TED is absolutely cultish. But it’s a cult for the sustenance of beneficial ideas. Elitist, morally unsound, isolated, self-congratulatory, and tone deaf? Yes. All of those. But useful and, in some respects, daring? I believe so.
I find TED talks range from the barely-tolerable to cringeworthy. After reading Alexander’s take, though, I’m more optimistic. It’s about ideas bigger than the conference and, despite the conference’s often unpleasant nature, it’s an important gathering, if only to remind everyone that it’s okay to be uncertain.