you rather wait for a bus on a Mood Swing? It’s a porch swing with solar panels on top to power cell phone recharging stations. 

Poetry Slam champion and award winning singer/songwriter D Blair brought the house to its feet in a standing ovation. His poem ‘Detroit (While I Was Away)’ was awe-inspiring.

How can I utilize this?

I want to change Detroit and make a positive impact. I want to change people’s perceptions. But. I make excuses. I need more time. I need more money. I need talented people, with knowledge that I don’t possess, to help me.

But I can find the time. Money, do I really need that? And people. Well, there were 200 attendees at TEDxDetroit. I’ve been connecting with some of them online for months and I finally met some of them in person. I also met like-minded strangers who are striving for the same goals. I have many talented people all around me.

No more excuses. I just need to step up to the plate and make it happen.

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