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Nice to meet your big idea

How useful are global gatherings that invite great minds to share ideas and innovations in person?

By Tom Chatfield   174

Google’s US headquarters, which hosted the SciFoo technology camp in July. Attendees create the conference schedule on the spot

In Oxford, it was shaking hands with legendary videogame designer Peter Molyneux. In Mountain View, California, it was when Larry Page, one of Google’s two founders, sat down beside me and blandly introduced himself. A very particular conference skill-set kicked in: blinking in fame’s reflected glare while trying to appear entirely blasé.

The occasions were, respectively, the TED Global conference at Oxford in June—where I had been invited to speak about videogames (there’s a online summary of some of my key…

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