Let me start by reporting that he was charming and obviously intelligent, gave a solid talk and was both funny and self-deprecating.

That said, it was a bit of a surreal experience. Because while SRK is apparently extremely well-known in India (and in Indian expat communities around the world) with 24 million Twitter followers, I think it is safe to say that at least 80% of the TED audience in the theater had never heard of him.

So when the Vancouver blogs (and even an article in Business Insider) breathlessly reported that “Khan is the most famous of this year’s speakers”, the general feeling at the conference was one of complete bewilderment, since among the other speakers at the conference were Serena Williams, Elon Musk, and the Pope(!)

In any event, Khan began by gently making fun of himself, noting with mock disbelief that apparently most of the audience had no idea who he was. He then explained that he was an aging actor with a wrinkling face who was nowhere near the famous lover that he portrays on screen, and drew several analogies between the fate of his personal career and that of humankind.

Aside from the announcement that he will be hosting a TED television series in Hindi in India this year (with a clip from the pilot episode that felt like a cross between a TED talk and America’s Got Talent) the rest of his remarks were about the future of humanity, and were eloquent, thoughtful and strongly delivered.

After the session, there was a giant mob of Indian-Canadian fans of his camped outside the convention center hoping for a glimpse of him…and completely ignoring every other [major]celebrity who walked by (including Al Gore and Karlie Kloss as I was leaving). The whole thing was hysterically funny.

Credit to David S. Rose, Entrepreneur & angel investor. Author, Angel Investing and The Startup Checklist

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