STILLWATER — Getting your name on a football stadium may not be easy, billionaire oilman T. Boone Pickens told a packed crowd at Oklahoma State University on Thursday. But it isn't especially complicated.
“Just give more money than I did,” he said. “They'll take my name off the stadium.”
Pickens, whose name graces OSU's football stadium and its school of geology, spoke as a part of TEDxOStateU, a conference devoted to sharing ideas and inspiring dialogue. The event was licensed through the Sapling Foundation, a New York-based nonprofit. The organization owns TED, a similar series of conferences held annually in Long Beach, Calif., and Palm Springs, Calif.
The name TED is an acronym for Technology, Entertainment and Design — three areas on which the conference focuses.
Pickens was part of a lineup of speakers and performers at the event who gave presentations on a range of topics. Pickens discussed the importance of leadership and certain qualities that lead to success.
Chief among those qualities is the ability to form a plan, Pickens said. It's important to form a plan, he said, but just as important to be persistent and patient with that plan.
“A fool with a plan can beat a genius with no plan,” he said.
OSU broadcast the event live on OState.TV, the university's new Web-based video network. Videos from the event will be posted to the website within the next few weeks as part of a new TEDxOStateU channel, OSU spokesman Gary Shutt said.
The event is the first of its kind at OSU. The University of Oklahoma hosted a similar event in January, and another was held in Oklahoma City last year.
Jim Berscheidt, vice president for marketing and communications at the OSU Foundation, spearheaded the event. The idea behind the event was to start a conversation about a range of interesting and important topics, he said.
Berscheidt said he was pleased with the turnout for the event. Tickets to the conference were sold out weeks in advance, and the atmosphere in the Seretean Center Concert Hall was buoyant, he said.
“There's so much energy in the room, which is a part of the TED experience,” he said.
Much of the conversation generated by the event took place online, even as presenters were speaking. A lively conversation about the events broke out on social media sites Facebook and Twitter, said Matt Fletcher, the university's information coordinator.
A presentation by Oklahoma City architect Rand Elliott garnered particular interest online, Fletcher said. Elliott presented plans for an energy-neutral skyscraper that incorporates wind turbine technology.
OSU President Burns Hargis, an avid follower of TED events, said he was excited about the prospect of hosting the conference when Berscheidt approached him about it. Events like this often spark national conversations, Hargis said, and it's exciting to know that OSU is a part of those discussions.
Uploading presentations from the event to the university's video network expands the event's audience, Hargis said. Many of the speakers at the event, including Pickens, are nationally and internationally known, he said, meaning the videos could draw viewers from around the world.
“They'll be watched in Singapore and Beijing,” Hargis said. “And — who knows — maybe Norman.”