Though TED has been around for decades, the organization as we know it today began a period of immense growth in the year 2000. In the few years that followed, TED became a YouTube favorite of college students looking to watch something a bit more sophisticated than cat videos and porn. The brief, thoughtful talks became a fixture of intellectualism in the Internet age. With TED's newfound notoriety came growth in terms audience and scope. TED eventually launched spinoffs like TEDGlobal, TEDMed, and TEDX. Next, predictably, came issues of quality control.
With so many lectures being labelled TED Talks, from those given by respected professionals at the annual TED conference to those given by far less rigorously vetted speakers at regional TEDX meetings, there were too many PowerPoints being droned to for them all to be gems. As more crackpots, propagandists, and clothesless emperors slid through the cracks, next came the predictable backlash. Though we aren't sure if the vitriol directed at TED is wholly warranted, there have been some awful talks through the years that certainly deserve some ribbing. Even those of you who spent your college days YouTubing presentations on sustainable energy will agree that some of these TED Talks are clunkers.