Qantas partners with TEDX for tech talks at 30,000 feet

Qantas partners with TEDX for tech talks at 30,000 feet

Qantas and TEDxSydney partner to bring world’s first tech talk at 30,000 feet.

The flying kangaroo have chosen an innovative way to promote its new Sydney-San Francisco flights by flying four Australian TEDx speakers to Silicon Valley.

Passengers on QF73 were the first in the world to experience tech talks in the sky, with the four speakers sharing their stories on the future of technology and design with talks in the nose of the B747 aircraft during the 13 hour flight. Qantas did not confirm if it would host other TEDx talks in future.

The stunt was complete with the aircraft branded with the slogan “Ideas That Travel”, with talks live-streamed to passengers via the in-flight entertainment system. The TED talks from serial entrepreneur Jo Burston, physicist Michael Biercuk, business strategist Jeremy Howard and 2012 Young Australian of the year and robotics expert, Marita Cheng, will also be screened during TEDxSydney in May.538081_num1129119

Ten Aussie tech entrepreneurs and start-ups were also invited on the flight, which Qantas Group Executive Brand, Marketing, and Corporate Affairs Olivia Wirth said was in line with the airline’s strategy to “strengthening the ties between innovators on both sides of the Pacific”.

“Ninety-five years ago, Qantas was a start-up itself, and a large part of our success comes from the fact we have kept trying new ideas.” Wirth said.


“This is the perfect route for a world-first. We all know about the impact of the California tech boom, but what’s really exciting is the growing number of Australians doing business with Silicon Valley on the one hand, and building a home-grown Australian culture of entrepreneurialism on the other.

“One of the reasons we re-launched flights between Sydney and San Francisco was to support growing business travel driven by the tech boom.” Qantas tech

“Qantas has long flown the kangaroo route and now we have the tech route between Sydney and San Francisco.”

Edwina Throsby, Head of Curatorial at TEDxSydney said “I could not be more excited than to be getting on this plane today. It’s extraordinary. Every year I’m so amazed by the calibre of the thinking and the innovation and the creativity that this country produces.”

The group of Australian start-ups travelling on QF73 will tour the world headquarters of tech giants Google,Twitter, Facebook, Khan Academy and Silicon Valley Bank and will participate in workshops at the Singularity University to help the businesses progress their business plans and explore new business opportunities on both sides of the Pacific.

If you’re a fan of TED talks but want something a little more tailored to your business, Travel DAZE is the perfect outing and is effectively, “TED for travel”. The one-day forum will return with high calibre speakers from across the industry on June 6 in Sydney. Tickets will be on sale in March.

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    Latest comments
    1. A nice initiative by Qantas and Tedx Sydney. But I felt the opportunity was lost by not including the Sydney tech and start-up community, who didn’t know about it and wasn’t invited. All of the start-ups on-board flights (not talking about the amazing speakers) were from The York Butter factory co-working space in Melbourne.

      Seeing that this was a Sydney – San Francisco ‘tech route’, it seems a little bizarre to me. Well, that’s my 2 cents.

      But I’m sure this will be the first of many events as Qantas learns more about interacting with the start-up community and could play a big leading role in promoting Australian start-up innovation across the country.

      A nice event, well organised and apparently took about 7 months in the planning – awesome!

      Disclosure: I was invited to the preflight media briefing by Qantas.

Airine Edwina Throsby olivia wirth qantas San Fransisco TED Talks TEDx TEDxSydney Travel DAZE

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