June Cohen has been a creator of cutting-edge digital media experiences since 1994. Early adopter of video at Stanford University, Cohen pushed boundaries at Wired Magazine’s online property – Hotwired – by creating useful content like Webmonkey , a web development toolkit. She was instrumental in bringing TED Talks to online video and the web in 2005.
“June Cohen had been attending the TED Conference since 1998. The conferences were held annually in Northern California, and she describes being ‘in heaven’ when she attended them because she could go to one place and hear from the best teachers in the world on a broad range of topics, one after another. ‘I’ve always had a really wide set of interests, and TED is the perfect place for polymaths. You really get to feed your hunger for learning.’
In other words, it was another natural fit for someone who was hopelessly interested in everything.
2005 was the first year she hadn’t signed up and bought one of the $2,000 seats. Chris Anderson, who had taken over the running of the conference a couple years before, had noticed she wasn’t on the attendee list and suggested they meet. The two had struck up an email acquaintance over the years: ‘I was always sending Chris speaker suggestions (This is a very common thing among TED attendees; we all feel some ownership over the program!) and it turned out we had very similar ideas and interests.’
During the meal, Anderson let her know he’d been thinking of opening TED up to the world. Previously an elite event founded by Richard Saul Wurman and Harry Marks in 1984, TED had been for many years a small exclusive affair. ‘It was a closed system. What happened at TED stayed at TED.’ But Anderson had purchased TED with his foundation, and turned it into a nonprofit; now he wanted ‘to open TED up to the world.'”
Read all about June Cohen and her career being “hopelessly interested in everything” in the book Pioneers of Digital.