Meet Golden TEDx Pass Winner Simon Erker

As some of you will remember, in March all TEDx Teams in Austria scruffled together to bring you one amazing piece of paper: the Golden TEDx Pass! Participants of the competition were asked to post their favourite Austrian TEDx Talk on the Competition’s Facebook event. The winner is able to attend all the TEDx Events in Austria this year and is also allowed to bring along a +1:

31.05.2015: TEDxDonauinsel
12.06.2015: TEDxAmRingSalon
23.06.2015: TEDxViennaSalon CITYx 2015
12.09.2015: TEDxKlagenfurt
17.10.2015: TEDx Linz
31.10.2015: TEDxVienna
13.11.2015: TEDxGraz

We have now picked a winner! We met Simon Erker in Graz to hand over the prize to him and had a little chat with him too.

Hi Simon! First of all: Congratulations on winning the Golden TEDx Pass! Can you please tell me a bit about yourself and how you first got in contact with TED?

I am 27 years old and a physicist. I finished my physics degree last year and now I work at the virtual vehicle research center in Graz in their battery department. I like my job a lot and hope to do a Phd at some point in cooperation with the virtual vehicle research center.  I like to do sports, be it soccer, volleyball or running. I also go sailing every now and then and am actually the styrian academic champion in sailing. I was born and raised in Graz, but got in contact with TED for the first time when I was abroad. I was doing an exchange program in Canada where I studied for a year during my master’s. It was an amazing time.  I remember a student telling me about a particular course at the university. I think it was a basic course for undergraduates. The course was pretty much devoted entirely to interesting facts and this student was telling me how cool the professor was and how he would often mention TED in class and make his students watch TED talks. After hearing this, I decided to go and check out this class and so I finally got to see my first TED talk. I immediately liked the concept. 

What is your favourite TED Talk?

I actually have two. The first one is called “The Paradox of Choice”. I think it’s quite a famous and brilliant talk. The speaker is cool and you can actually learn a lot from this talk. Basically, his message is that the more opportunities you have, the harder it is to find the right one and the less satisified you are with the decision you ultimately make. It’s very true. It makes you realise that probably you haven’t thought about it at first, but when you see the talk it really does make sense.  My second favourite talk, as a physicist, is “Sheding light on dark matter”. It’s about dark matter, what it is and what it does. Plus she’s an amazing speaker.

How TEDx “experienced” are you? Have you ever been to a TEDx event? 

No, never. So this Golden TEDx Pass is an amazing chance catch up on this. I was planning to go to the TEDxGraz event last year, but by the time I wanted to buy tickets, they were sold out already.

Simon with Gaby&Olivia from TEDxVienna

With the Golden TEDx Pass you are allowed to bring one person to all the TEDx Events. Do you know who it’s going to be?

Most likely my girlfriend. I’ve showed her some TED Talks before and she liked them. However, she’s not an active viewer, I would say. But who knows, maybe that will change after she’s been to all these TEDx events (laughs).

With the Golden TEDx Pass you can go to several TEDx Events. Is there one particular city or event you are looking forward to the most?

Generally, I’m excited for all of them . Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend every single one of them and I’ve already missed one – the TEDxDonauinsel. But I’m definitely going to try to go to the TEDx event in Graz, TEDxVienna for sure and definitely TEDx Klagenfurt. The latter would be convenient, because a friend of mine has a house right by the Wörthersee, a lake I really like and where I often go sailing.

Who would you like to see standing on the TED stage one day?

Elon Musk. He is the founder of Tesla motors and SpaceX. He is an amazing guy. The fact that he founded Paypal when he was very young and was able to sell it and make a lot of money off it, is really impressing. He’s just had an amazing life and amazing ideas that inspire me. He is definitely someone i would like to see giving a TED Talk one day.

Do you have your own idea worth spreading? 

Maybe one day when I do more research on batteries, I will hopefully be able to spread an idea about how to make better lithium-ion batteries for cars. (laughs)

Thank you Simon for your time. The TEDxVienna team wishes you all the best and a lot of memorable experiences with your Golden TEDx Pass! Enjoy!

images by Axel Dietrich

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About Olivia List

Olivia is doing her Master's in Business studies and has specialized in marketing before. She is interested in health topics, innovations in the health industry, psychology as well as digital marketing and media and loves to eat, think, talk and write about food ;)

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